ClubCorp Blog


When ClubCorp acquired The Country Club of the South in Johns Creek, Ga., during the summer of 2010, it was in dire need of a transformation, both in its’ physical appearance and in the way things were run.

“Internal success breeds into external success,” said Mike Selk, food and beverage director at the Club and ClubCorp Southeast regional food and beverage director. “We streamlined our operations and changed everything, from menus to opening and closing procedures. Our staff morale improved and this really shows through the Membership.”

One example was when Selk, along with his food service staff of 40, discovered that a large majority of their diners were interested in wine, and wanted more opportunities to learn about it. So they decided to host events centered around wine, tastings, wine dinners, clubs and sales. Eventually, Members were beginning to buy their wine directly from the Club.

“The important thing to do is to really get involved in the Membership and really figure out what they want,” said Selk. “People won’t actually notice the dining room is different if all they want is more programming.”

During his regular interaction with the company’s national management team, Selk pays attention to what unique programs were having success and good reception at the other Clubs.

“One of the advantages of my position is I get to steal all the time,” Selk said humorously. “I have 12 Clubs of my own, and I regularly get emails from other regional directors. I steal ideas from the others shamelessly.”

The implimentation of great programs, impecible service standards and a steller newly reinvented Clubhouse resulted in a surge in sales and Membership, and is what makes The Country Club of the South the success that it is today.

Congratulations to Selk, Service Director Chad Barnicoat and the entire staff at the Club for keeping up with company standards and always striving for excellence. Keep up the good work!

Click here for the wonderful article in Club & Resort Business, which includes menus from The Country Club of the South that will make your mouth water.

Name: Michael Miller


Residing Club: Silicon Valley Capital Club in San Jose, Calif.

Background and Career Highlights: Won the Michelin Star Chef award in 2009 and 2010 and the Emerging Maverick Award via Cinequest.

Other than your chef knife, what is your favorite kitchen tool?: 
"A wooden spatula"

What had the greatest influence on your culinary career?: 
"My father's pizza place."

What is your single favorite ingredient to cook with?: 
"Yuzu juice is my latest favorite."

What is something about you few people know?: 
"I've been a musician longer than I've been a chef."

What is one thing that can always be found in your home refrigerator?: "Butter, eggs, stock, beer... the basic essentials."

If you could cook dinner for anyone, past, present or future, who would it be?: 
"My grandfather. He put me through culinary school but I never had the chance to cook for him."

What is your Walter Mitty fantasy?: "Being a studio musician in New York."

What character traits/qualifications/skills makes a good chef?: "Discernment, amplitude, organization, thoughtfulness and fairness."

What do you like most about working at the Club?: "The ability to use multi-global ingredients."

What do you see as the next big trend in food?: "The evolution of classics with modern applications."

Congratulations to The City of Irving, Texas on recently winning the 2012 Malcolm Balridge National Quality Award!

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Tommy Gonzalez
City of Irving city manager
and member of La Cima Club's Board of Governors

According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, The Malcolm Balridge National Quality Award is the highest level of performance excellence recognition an organization can receive in the United States.

Irving City Manager Tommy Gonzalez has been a Member of La Cima Club in Irving for more than six years and has been on the Board of Governors for two years.
Originally from West Texas, Tommy brought more than 20 years of managing experience to The City of Irving when he started working there six years ago.

What clinched the prestigious award was the total transformation of both the quality of life in the city and the way it was run. Incredibly, in just a few short years, Irving reached a plateau that the vast majority of cities never reach.

According to the NIST, the City of Irving is one of five cities in Texas and 89 cities nationwide that holds an AAA rating from both Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s. In addition, Irving has maintained these ratings continuously since 2007, throughout the worst recession in our nation’s history.

In a survey that rated many key service departments, including the police, code enforcement, libraries and recreation, the number of city residents who rated the city as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ has increased by double digits since 2006.
The rating for overall quality of service in the city of Irving is 74%. This is significantly higher than the rating for the state of Texas (46%), and almost double the rating for the United States Government (38%).

Additionally, the city’s crime rate dropped considerably during the past six years. According to the NIST, overall crime per 1,000 city residents has decreased a noticeable 35.5% since 2006.

