Category Archives: Clubs

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Is Now the Time for Clubs to Restructure?

The full or partial shutdown of Club facilities and services may be an opportune time to consider restructuring, repositioning or enhancing the membership program before the Club reopens fully. Consideration may be given to: Mandatory membership or community membership, Membership categories, privileges and services, Membership joining fee refundability, Membership transfer options, and Family privileges, including … Continue Reading

Impact of COVID-19 Shutdown on Club Dues

Most golf and social clubs have either shut down or curtailed operations in response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.  Some members are requesting dues abatement or reductions.  We have been in communication with representatives of 29 clubs regarding whether they have abated or reduced dues or offered some type of financial accommodation.  As … Continue Reading

Club Annual Meetings in Time of COVID-19

Many clubs are required to hold their annual member meetings this Spring when health experts are asking everyone to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people. In some areas, state and local governments are banning such gatherings or anything other than essential activities. Boards are faced with the dilemma of complying with bylaws requirements or … Continue Reading

Case Law Update: Expelling the Email Warrior From Clubs

Club boards and management are often the targets of members’ critical emails to other members and social media posts, which are often inflammatory. They may view these attacks as improper behavior, as well as divisive and detrimental to the club’s interests and harmony. They may want to expel or otherwise discipline the offending member. The … Continue Reading

Case Law Update: Golf Course Restrictive Covenant Upheld

Owners of unprofitable golf courses are increasingly wanting to redevelop their golf courses as residential property, especially in areas where land for residential development is at a premium. Some golf courses are subject to recorded covenants that require the property to be used for recreational purposes and therefore prohibit such redevelopment.  In Victorville West Limited … Continue Reading

Case Law Update: Club Liability Release

Clubs regularly require new members to sign liability releases, some of which are drafted quite broadly.   A recent decision from the New Jersey Appellate Division considered the enforceability of such a provision. Crossing-Lyons vs. Towns Sports International, N.J. Sup. Ct, App. Division (July 11, 2017). In Crossing-Lyons, a fitness club member sued the club after … Continue Reading

Nevada Gaming Regulators Begin Overseeing Las Vegas Nightclubs and Dayclubs

The nightclub and dayclub industry has become big business for casinos along the Las Vegas Strip. State gaming regulators are now requiring resort operators to take a more stringent approach in monitoring activity inside club venues. These new regulations came out of the 2015 Nevada Legislative session and were approved by the Nevada Gaming Commission. … Continue Reading

Case Law Update: Membership Deposit Refund Amendment Overturned

Verandah Development v. Gualtieri, Florida 2nd District Court of Appeals (February 17, 2016) This case provides insight to clubs with refundable memberships who want to amend a membership document provision related to refunds or resigned membership resale. The plaintiff member’s Membership Agreement provided that members who “resign their membership will be refunded their initiation … Continue Reading

Case Law Update: Junior Membership Age Discrimination Analysis

Javorsky v. Western Athletic Clubs, California Court of Appeals, First District, Division 5 (December 11, 2015) Clubs throughout the country offer Junior Membership programs that afford younger members discounts in joining fees and/or dues or favorable membership financing. Some have questioned whether such programs violate federal or state age discrimination laws.   In Javorsky, a … Continue Reading

Difference Between Club and Hotel Management Agreements

Often, a club management agreement reads exactly like a hotel management agreement, with the word “hotel” changed to “club.” This should not be the case. Clubs have unique characteristics that should be considered in drafting a club management agreement. 1. If the club is a member-owned club, it is not a profit-seeking business. As a … Continue Reading

Competing Interests at Equity Club Turnover

Equity club developers and equity club members often view turnover and member due diligence completely differently. The typical developer position is: “The Club will be turned over to the members ‘where is, as is’ in accordance with the club documents.” The typical equity member view is: “We want to find out if there is any … Continue Reading

Which Family is Welcome at the Club?

