Building Membership in a City Club Location

Vijaykumar Raj.

Singapore: From its lofty perch on the 66th and 67th floors of the Willis Tower overlooking Chicago, The Metropolitan is the city’s hub for fine dining, professional networking, business amenities and much more.

It’s where members meet friends and entertain guests in comfortable surroundings while enjoying the finest food, libations and personal service. Every room and location capitalises on the city’s magnificent views.

As General Manager at the iconic Chicago venue and ex-Assistant General Manager at the American Club in Singapore, Vijayakumar Raj has a unique perspective on city clubs in general and building membership and membership activity in city club locations in particular.

In the latest webinar in the Asian Golf Industry Federation’s (AGIF) Sustainability Series, Raj will share his wide-ranging experiences in the private club industry, spanning more than 20 years in different leadership roles in Washington DC, Singapore and Chicago.

To be broadcast live on Thursday, November 12 (10 am Singapore time), Bangalore-born Raj will discuss the successful strategies he’s employed during a career that has seen him gain the coveted Certified Club Manager (CCM) accolade, the gold standard in club management certification globally.

Raj was among the first Asian-based individuals to achieve this notable milestone via a programme organised and run by the AGIF, an International Associate partner of the Club Management Association of America (CMAA) and authorised to run Business Management Institute (BMI) programmes as well as Chapter and Association Education, part of the pathway to the CCM.

Raj said: “It was an amazing journey to achieve CCM status. The knowledge gained and friendships made are priceless. Every BMI programme I went through helped me in becoming a better leader, effective, efficient and stronger in all areas of club operations.

“I’m thankful to the CMAA and the AGIF for enabling me to attain my CCM certification and for making the BMI programmes available in Southeast Asia. To those with ambitions of becoming future leaders in club management, I’d encourage them to sign up for future courses.”

Eric Lynge, the AGIF’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are proud to see the progress Vijay has made in his career and delighted that he’ll be presenting this webinar on such an important topic.

“He has a great blend of hotel and club experience, which has given him a thorough understanding of the life cycle and value of members/guests and how to offer the best member services.

“In achieving CCM status, Vijay set a benchmark for his peers around the region. In the coming years, we look forward to seeing many more club managers from Asia following in his footsteps.”

Veteran Royal Selangor Golf Club Course Superintendent Jack Cheong teed-off the second AGIF Sustainable Series in early October, addressing the topic: Attaining the Suitable Green Speed for Your Facility, Your Members and Guests. The session was sponsored by The Toro Company.

Adopting an innovative budgeting philosophy was the theme of Hazeltine National Golf Club General Manager Eric Rule’s presentation a month ago.

Three weeks ago, Thomas Nikolai, world renowned as the ‘Doctor of Green Speed’, shared the secrets of putting surface maintenance. Senior Turfgrass Academic Specialist, Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences at Michigan State University, Nikolai’s session on The A, B, Cs of Putting Green Maintenance was sponsored by The Toro Company, Syngenta and True-Surface.

The webinar in the final week of October focused on Sentosa Golf Club’s journey to becoming the first golf club in the world to join the United Nations’ Sports for Climate Action initiative.

The discussion featured Andy Johnston, General Manager and Director of Agronomy at Sentosa Golf Club, Jonathan Smith, Executive Director, Golf Environment Organisation (GEO) Foundation, the international not-for-profit dedicated to helping advance sustainability in and through golf, and Antony Scanlon, Executive Director of the International Golf Federation (IGF), who’s responsible for the promotion of golf as an Olympic sport and the international development of golf.

Last week it was the turn of Fred Yelverton, a global authority on turfgrass science. A faculty member at North Carolina State University for 36 years, Yelverton focused on the topic of weed management.

The first batch of four webinars in the AGIF Sustainability Series featured presentations from Dr Larry Ross, Professor Emeritus, The Barnett School of Business & Free Enterprise, Florida Southern College; Dr Roch Gaussoin, PhD, Professor and Extension Co-ordinator, Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Michael Braidwood, General Manager at Qatar’s Education City Golf Club; and Roger Goettsch, CGCS, Director of Golf Course Operations at California’s Coto de Caza Golf & Racquet Club.

Lynge said: “Targeted at both turf and club management professionals, our webinars feature respected speakers and presenters from around the world, all of whom are experts in their chosen fields.”

In addition to the exchange of information, education/association credits can be gained in Club Management Association of America (CMAA), Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), PGA of America, PGA of Great Britain and Ireland, PGA of Japan and PGA of Australia. Attendance will be tracked and a certificate of attendance will be issued, pending attendance for a minimum of one hour on the webinar.

For further details and sponsorship opportunities, please contact Gwen Ng, the AGIF’s Event and Membership Manager, at  

Schedule of Events

Club Management Series  
November 12 (Thursday): 10 am to 11:30 am (Singapore time)
Topic: Building Membership and Membership Activity in City Club Location
Presenter: Vijaykumar Raj, CCM, General Manager, The Metropolitan, Chicago


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AGIF is a not for profit industry federation with members and partners involved in all facets of the golf industry throughout Asia to assist them to take the next step in development toward a sustainable industry.


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