Harlingen Country Club teaming with new management company to turn the tide

What happened?

Harlingen Country Club, like other private clubs around the country, has long been struggling financially and with membership.

Over the years, many more recreational opportunities and activities have become available along with the aging of longtime country club members — leading to declining membership.

HCC is no exception.

Add to that, the high cost of maintaining a golf course as well as other facilities and money spent in 2010 to recover from damage caused by Hurricane Dolly, a green burnout in late 2014 and you have a whirlwind of problems for HCC.

A current membership of 340 that once was more than twice that, the club continues to boast golf, tennis, fitness, dining areas, a large pool and deck area along with areas for social activities for all ages.

According to IRS numbers filed by the club in 2011, expenses exceeded revenues by more than $300,000. That loss was $225,000 in 2012, it was $204,000 in 2013 and another loss of $179,000 in 2014. Those are the most recent documents available.

More recently, the financial outlook has improved due to reducing expenditures and club members pitching in to do whatever they could to improve things. However, the club still remained in some financial straits.

What they did to respond

The HCC Board of Directors has brought in a management company to run the club’s facilities.

Mosaic Clubs & Resorts cites it “makes a difference” in a “changing industry.”

Calling themselves “masters of the turnaround,” Mosaic states it creates a new model for private clubs and leads the way in digital age club marketing.

Mosaic senior vice president of operations Tom Ridge said his company was contacted by the board because two of the members had knowledge of success Mosaic had in the Valley. Discussions began in late 2016 as Mosaic has made several visits to the property, believing it is geared toward future success.

Ridge said the 2008 recession sent courses across the country into a decline. Many didn’t make it.

But, his group is confident this club will because of the membership that brought the facility through that time.

Mosaic officially took on the role as the management company earlier this month; a new GM will be brought on next month who previously led a club Mosaic owned in Atlanta.

The future

Mosaic will run the facilities and be paid based on performance. The company already has started an aggressive social media campaign some of you may have seen.

Overall, Mosaic plans to implement their operational platform including a multichannel, highly choreographed marketing strategy, changing the membership structure to meet market demand and driving membership sales that are expected to increase perceived value.

Ridge says he sees a “bright future” at the HCC as the company focuses on new membership and making sure they are reaching the intended market.

Longtime HCC membership and financial staff member Julie Herrington said things were getting better at the club the past year or so and this is the next big step to take it to the next level.

“I think it is important that Harlingen has a country club,” she said.

Herrington, who will help with the transition to Mosaic, is thrilled to return to the club as a member, as she will be moving out of her current role at HCC.

Some of Mosaic’s other properties

* Rancho Viejo Resort and Country Club — Considered a success story according to its website, Mosaic came in when membership was low and resort rounds were declining. Within a year, Mosaic claims to have improved the bottom line by $940,000 by adding 120 new members while also increasing lodge revenues by 55 percent.

* The Georgia Club — Located in Athens, this facility had 200 members and was losing more than $1 million per year. Today, the club has more than 800 members and is operating well in the black, according to the Mosaic website.

* The Falls Resort and Club in New Ulm

* Westin la Cantera in San Antonio

* Cimarron Hills Country Club in Georgetown

* Tapatio Springs Resort in Boerne

* Golf Club at Champions Circle in Fort Worth