Keeping up with The Jones: Ready for liftoff

By |  January 25, 2017 0 Comments

Seth_JonesThe Golf Industry Show is here, which means a return trip to Florida and warmer weather. Consider this your invitation to visit us at the Golfdom booth (2753). Please come by and say hello, and if you’re feeling salty, come over ready to be interviewed on Golfdom TV.

I’m actually in sunny Florida (West Palm Beach) as I’m writing this. My friends at the Palm Beach GCSA asked me to MC their meeting, which meant less responsibility for your pal Seth, which always is a good thing. The keynote speaker duties were in the capable hands of 2016 U.S. Open host superintendent John Zimmers, Oakmont (Pa.) CC. It was a great event and I’m excited to report that they had an excellent turnout at the Breakers Rees Jones Golf Course, which looked fantastic, and it just was a great event all around.

I’ll tell you what I told the attendees of the meeting. When I jumped in the truck back in Kansas, I had some hesitation about driving to the airport. It wasn’t the thought of leaving the snow behind, but the magazine. See, this issue will go to press at the same time I’ll be at 30,000 feet, flying back to the Land of Oz. Not ideal timing.

But then, when is it ideal timing? The calendar is never completely free and clear.

I looked around the banquet room at the Breakers Rees Jones Course and saw a bunch of guys who were in situations like mine. But we all entrusted our capable co-workers, left our keys with someone else and made a commitment to spend some time together for the purpose of sharing ideas and learning.

I told the story of one of my first trips to south Florida, some 15 years ago. A vehicle manufacturer was unveiling a new cargo vehicle, and somehow my name got on the invite list for the fancy press event in Sanibel Island, Fla. The event planner nagged me for a week by phone to attend. I tried to convince him that he didn’t need me there — that the vehicle wasn’t applicable to the golf industry and it would be a waste of my time and their money. Finally he said, “Seth, when someone invites you to south Florida in the winter, you go.”

So I went. And it was one of the most rewarding trips of my career.

For a couple days I got to rub elbows with journalists in the automotive industry and see the way they work in that industry. I got to enjoy the fine weather, the food and the resort. And I got to see something I never would have guessed a Kansas kid would see.

As I was boarding the plane for the flight back home, the pilot came over the intercom and told everyone that if we hustled we could get in the air before a scheduled shuttle launch from Cape Canaveral. And if we pulled that off we could see the launch from the air.

For once, people actually got their butts in the airplane seats quickly. People weren’t fumbling trying to pack the overhead bin space. And we were airborne.

Even better, I had a window seat on the right-hand side of the plane. We took off, and a few minutes into the flight the shuttle launched, and I had a bird’s eye view watching it disappear into space. And I thought to myself, “Man, I’m glad I came on this trip!”

We’re all busy, and we seem collectively to be getting busier. But don’t let all the clutter keep you from putting trust in your co-workers, leaving the golf course for a few hours (or days) to meet with your peers, learning from your colleagues and just unplugging for a bit. Who knows what you’ll learn… or see.

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