Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.
Issue link: http://gcmdigital.gcsaa.org/i/335642
18 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 07.14 For those of us who enjoy golf, play golf and are maybe even lucky enough to work in golf, we all have a story about what frst drew us into the game. My story is probably similar to many of yours because it involves my father and grand - father. My dad always enjoyed the game and encouraged my participation, but it was my grandfather who frst set me up with lessons at the public course down the road from his and my grandmother's home, Minor Park Golf Course in Kansas City, Mo. One summer, when I was probably 9 or 10 years old, my grandfather took me down to the course once a week, and left me in the ca - pable hands of the club pro. While my grand- father grabbed a seat in the small snack bar at the course, I would join several other kids on the driving range to bang balls for an hour. I'm not sure how much, if anything, I actually learned from those lessons — those who've seen me play will back me up on that — but the real payoff for me wasn't the les - sons themselves. Instead, it was the promise of a full round of golf with my grandfather once I'd fnished the lessons that kept me coming back for more. And true to his word, at the end of that summer, he and I toured the links at Minor Park. I probably shot a 120 — on the front nine — but never did my grandfather show any signs of frustration or impatience. And despite my score, it's a round of golf I re - member to this day, especially on the rare oc- casions when I get back to Minor Park to tee it up again. Did that experience have anything to do with my landing a career in the golf industry? Probably not. That was more good fortune and dumb luck than anything. But it certainly is a fond memory of my frst real exposure to the game and one I remember frequently when the topic turns to the grow-the-game initiatives that have become such a part of our industry today. In a business that has slowly been leaking not only players but also entire golf facilities in recent years, these efforts are absolutely key to the future of the game. Far fewer youngsters have experiences like mine to bring them to golf, so it's imperative that the industry iden - tifes initiatives that will help do that for us. In the early days of these grow-the-game efforts, superintendents often found them - selves on the outside looking in, many times a view that was of their own choosing. Getting players to the course was the job of those in the pro shop, the thinking went, not for those in the maintenance building. You deal with the golfers, we'll deal with the grass. But that thinking is decidedly old school now. In a time where superintendents play crucial roles in the fnancial health of facili - ties, attracting and retaining players has be- come everyone's business, and as Howard Richman's excellent lead story in this issue of GCM illustrates, superintendents have re - acted accordingly. They've embraced cutting-edge concepts, such as FootGolf, as avenues that can po - tentially increase participation in traditional golf. They've joined with other facility lead - ers to develop new ways to utilize existing as- sets on the golf course. They've thrown their support behind efforts such as The First Tee, Play Golf America and Tee It Forward. Basi - cally, they've done whatever they've needed to do to help secure the long-term health of not only their own facilities, but the overall game of golf as well. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a grandfather who can introduce them to the game of golf in the same way that I was. That the game of golf recognizes this and is trying to do something about it gives me hope that others will still get the opportunity to discover what is great about our game and our industry. Scott Hollister is GCM 's editor-in-chief. Scott Hollister firstname.lastname@example.org twitter: @GCM_Magazine For the love of the game One summer, when I was probably 9 or 10 years old, my grandfather took me down to the course once a week, and left me in the capable hands of the club pro. (inside gcm) 018-019_July14_IGCM.indd 18 6/17/14 2:39 PM