The days of the men’s golf club are over, and clubs that emphasize family oriented facilities are increasingly more common. Both traditional golf clubs and other clubs are struggling to define the family of members who have facilities use privileges. The trend is to expand the family definition, especially in resort and second home communities, … Continue Reading

Resigned Members: It’s the Same Category

Spikes v. Hamilton Farms Golf Club (D. NJ 2014) Meiselman v. Hamilton Farms Golf Club (D. NJ 2011) Clubs that resell resigned memberships generally have separate “sell lists” for each membership category. Therefore, if a club sells memberships in a different membership category, those sales do not trigger resales of resigned memberships and the corresponding … Continue Reading

Claremont Club Case: It’s Not Just Dodgeball

Lotz vs. Claremont Club, Court of Appeals, Division 2, California (August 15, 2013) This decision illustrates both the general risk of club liability when liability waivers are unclear and when a club does not follow its written management policies and the unique risk of club liability when a club offers child care. In this case, … Continue Reading

Case Law Update: Community Covenants’ Impact on Club Operations

Warrender vs. Gull Harbor Yacht Club, Court of Appeals of North Carolina (August 6, 2013) This decision illustrates the importance of reviewing and considering the impact of restrictive covenants on operations of a club or marina before acquiring or restructuring it.  The Court ruled on a number of issues related to the restrictive covenants in … Continue Reading

Case Law Update: Resigned Member Refund and Facilities Use

Caley vs. Glenmoor Country Club, Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Stark County (November 4, 2013) Disputes between clubs and members who hold refundable memberships have become common in an environment in which clubs have long membership resale lists. In this case in which resigned members demanded an immediate refund of initiation fees and … Continue Reading

Reincarnating Terminally Ill Golf Course

Redeveloping some or all of golf course land as residential or resort units often gives a golf course owner the opportunity to transform a failed golf course into a profitable venture. The oversupply of golf courses and the financial difficulty many courses face have been discussed in Hospitality Law Check-In (see Growing the Game of Golf and Club Membership Deposits in Bankruptcy) and golf industry publications. A golf course owner that cannot make a golf course profitable should investigate development opportunities for the golf course land. The golf course owner may even save the golf course by reconfiguring it to allow for limited development on a small portion, which may enhance the profitability of the golf course by generating new users such as new homeowners or resort guests.

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Distinctions Between Sexes at Clubs

Golf club's gender distinctions regarding tee time sign up, tournaments and facilities use are increasingly vulnerable to legal challenge. In March 2013, four female members of Spokane Country Club won a lawsuit challenging gender distinctions in golf schedules, traditions, tournament participation, allocation of tee times, and designation of men's and women's facilities, among other things, under the Washington State antidiscrimination law.… Continue Reading

When Clubs Must Amend Membership Documents

Clubs often add or cease offering membership categories, change members’ use privileges, implement membership initiatives, offer special membership purchase incentives, or change policies. Club management often wonders, “Do I need to amend the membership documents?” The failure of a club to amend its membership documents when it should can create problems. A member could challenge … Continue Reading


Club management’s challenge in structuring a guest policy is balancing competing interests reflected in the following hypothetical comments: Member A: “I acquired my membership so I can play golf with my friends, so don’t restrict me from playing with them.” Member B:  “Member A has played golf with the same guy 10 times.  His friend … Continue Reading

Creating A Club at Another’s Facility

From the mid-1980s to the mid-2000s, high-end developers of large residential communities often thought building a golf course and creating a club in the community was necessary to attract its target market. Today, such developers want to avoid doing that due to the excessive oversupply of golf (see "Growing the Game of Golf" posted November 26, 2012) and the financial failure of many golf clubs (see "Club Membership Deposits in Bankruptcy" posted July 2, 2012). However, these conditions create a unique opportunity for the residential developer to arrange with a local golf course owner not only to give the developer's residential purchasers golf access, but to actually create a golf club at the area golf course. Similar opportunities exist at area family oriented recreational facilities such as lake clubs, beach clubs, fitness centers and adventure centers, which will help attract non-golfers and young families.… Continue Reading