Motivation is an important consideration when you and your staff are putting in long hours when your club is hosting the RBC Canadian Open, as St. George’s Golf and Country Club is doing this week.
Some of your greens staff will be working 18 to 20-hour days. The greenskeepers have to be up early and get things done, but there’s always maintenance after the players leave the golf course.
A guy like Joe Murphy, one of the best general managers in the business and I mean that sincerely, is very hands-on. He’ll be there very early in the morning and stay until the guests leave at night.
Your staff will be going non-stop and it’s not just the four days of the tournament. It all starts on the Sunday really, so you’re going eight days on adrenaline.
After hosting two Canadian Opens when I worked at Angus Glen, my experience has taught me that your staff works more hours during tournament week than they do in that same time period at any other time in their careers.
In my office, we had buckets and buckets of water and Red Bull and you have to be willing to tell people, `Hey, it’s okay to take a couple of hours off and go home and rest.’
At Angus Glen, we gave out little stars for jobs well done or if one of our staff was doing something fun for the guests. It’s something along the lines of what they do in college football for a great hit or an amazing catch.
We also did some fun draws, so every time somebody got one of those stars, his or her name went into a raffle for a TV or a gift certificate.
I think your front line staff has to be out there patting people on the back, saying `What a great job! I’m hearing nothing but good things from RBC and Golf Canada!’
You’ve got to give people feedback and RBC and Golf Canada will let you know when your staff is doing a good job on the golf course or with food and beverage or looking after the locker rooms.
You’ve got to convey that and not take it for granted. People like a pat on the back once in awhile and letting them know they’re doing a good job under tough circumstances is a key motivating factor.
When it was over at Angus Glen, we also had a big staff party where I read all the letters and notes that we received. You need an appreciation party like that to thank everyone.
While they will be working long hours, there will be excitement because it is a world-stage event, but the adrenaline you and your staff run on is the fuel that makes a great event. Appreciation and feedback also keep that engine running through Open week.
When it was over at Angus Glen, people would say to me, `I’ll bet you’re glad that’s over.’
I would say, `No, give me a week and I’ll do it all over again.’