President and Executive Director
The Club at New Seabury
Grand Harbor Golf & Beach Club
Chris Card is responsible for leading the successful trajectory of two upscale clubs – The Club at New Seabury and Grand Harbor Golf & Beach Club. His clear perspective of goals, objectives and sound fiscal practices have heightened the overall performance of current as well as past properties he’s managed globally — from across the United States to the United Kingdom and the Middle East – all in an effort to deliver superior quality, award-winning service and an exceptional member and guest experiences.
THE CARD STORY —
One of the most profound moments I believe helped propel my career was in late 2008 when I accepted an international assignment as Director of Golf/Golf Club General Manager at Turnberry Resort in Scotland. I was excited and apprehensive at the same time. Here is one of the most legendary and iconic resorts in the world, about to host the 2009 Open Championship, and I was going to be leading the team! It was an incredible experience for my family and I. Living and working abroad afforded me many incredible opportunities to be surrounded by and in the company of some of the best and brightest minds in the hospitality industry. You realize when you work in a more global environment you don’t have all the answers, and you learn very quickly it’s better to listen and understand things before you give your two cents. There are many fascinating people out there and many different approaches to managing and leading. My own self-awareness and desire to grow as a mentor and leader became very evident after that experience. My global career experiences absolutely made me a better leader, and that can never be taken away.
You wake up in the morning — what’s the driving passion?
The club environment energizes me. We can have an impact on creating significant and lifelong memories for members and guests and where families, friends and colleagues can gather for meaningful moments – vacations, holidays, celebrating milestones and special events. By offering superior service and a high-quality experience, I am able to share in that in a positive way.
Golf is going through significant course closures throughout the United States and is seeking ways to keep the sport relevant. What’s your take on how best to keep golf vibrant?
To keep the sport relevant, we must continuously create more opportunities for non-golfers to try the game. Introducing new and exciting events that involve the entire family will make golf more attractive. Families these days have more time constraints than in year’s past, so creating golf experiences that encompass 9, 6 or even 3 holes can be just as fun and just as appealing to many.
You’ve worked globally — when looking to hire people — what are the key essential traits that are a must before you offer a position?
I’m a firm believer that you have to hire for attitude because energy and passion is everything! Couple that with an individual who has integrity, and a proven background of success in their field, and they’re hired in my book.
Your biggest pet peeve is what?
Continuing to talk about an issue, rather than solving it and moving on to the next opportunity. It is important to dedicate the proper amount of time to solve a specific issue, but once a decision has been made, let’s implement and move on – and not procrastinate.
You lead two major properties — The Club at New Seabury and Grand Harbor Golf & Beach Club. What elements does each provide that merit consumers to visit?
Both Clubs are spectacular in their own right. New Seabury offers the quintessential Old Cape Cod charm with both brand new and renovated high-end amenities and facilities while Grand Harbor offers an exclusive and luxurious member experience, nestled within a gated community with premier amenities one would expect in the east-coast Florida market.
Both properties also currently offer new home construction, making them more attractive than other Clubs in their respective geographic areas.
Curious to know — when you visit a property — whether related to your existing position or on your personal time — what’s the first thing you notice?
Without a doubt, the first thing I notice when I visit a property is the staff. It is easy to recognize whether or not staff members are happy to be there, and that positive attitude starts at the top. Are they smiling and genuinely happy to see you? Happiness is quickly followed by cleanliness and attention to detail in the presentation.
All types of companies today tout customer service. Define the term and the approach you follow?
Excellent customer service makes and strengthens our member and guest relationships. It is defined by a genuine caring attitude and it can be the difference in creating a one-time guest or a member for a lifetime. This excellent customer service is what makes and strengthens our member and guest relationships.
If you could change one thing in golf unilaterally — what would it be and why?
Change the mindset that golf is an elitist sport and not available for everyone. Golf has never been more welcoming than it is today with programs and opportunities for young families, minorities, kids and women. Where else can you spend 3-4 hours in the company of people you enjoy and get outdoors to have fun in a beautiful environment?
Many facilities are looking to attract Millennials given their growing presence in the marketplace. What’s your take on how to both attract and maintain their presence in alignment with the properties you provide?
Millennials make up approximately 30% of the golfing population today, and we recognize they are our club members of tomorrow. We look to ensure that we are attractive to millennials on many fronts; the retail brands we offer in our golf and tennis shops, the fun events we offer with relaxed rules, having Wi-Fi available throughout the property, as well as having a relaxed Clubhouse cell phone policy. Collectively these changes will make a difference.
Best advice you ever received — what was it and who from?
In good times and in bad times, always act like you have been there before. Some of the best and most relevant advice my dad has ever given me.
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