You will write Case Assignments based on the “NCRCC: Teeing Up a New Strategic Direction” case study.

The Scenario
NCR Country Club (NCRCC) started in 1954 as an employee benefit of the National
Cash Register Co. but is now an open-membership club. This country club located
in Kettering, Ohio (near Dayton), hosts two 18-hole golf courses. The NCR South
course, a par 71 championship course of 6,824 yards of heavily wooded rolling
countryside, the site of the 1996 PGA Championship, the 1986 U.S. Open, and the
1998 U.S. Mid-Amateur, is consistently ranked by Golf Digest as one of the top
100 courses in the United States. The prairie-links style of the North course, a
6,358-yard par 70 course, is considered challenging. In southwestern Ohio, the Professional Custom Writing Services from the Experts!
active golf season usually lasts from May through October. Within a 30-minute radius
of NCRCC, the avid golfer will find eight other private golf and country clubs as well
as 29 public golf clubs and courses.
In 1997, after the purchase of NCR Corporation by AT&T, AT&T provided
a $4.0 million interest-free loan to raze the original clapboard-sided clubhouse and
replace it with an all-brick colonial-style facility. Boasting both formal and informal,
inside and outside eating facilities as well as banquet and party rooms, the members
voted that the new clubhouse would be totally smoke-free. The rich cherrywood
paneling and the hunter green and burgundy décor mellow the high-ceiling, interior
spaces. Golf memberships are $20,000 with social (nongolf) memberships at $1,000
each. NCR employees did not and do not pay membership fees to join. Additionally,
each member must spend $150 per quarter in dining receipts and pay $225 (golf) or
$160 (social) in annual dues.
Needing to attract new members to support the renovated facility after AT&T
divested itself of NCR and given the growing age of its members, NCRCC
implemented an aggressive membership campaign in 1998. The goal was to bring
golf memberships to 680 and attract as many social memberships as possible. After
only moderate success, NCRCC commissioned McMahon Group to assist with
strategic planning.
NCRCC: Teeing Up a
New Strategic Direction
Used with permission of
Pamela S. Schindler
©2001.
Business Research Methods, 11e, Cooper/Schindler
2
McMahon Group specializes in providing research and strategic consulting to golf
clubs and full-service golfing facilities. “Golf club membership within the United States
is perceived as a discretionary luxury of life. NCR faces a similar situation found
elsewhere in clubs around the country—an older satisfied membership which sees
no reason to change what they perceive to be a good thing,” shared Frank Vain,
president of McMahon Group. “With NCR, we faced another wrinkle. Because
NCR was once corporately owned, NCR retirees and current employees saw
membership as an entitlement, a right.”
After McMahon’s First Impressions visit (a free on-site assessment where a
club specialist tours facilities, collects information on membership and operations,
and discusses industry trends with strategic planning committees), NCRCC’s board
hired McMahon to provide direction and assistance to NCRCC’s strategic planning
committee. “Historically, NCRCC has a 7 percent penetration rate among NCR
employees. NCR’s employee pool was trending smaller, providing continuing
downward pressure on NCRCC membership,” explained Vain. “With membership
segments of NCR retirees (1/3 of members) and current NCR employees (another
1/3 of members) getting less numerous each year, only the segment comprised of
non-NCR affiliates provides an opportunity for growth. NCRCC needs to become
a stand-alone club to survive.”
McMahon Group conducted six focus groups at NCRCC on December 3–4,
1998, involving 43 members, seven nonmembers, and 12 employees. Especially
among younger members (under 46) and nonmembers, a golf-only club was less
attractive than the full service array that some other area country clubs offered. A
consistent theme was that members did not feel they received the overall level of
service at NCRCC that they expected from a fine private country club, whether it
be in the dining operation or on the golf course. Staff members were frustrated that
meeting the board’s profit directive was often counterproductive to a high level of
service. The NCRCC board directed McMahon Group to conduct a membership
study to explore the feasibility of adding additional facilities, including swimming and
fitness facilities to attract younger adults and families with children.
McMahon Group distributed mail surveys to 1,650 members and their spouses
in January 1999 (see Exhibit C-NCR 1–2). A return rate of 57 percent and 48
percent, respectively, netted 886 usable surveys. Data were interpreted at ±3% (or
±0.1) at the 95 percent confidence level. Due to McMahon’s extensive consulting
and research experience with golf facilities nationwide, it was able to compare
NCRCC’s membership survey results with those of members of 80 other country
clubs.
>The Research
NCRCC: Teeing Up a New Strategic Direction
Business Research Methods, 11e, Cooper/Schindler
3
Overall, 72 percent of NCRCC members were either satisfied or very satisfied.
