Savannah was named one of TIME magazine’s “World’s Greatest Places.”

SAVANNAH, GEORGIA: When member committees establish budgets for The Landings Golf & Athletic Club’s capital improvement projects, they comprehend the responsibility of handling multi-million dollar investments. Their budgeting protocols have evolved into a highly formalized procedure designed to bring rationality to what could otherwise be an irrational process punctuated by personal biases.

“Our Elevate 28 vision for the next five years has been approved and underway,” said Gary Lorfano, director of membership at The Landings. “I am pleased that we are able to upgrade $9.6 million worth of resident amenities this year—without a member assessment. During the planning process, I treated investments as if it was my money to ensure I’m suggesting fiscally responsible ideas. Our methodical planning process looks at a 30-year timeline for capital replacement. After all, for many of our members, their home is their largest asset. Our job is to make sure we protect property values as best we can.”

The first step in evaluating capital projects is to determine if they are obligatory or aspirational. “Next year, The Landings celebrates its golden jubilee. As a result, 80 percent of our renovations/expansions are essential, and large projects require multi-year timelines,” continued Lorfano. “If you have completed a house renovation recently, you know the frustration and big delays that can result when waiting for city permits! Our community has a large footprint of 6,300 acres with 55 buildings. Our proactive foresight has allowed us to replace all rooftops on the 55 buildings, with the oldest shingle being six years old. Just imagine—which is the case at many private clubs—if you had to replace all roofs at the same time. That would result in a multi-million expenditure and many frustrated members.”

Crafting the Best Recipe

Initial planning sessions run the gamut of big ideas to small. “All goes into the blender for evaluation,” detailed Lorfano. “In years past, management would take the lead and make suggestions. Often we met with stiff resistance from different member factions. When we pivoted to a member-led process with a grass-roots start, the process became much smoother sailing. My firm belief is that member committees are to govern, and management’s responsibility is to operate.

“All six of our courses, designated as Audubon Cooperative Sanctuaries, are set against a backdrop of stately hardwood forests, unspoiled saltwater marshes, and tranquil tidal creeks. It’s important for us to maintain our pole position as one of the best golf communities in the Southeast,” said Lorfano. “We are currently in the midst of a significant renovation of our Palmetto Course to the tune of $3.6 million.”

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