Keep your eyes on the prize

By |  October 13, 2016 0 Comments

6006297215_157be4b5e4_b-thunderbirdsAfter my dad returned from World War II he went to college on the G.I. Bill and received his four-year degree in Art. Upon graduation and being newly married, he was quite fortunate to get a job as a graphic designer with the United States Air Force. He was stationed at Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul, Ill. Chanute was a large technical training facility, but on occasion served as the base of operation for the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds when they were performing in central Illinois and eastern Indiana.

During the summer my dad would sometimes take us to air shows, where we would watch the Thunderbirds do precision and acrobatic flying routines. One time he took us to watch the Thunderbirds take off and land from a show. In between, we got to see the ground operation. I soon realized that there is more to the Thunderbirds than six pilots flying F-4 Phantoms (they now fly F-16s). My dad told me that more than 100 of the best Air Force professionals, enlisted and civilian, are focused on putting those jets in the air to demonstrate to the public the highest level of Air Force capabilities.

I observed this same type of commitment and focus during the 2016 U.S. Senior Open at Scioto Country Club in Columbus, Ohio. Originally designed by Donald Ross, the course opened in 1916. It went on to host the 1926 U.S. Open, Bobby Jones’ fifth major victory, the 1986 U.S. Senior Open, and it’s where Jack Nicklaus learned to play golf.

Under the leadership of Superintendent Bob Becker, General Manager Greg Wolf, Golf Professional Bill Stine and the members, the club worked diligently to produce a successful U.S. Senior Open. Over the last 10 to 12 years, renovation of the clubhouse produced a magnificent and functional structure. The course itself was renovated by the combined efforts of Michael Hurdzan, Ph.D., and Jack Nicklaus.

Additional numerous individuals — too many to name — focused on the goal of presenting Scioto CC and the Championship in the best possible light. That focus never wavered, even when a rain delay pushed the final round to Monday.

Following the tournament, accolades were directed toward the individuals who lead the effort. In the case of Becker, Wolfe and Stine, I know they appreciated the kind words, and at the same time they did not expect them. The staff and volunteers proudly accepted acknowledgement of their efforts through the recognition that the three received.

Not all of us can host a professional or major tournament. However, the desire to achieve a common goal is important, not just to today’s golf environment, but also to your well-being. Instilling a team culture in your crew and colleagues while creating a common goal of the best golfing experience at your facility creates an exciting and highly motivational workplace. The idea that we are in this together for a single purpose is an extremely powerful statement about yourself and your commitment to the common good.

The biggest roadblock to a focused common goal is yourself. Worrying about things you can’t control is a major culprit. This type of angst not only diverts you from what you are trying to achieve, but permeates your staff, resulting in the real goal becoming lost. At some point you need to accept and trust those who are managing the things outside of your control.

Whether you are at a small golf operation or are conducting a major championship, clearly knowing the goal of the golf facility is similar to the goal of the Thunderbirds. The pilots are the best this country has to offer, yet I can’t name one pilot or any of the thousands who have been involved with the elite group. I do know they represent the best of the Air Force and those who keep them flying.

Photo credit: laullon via Foter.com / CC BY-NC

This article is tagged with and posted in Columns, Featured, People


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