“[The application process] was a very rigorous review of our operations, things we've been working on for the last six years,” said Tommy. “These kinds of things do not make [Irving] recession-proof but they do show that these are sound practices.”

Winning the award goes to show how hard work and dedication behind the scenes can really begin to show in the the long run.
Instead of just making these changes into goals, Tommy and the rest of his dedicated staff made them into a reality.
Congratulations and keep up the good work!

There are many sad and heartbreaking stories from the recent storm, Hurricane Sandy. However, it’s during crises that unlikely heroes emerge and hard work and determination have a chance to shine, which was the case for two of our Clubs on Long Island, N.Y.

When the news broke about the hurricane, the staff at Wind Watch Golf and Country Club in Hauppauge, N.Y., watched nervously as the storm grew larger and closer, bracing themselves for the unexpected and the worst.

The Club had two weddings scheduled for an upcoming weekend, November 2-3, 2012, and both wedding parties were becoming understandably frantic when the news showed that the storm was headed straight for the Club.

As predicted, Wind Watch lost power during the storm and although the staff were dealing with loss of power to their own personal homes, they were still able to keep up communication with the two wedding parties via their cell phones.

Nearby, in Commack, N.Y., the Hamlet Golf and Country Club had both power and Friday night open, so they offered to help host the wedding. The couple was extremely grateful, accepted the offer and luckily were able to contact all their guests in time for the wedding to go almost exactly as planned.

On a time crunch, Kim Hint, Wind Watch Private Events Director, went over to Hamlet to sit down and hatch a plan with their General Manager and Private Events Director.
They invited the bride and groom to tour the facility and, together with them, made plans to make the Hamlet wedding as identical to the originally-planned one as possible, with Wind Watch food, liquor and staff being transported to Hamlet.

The wedding went well and even although the vast majority of the guests were dealing with damage and power loss, almost the entire guest list was able to attend the wedding.

The second wedding was scheduled for Saturday, which was already booked at Hamlet. Kim Hint and the rest of the Wind Watch staff waited and watched nervously, hoping for power to be restored to the Club in time.


                The Wind Watch staff who saved the day

Which it did. Limited power was restored just in time to host Saturday’s wedding and, even with limited power, the staff were able to fulfill the entire menu and give the couple their perfect day amidst the chaos.

Thank you to the wonderful staff at both Wind Watch and Hamlet for keeping up with the ClubCorp tradition of always, even amidst a hurricane, providing magical moments and memories to both Members and non-Members alike.

It's been said that it's lucky to get married in the rain because a wet knot is harder to untie, so best of luck to the happy couples!

Name: Jim Gelzheiser

jim g pic

Residing Club: Rivers Club in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Background and Career Highlights: Jim graduated from the Pittsburgh Chefs and Cooks Association Culinary Apprenticeship Program and worked as a banquet chef and executive sous chef for nine years at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and Spa. He assisted Executive Chef Todd Rogers at a James Beard Dinner in New York City and won first place in an ice-carving contest. He's received the ClubCorp Superstar award and this November marks his 15-year anniversary with the company.

Other than your chef knife, what is your favorite kitchen tool?: "A truffle slicer"

What had the greatest influence on your culinary career?: "Working under excellent chefs and learning from great culinary instructors during my apprenticeship. Additionally, participating in a Dale Carnegie leadership course opened my eyes to the importance of having great people skills."

What is your single favorite ingredient to cook with?: "Fresh ginger. I love the aroma, and it’s not over-used so I am always excited when I need it."

What is something about you few people know?: "My wife Shelli and I just celebrated our 25-year wedding anniversary."

What is one thing that can always be found in your home refrigerator?: "Mirepoix made with celery, carrot and onion."

If you could cook dinner for anyone, past, present or future, who would it be?: "My grandparents. Nothing would be better than having the opportunity to prepare a dinner for them at Rivers Club."

What is your Walter Mitty fantasy?: "Being a drummer for “The Black Keys”"

What character traits/qualifications/skills makes a good chef?: "A relentless pursuit of excellence, a tremendous work ethic and a great sense of taste. Also, the ability to play well with others, have fun, listen, learn and apply techniques."

