Give A Little, Get More Back

Nothing disappoints me more than seeing selfishness in action.

Far too often people believe that doing something for themselves is the path to the greatest rewards.

While I may never convince them otherwise, it’s been my experience, especially when it comes to the golf world, that doing a little something for others provides even greater benefits.

I was in Syracuse, New York the last couple days, trying to familiarize myself with my family again after a whirlwind few week of work prepping for our Spring Issue, the debut of our new website, and the Ottawa-Gatineau Golf Expo.  While there, as is my habit, I dropped into a local retail establishment, Dick’s Sporting Goods, just to scope the scene.

Hoping to possibly engage in a chat with a local golf enthusiast (I assumed one would work there) and maybe gather some intelligence on the Spring course openings in the area, in the end I left disappointed.

I wandered throughout the golf area for more than fifteen minutes – in unwelcome solitude.  All the while I made fleeting glances towards the only staff member on duty.  Apparently his phone discussion (which I could easily overhear) with a buddy about the latest escapades of SU Orangeman basketball took priority over engaging and servicing customers.

Ultimately I left without ever speaking to the worker (his ear never left the phone as he sat behind the counter) and I began to wonder if the young man (I’d say he was about 25) knew what he was giving up by focussing on himself rather than lending a sliver of time to somebody else.

It’s bad enough that he failed to take up for his employer in this situation and seek a possible sale, but in the process he may have missed an opportunity for himself.

The Dick’s staffer likely has no plans to work in that organization for the rest of his life and, in his mind, is probably giving the job the attention he thinks it deserves, but he is forgetting that golf is a window to the world.  You just never know who your next customer will be and where a positive relationship with them can take you.

I can make this assertion because my entire working life in golf emanates from situations like this.

From my first job on the grounds crew at a small nine-hole course in Northern British Columbia, through work at other courses, on to nine years as a co-owner of a golf retail store, and eventually into the golf media, there have always been common threads and connections developed from past experiences.

Small kindness and courtesies during my tenure in these jobs has paid dividends with valuable relationships within the golf industry, and many more outside of it as people from all walks of life are often drawn to the game.

Whenever I see a person in the golf industry now who fails to pay attention to things beyond themselves I am mournful for them.  As much as they think they are benefiting, they’ll basically cheating themselves.  The pleasure of making somebody else’s day better may not always be life changing but they might be surprised how good it will make them feel.

So if you are working in golf this year, whether it be at a retail store, at a golf shop, or even on grounds crew I implore you to pay close attention to your actions at all times.

Whether you want to have a career in golf or move on to other ventures, you’ll never know what might pass you by if you spend all your time only taking care of your own needs.