Greetings today from that world-class city known as Toronto, or at least that’s the description that many of its citizens like to use, making it seem as if they’re not totally convinced of the image they’re trying to project, but still going to great lengths to prove it’s true.
That’s usually the case with bravado, which is more about image than the reality of overcrowding, gridlock and lack of affordable housing, which are all issues plaguing a city also renowned for its financial district, diverse neighbourhoods and arts, among its many attributes.
There are positive reasons for Toronto being the centre of the universe, which many across the land accuse it of thinking. It isn’t and my apologies if this lead is Toronto-centric. It’s not meant to be, but it’s the city that I have the closest look at on a day-to-day basis from where I sit.
Yet, my travels have taken me to so many cities across this land to also realize their attributes, as well. Through people I know well in each of those cities, I also realize that each has its own unique challenges that quite often end up in civic discourse.
Civic pride doesn’t eliminate argument, debate and criticism about not only one, but several topics at any one time and whatever remedy is used to fix a problem won’t keep everybody happy, which leads to more argument, debate and criticism that often makes it a never-ending story.
A city is only the centre of the universe because that’s where you’re from or that’s where you and your family live, so you rightfully care about issues when it comes to quality of life, jobs, green space, crime or any number of other topics, including how the rest of the world views your place of residence.
That brings us to the old cliche about being a glass half full or a glass half empty person. If you are one or the other, you’re incessant in your optimism or pessimism.
Somebody who looks at that glass both ways has a better view of the world and business because there will always be challenges to overcome that are seen as negative, but require a positive mindset to pull through them.
The golf industry collectively might request a glass of straight whiskey instead of that tumbler of water with all of its challenges and the negative publicity its faced over the past few months, but drowning one’s sorrows won’t get the job done.
There’s no time to belly up to the bar and feel like the victim. While the frequency of those negative stories seemed like piling-on, they were based in truth, whether or not you took issue with some of their statements, conclusions or research.
While we may not like to hear the criticism because it’s our livelihood and a game we care about deeply, we do all know the issues facing golf, not the least of which is that it’s a game filled with tradition in a world that is rapidly changing and shrugging off the ways of the past.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer and each operation and business will decide for itself how it’s going to deal with that and other issues and if it’s considered too negative to say that, then so be it.
On the other end of the spectrum are those who get their backs up if they perceive anything being said about the industry as negative. Constructive criticism can help the industry, while blind defence of it ignores the real issues.
There is more to the issues facing golf than supply and demand, too many golf courses and not enough people to play on them. There are societal issues and demographics to deal with and that positivity can be used to carry an operation or business through the challenges.
Too often, however, it’s used as a smoke screen to cover the real issues, just as Toronto uses the term “world-class” to project an image without revealing its blemishes.
The ones who believe that everything is negative or the ones who think everything is sunshine, lollipops and rainbows will clash, but being too focused on one side of the spectrum or the other prevents forward progress.
The industry is not unlike the game itself. If you mis-hit a shot, you have to understand the consequences, but have the attitude to get yourself out of it. A little dose of reality combined with a positive attitude will go a long way.
The reality is that the glass can be viewed as both half full and half empty at the same time, providing both the ability to identify the challenge and the attitude to deal with the issues you face.
Here’s An On-Course Example
Adam Hadwin, who began his career as a full-time PGA Tour member on Thursday, illustrated the above topic perfectly when asked about his goals for the coming season after playing on the Web .com Tour.
Of course, he hopes has lofty goals such as playing in the Presidents Cup one day, but “those are outcome goals. I’m more worried about the process goals,” said Hadwin, who struggled last year before catching fire in 2014, particularly at the end of the season.
Admitting consistent frustration during the tough times last year, he says he must now learn to identify the problem and deal with it. He may know he’s down, but the positive attitude means he’s not out.
“I can still fall into that trap on the golf course a little bit, but because of last year, I’m able to recognize it, figure out what’s going on and where my mind’s getting to and being able to quickly stop it and change the attitude on the golf course,” said Hadwin a couple of weeks ago.
“Going through last year and seeing how good I played when I wasn’t in that mindset and just being able to learn how to get out of it quicker and get out of my own way and get back into that positive mind frame and moving forward after bad shots and bad holes is what’s important,” he said.
Suggest you take a look at David Cowan’s comments in response to one of my previous comments. You may agree, maybe not, but they’re well thought out opinions.