Date of Award

Summer 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Hospitality and Tourism Management

First Advisor

Xinran Lehto

Committee Chair

Xinran Lehto

Committee Member 1

Carl Behnke

Committee Member 2

Richard Ghiselli


Memberships in private clubs have been declining over the past several years due principally to economic downturns, the overbuilding of golf courses, and aging members. Several suggestions have been implemented to solve the problem, but without any positive effect. Recent studies have indicated that emphasizing family and developing children's programs could be the answer. However, issues related to children's programs in this setting have received limited research attention. This study develops an evaluation process to measure the performance of children's programs in country club settings. A mixed-method case study approach was used to collect and analyze data from a Midwest country club in the United States. A four-step evaluation process with a detailed checklist was developed to assess the performance of children's programs. A pyramid identifying components that contribute to children's and parental engagement in the programs was established to describe member loyalty building through children's programs. A comparison between country club children's programs and public programs served as a marketing tool to attract new members. Theoretically, the findings of this study will contribute to academic research on the country club industry, children's programs and membership management. Practically, the findings will help the club industry to monitor and improve the performance of its children's programs, satisfy the needs of its current members and increase its attractiveness to the public.