What do you like most about working at the Club?: "Trying to live up to the reputation of the Rivers Club kitchen. The fact that everyday, I’m able to work in the same kitchen where great Pittsburgh Chefs practiced for the Culinary Olympics in the 1980s, provides a tremendous sense of pride for me."

What do you see as the next big trend in food?: "Global-infused comfort food."


Head golf professionals at three of ClubCorp’s Hilton Head, S.C. clubs competed in a golf marathon on November 7, 2012, playing as many holes as possible to support The First Tee.

Play began at 7:30 a.m. for Chip Pellerin, head golf pro at The Country Club of Hilton Head; Lance Buntin, head golf pro at The Golf Club at Indigo Run; Jeremy Steiner, head golf pro at Golden Bear Golf Club and Dan Riker, general manager of The Golf Club at Indigo Run and Golden Bear Golf Club. By the time they decided to break for lunch, the group had already completed 72 holes in under 5 hours!

The team accepted pledges and donations for every hole they played throughout the day. And although the golf marathon concluded that day, the pros plan to continue their campaign at their respective Clubs.

“Golf has a long history of giving back and we are proud to be a part of the impact of The First Tee,” said Pellerin. “The movement is spreading across the nation and young people truly benefit from the training and core values they receive. As golf professionals we are showing our support by raising awareness through this and other initiatives at our Clubs and in the community.”

Since its inception in 1997, The First Tee has been able to impact more than 6.5 million young people through a network that boasts 194 chapters offering programs at more than 700 golf facilities, 4,800 elementary schools and 120 U.S. military installations. Through 2017, The First Tee’s goal is to reach 10 million additional young people and grow the network to 1,200 golf facilities, 10,000 elementary schools and 350 other youth-serving locations. Programs such as the golf marathon in Hilton Head, will help make this goal a reality.

The amount raised is still being tabulated since the generous donations are still coming in to all the Clubs. Thank you to all who participated!


Like many couples, Jennifer and Ben were college sweethearts while they attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Years later, they were happily married at our very own Carolina Club on the sixth anniversary of their first date.

Southern Bride & Groom Magazine heard the story and featured it in their Real Weddings feature. Check out the link to the story and beautiful wedding photography below!

Just one of our many ideal and award-winning wedding venues, the Carolina Club in Chapel Hill, N.C. was able to provide the perfect backdrop for their perfect day.
Thanks Southern Bride & Groom for featuring us!

Name: Matthew Crum

Chef Matt Crum

Residing Club: River Creek Club in Leesbug, Va.

Career highlights
I attended culinary school in Pittsburgh, Pa. before working for small luxury hotels in the Northeast. I joined ClubCorp at Treesdale Country Club in Gibsonia, Pa. before moving to Virginia to help open River Creek Club. There, I started out as a Sous Chef before being promoted to Executive Chef in 2007.

Other than your chef knife, what is your favorite kitchen tool?: The Club’s Rational Combi Oven. It’s a game changer!

Who had the greatest influence on your culinary career?: My high school art teacher, Mr. Johnson. He taught me about focal points and how the human eye looks at things. I still use his advice about drawing and painting everyday, I just apply it when it comes to plates and platters.

What is your single favorite ingredient to cook with?: Fennel Pollen

What is something about you few people know?: I hand-make custom hardwood furniture in my’s a great stress reliever for me.

What is the the one thing that can always be found in your home refrigerator?: Pickles, from my family's recipe from Germany.

If you could cook dinner for anyone past, present or future, who would it be?: Matt Trolson, our former Food and Beverage director who passed away in early March of this year. He was a great friend and I think of him almost every day.

What is your Walter Mitty fantasy?: To make artisan cheeses for a living.

What character traits/qualifications/skills makes a good chef?: I don’t take things too seriously. I tell my staff it’s not food or drink that we sell, it’s an experience that we provide our Members.

What do you like most about working at the Club?: The six minute car ride to and from work...Gas is expensive!

What do you see as the next big trend in food?: I really don’t know, that’s a good question. I keep seeing food that reminds me of my childhood, but that has an adult twist to it.

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