This is slightly less than the 79 percent satisfaction level for other clubs. Only 12
percent are very satisfied, with other clubs averaging 21 percent. The group with the
highest dissatisfaction rate (19 percent dissatisfied or very dissatisfied) was the key
55–64 age group, with the under 46 group generating 11 percent dissatisfaction.
While members currently saw the club as an “Adult Golf and Dining Club” (63
percent), many believed its future would need to incorporate facilities for children, if
the club were to remain competitive for new members. This was especially true for
those members under age 46.
Most current members joined for golf (80 percent either important or very
important) or dining (77 percent either important or very important). Most members
were satisfied with golf (81 percent either satisfied [29 percent] or very satisfied [69
percent]). However, level of satisfaction was lower with the over 65 group when it
came to course layout (58 percent very satisfied) and condition (77 percent very
satisfied). Fewer members were satisfied with dining (49 percent either satisfied or
very satisfied). However, even given some dissatisfaction, 61 percent felt their
membership was a good value.
The 37th Hole, the casual dining facility, generated concerns about speed of
service (27 percent either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied), professionalism of wait
staff (19 percent either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied), and menu variety (36 percent
either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied). The same concerns surfaced in the formal
dining area, with menu variety and meal-to-meal consistency generating the highest
dissatisfaction scores. It is very important for NCRCC to provide casual adult dining
(95 percent either very important or important), but less so for casual family dining
(78 percent), outdoor dining (69 percent), formal dining (44 percent), men’s grill
(37 percent), and women’s grill (22 percent). Dining prices are seen as the same (65
percent lunch, 48 percent dinner) or higher (32 percent lunch, 47 percent dinner)
than other clubs and restaurants frequented by members. Members overwhelmingly
continue to endorse the no-smoking rule (97 percent formal dining, 94 percent 37th
Hole, 83 percent bar/lounge).
“Members think of NCRCC as first a golf club, but the golf wasn’t meeting
expectations. Second, members see NCRCC as a dining club, but the members
were dissatisfied with the casual dining product and service,” shared Vain.
Survey results offered good and bad news. Additional facilities would not
be attractions to most current members, but many members are interested in improving
the current facilities. Fully 59 percent, however, were unwilling to pay higher dues
(including 43 percent of under age 46) to obtain the changes they found attractive.
>Some Results
NCRCC: Teeing Up a New Strategic Direction
Business Research Methods, 11e, Cooper/Schindler
4
“New facilities were an attraction for the non-NCR affiliated segment,”
summarized Vain in discussing what McMahon Group shared with the strategic
planning committee following the completion of the study. “New facilities, especially
swimming, fitness, and outdoor dining, provide the best opportunity to broaden the
attraction of the club.”
• 74% golf (single or family) and 24% social, with 2% corporate
memberships.
• 65% are (23%) or had been (42%) employed at NCR.
• 55% male, 45% female.
• In each of four age groups:
• Under 46 (19%)
• 46–55 (23%)
• 56–65 (26%)
• 66 or older (33%)
• 74% lived within seven miles of NCRCC.
• 42% had been members for 20 or more years.
• 78% did not have children (under age 21) living at home.
• 41% belonged to a swimming/tennis club (15%) or fitness facility (26%).
• 81% reside in the Kettering-Dayton area year round.
Facility Additions
Swimming pool 30 60
Tennis courts 22 36
Health and fitness center 30 49
Spa 30 58
Activities
For adults 26 40
For families 23 53
For children 18 47
>Who Answered the survey
All Members Members under 46
(% ) (% )
Improving the driving range (Important or Very Important) 36
Improving short game practice area
(Important or Very Important) 40
Current Facility Alterations
Expanding bar/lounge (Important or Very Important) 41
NCRCC: Teeing Up a New Strategic Direction
Business Research Methods, 11e, Cooper/Schindler
5
1 Build the management-research question hierarchy, through the investigative
questions stage. Then compare your list with the measurement
questions asked.
2 Given the research question, how appropriate were the measurement
questions?
3 Describe the sampling strategy. How appropriate were the various sampling
design decisions?
4 What, if any, problems did you find with the questionnaire as a whole?
Consider structure, directions, question order, question phrasing, appropriateness
of response strategy chosen, etc.
5 If you were McMahon Group, how would you present the findings of your
study to the NCRCC board? Explain the rationale for your chosen method.
6 Given the data presented in the case:
7 What would you recommend to the board of NCRCC with respect to
adding facilities like tennis courts, a swimming pool, a spa, a fitness
center, and a year-round driving range?
8 What would you recommend to the board of NCRCC with respect to
adding or changing programming activities like social activities for adults,
families with children, and children?
9 What would you recommend with respect to changing current operations?

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