A few blogs on GNN particularly struck me this week, not because of their news value but more because they illustrated the human side of the golf industry, an aspect that can get particularly overlooked at this time of year, when we’re caught up in the beginning of the season.
I particularly enjoyed this contribution from Michael Schurman and made a point of telling him so. He remembers departed pals and talks about how friendship is the best benefit you can get from the golf industry.
As important as pensions and dental plans are, many of us got into the golf industry did so because we have an affinity for the game and the joy it brought us in our formative years.
In this blog, I was writing about how municipal courses across the country are under fire due to their high operating costs and I got to thinking about my own start in the game when I would head out to affordable public courses with high school pals to play.
What was a business story about how munis played important roles in people getting into the game got me thinking about guys I used to play with all the time, but not so much these days, even if I do still see them from time to time. It was good for the soul.
It was also good for the soul reading Kevin Thistle’s most recent blog here about how important Dick Grimm, who just turned 90, was to him as a mentor.
As Kevin points out, Grimm became known as “Mr. Canadian Open” for his role in building our national championship and made other important contributions to the game that earned him a spot in the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame, among other honours.
What amazes Thistle is that an icon such as Grimm took him under his wing early in his career and has always been willing to lend him a helping hand.
The early part of somebody’s career is usually a time when we’re working long hours and not making a lot of money or getting many benefits, yet it’s often a time that we cherish because of the relationships we forge.
As we progress in life, you might maintain those friendships, but things change. We might not have time to play golf with them as we did years ago and after a long and busy season, you might only see them at golf shows or other events scattered throughout the year.
The busy golf season might also cut into family time, but if we go back to our roots, that too is what sprung us to where we are today. Recently, that point was underscored for me when we had to rush my mom to hospital.
Stabbing pains in her right side turned out to be cancer and, at 89 years old, she needed surgery fast. After an unpleasant colonoscopy and surgery, I can happily report that all is well and she came through surgery fine and is recovering well.
It was scary, however, and throughout the entire ordeal, I split time between a hospital room and getting back to my computer to post on GNN and write my column for the Toronto Sun. All the while, the patient was encouraging me to get back to work, as she’d always done.
That made it even more difficult because her support over the years meant it was time to be supportive of her. Every one of her kids were in this crisis, which made us all the more appreciative of what’s important in life.
That’s not to say that business isn’t important. It most surely is and I’m as guilty as anybody for burying my nose in my computer, but every now and again, you get a wake-up call that illustrates there’s a balance to be kept.
One can work with the other. If we’re enjoying our families and friends, it makes it easier to establish relationships with other staff members or the members/public golfers who inhabit your facility.
I’ve always found that customer service is better when it comes naturally and isn’t forced. A well-balanced life means the personal side can work to the benefit of the professional side, which also provides fulfillment.
It’s something that needs to be remembered, especially at this time of year when the golf industry is all about getting the season underway.