Meeting the Duty of Care
Doing What’s Expected
When someone joins a club, they have an automatic belief that they are in a safe environment. There is just a tacit belief that the other members are good people who are here for the same reasons they are and that the club has vetted them properly. In fact, if you survey members of any club, no matter how involved they are with the workings of the membership process, they will tell you that it is implicit that all new members have been vetted properly and are safe to be around. When one considers that the majority of private club members come from the wealthiest portion of society, it would sound absurd to report that a club is relying on member endorsements, but in actuality, doing little to nothing to verify the credibility and character of prospective members before giving them access.
Every board has a duty of care to act responsibly and in the best interests of the club. It is no longer reasonable or in the best interests of the members, staff or the club to simply not conduct fact-based prospective member vetting.
Fact based vetting and verification is now part of everyday life, private golf and country clubs are certainly no exception.
Every club should employ real measures to properly vet applicants by verifying the information provided by the applicant and by checking for information that currently exists that would prove meaningful in making a fully educated membership decision.
The tried-and-true method of having current members sponsor or endorsing an applicant does work. Upon reflection, it would seem difficult to imagine a different way of selecting prospective members. Unfortunately, one can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time. Someone who is putting on airs can impress or fool a board member and likely even make it through a dinner with a board member or a round of golf with the manager and leave a good impression. In the old model, this will satisfy the requirements to become a member. What those same applicants cannot do is fool Kennis any of the time.