Friday, April 21, 2017
Monday, March 27, 2017
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
I am going to try to put my thoughts and emotions into words but I am afraid I will come up short of capturing exactly how I am feeling. On Friday, January 20, the deeply caring and benevolent spirit of those who comprise the golf industry were on display at The Breakers Rees Jones® Course in West Palm Beach (owned and operated by The Breakers Palm Beach). The overwhelming outpouring of support had me in an emotional frenzy the past couple of days, so I really want to ascend to a high summit somewhere and shout out that people are good and thoughtful and giving!
Since I am in no shape to climb to a mountain top, I will settle for writing this blog post with the hope that it reaches more readers anyway.
It is during a most challenging time in the life of GCSAA member Neil Sheridan that our industry (really, our family) pulled together in such a remarkable fashion to show Neil just how valued he is not only as a member of The Breakers community but also as a part of the state and national golf community. Neil has recently been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. More specifically, a rare tumor that develops off the adrenal gland called Pheochromocytoma.
Currently, the tumor is about the size of a softball. After a couple of months of stomach issues, back pain, and loss of appetite, the cancer was discovered. Unfortunately, by this time, it had spread to his T9 vertebrae and is nearly wrapped around his aortic artery, which completely rules out surgery unless it can be shrunk down.
Neil is 35 with two children under the age of three! The treatment plan Neil is doing now is called M.I.B.G. which is a high dose of radioactive isotope and is being carried out at Sloan Kettering, one of the leading cancer centers in the world. The facility is based in New York and they specialize in treating this extremely rare form of cancer. He is truly in the best hands possible.
As you may imagine, this care comes at a hefty price and will undoubtedly create some hardship for Neil. This is where The Breakers’ Director of Golf and Grounds Mark Reid and Danny St. Louis, director of golf at Breakers West, put together a plan to hold a fundraising event for Neil and his family. The initial thoughts were to have 18 teams of four play the Rees Jones Course in the afternoon and donate the proceeds from the day to Neil, as well as having some raffle fundraisers to kick in a little extra.
Was that ever a colossal underestimate of how much participation and support this event would garner. There was such a great demand to be a part of the day that the decision was made to have a morning shot gun in addition to the afternoon shot gun. Both events were full with no additional room for a foursome.
The energy of the day was palpable as I spoke with individuals from all walks as well as those within the industry that were there to support Neil. The group I was paired with, friend of a friend of Neil's wife Kate, came from Georgia, Orlando, and Palm Beach Gardens. They just knew they wanted to participate in such a worthwhile endeavor. Class was on display at every turn this day courtesy of the entire Breakers organization!
The Breakers ran a first class event on behalf of Neil and his family and the day exemplified why they are considered a premiere golfing destination with world-renowned facilities as well as top quality human beings. It was truly a pleasure being on hand for this occasion along with the best that the game has to offer.
I have had the opportunity to speak with Mark Reid since the day and express how moved I was to be a part of this event. He echoed my emotions and relayed that he was also touched by the support that was shown. If there were more Mark Reid’s in this world, we would definitely be living in a better place! Mark anticipated that the event will have raised, when all is said and done, roughly $95,000.
For something that started with the hopes of raising a little bit to help support a family in need, the enormity of the day still escapes words for me. It’s not the dollar amount that was raised that is what I will remember long after Neil has won his battle with cancer, but rather the display of the best of the human spirit and the positivity of the day that enveloped all who were there.
Neil, you remain in my thoughts and prayers as well as the prayers of those many more who were also touched by the magnificent outpouring of love and support! Thank you for allowing me the honor of sharing the day.
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
How different are the practices and tools that you use on a daily basis from the ones you implemented 5, 10, 15 years ago? I am going to guess quite a bit different the further you go back in time. Many of these changes can be directly attributed to research that makes you work more effectively and efficiently.
As I participate in a number of meetings with local and state boards, research funding frequently becomes a topic of discussion. I know, locally, that the Florida GCSA is helping fund six different projects over the next couple of years. Where does the money come from for these projects? Local chapters and individuals make donations to the research fund for the FGCSA. I assure you, however, that there is so much more that can be done. If you need a second opinion, feel free to contact any of the University of Florida faculty. I am confident they will let you know their needs for research dollars.
To that end, GCSAA, through the EIFG, has an excellent vehicle to help support these research projects. Our Rounds 4 Research program has distributed over $435,000 to local organizations since 2012. The program should not be new to any of you as I have been promoting it across the state for the past five years. We are very excited about the upward trend the program has experienced over the last couple of years.
Some of the positive indicators include a 15 percent increase in rounds donated in 2016 over 2015. In the same time period, the number of rounds sold experienced a 22 percent increase. Also, the amount bid per round was up 20 percent. In 2016 there was a $52,000 increase in proceeds over 2015. All of these indications point toward a successful 2017 auction.
We have dedicated a task group for Rounds 4 Research, which is chaired by GCSAA Secretary/Treasurer, Darren Davis, CGCS. Also serving on the committee is Nick Kearns, superintendent at The Oaks Club, in Venice, Fla. I am confident that the group will be invaluable in making 2017 the best year yet. Also, I am sure you would all like to hear another voice promoting the program!
To assist in reaching even more facilities, GCSAA is poised to promote your efforts through mailers, e-pushes, and other marketing materials that demonstrate the benefits of this worthwhile endeavor. We have also adjusted the timing of the auction to May 1-7, 2017 to run just prior to The Players Championship, where our relationship with The Golf Channel may help encourage additional participation from golfers.
Now is the time for you to help out by donating a foursome to Rounds 4 Research that can be auctioned off in May. You set all the parameters for the round and simply submit it to us and we will take care of it from there. To make it even easier for you, here's the donation form.
Please take a couple of minutes to consider this program as a way of making your life as a superintendent just a little bit easier. Pass along the information to whomever you need to at your facility to donate the rounds and let us take it from there. Funding research should be a fundamental pillar for all of us, and in the end, you will benefit from the work we all commit to together.
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
As a leader of your chapter, how many times have you felt like Michigan Football Coach Jim Harbaugh coaching against The Ohio State University and wanting to throw something violently to the ground? Hopefully not too many times! As was the case for Coach Harbaugh, nothing good can come out of that type of reaction. He cost his team 15 yards and looked silly trying to replace the broken headset upon his head. As a chapter leader, nobody will call an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against you but you would indeed look just as silly.
What if I told you that GCSAA offers a service that can help alleviate some of the frustrations of running a chapter and help you chart a path for the chapter's future? Well, indeed we do! By conducting a GCSAA strategic planning session, we can help develop goals and action items that will lead you to the fulfillment of your mission statement. What’s that? You don’t have a mission statement. We can work with you to identify why your chapter exists and capture that in a mission statement that should guide your activities moving forward.
The process proceeds like this: At the outset, we determine from the group what they hope to achieve during the session. Hopefully, by the end of the day, we will have achieved what the group has set out to accomplish. We will do a SCOR analysis of the chapter to determine Strengths, Challenges, Opportunities, and Risks that are impacting the chapter and how it is functioning. Once they have been identified the group prioritizes the top items under each of the SCOR sections.
From here it becomes a matter of formulating a few achievable goals and action items for the upcoming 12-18 months and perhaps a long-range vision for the chapter. Individual responsibilities and timelines are determined and then the work begins. GCSAA provides the documentation of the outcomes of the strategic planning session and this document serves as a guide to meeting the set objectives. The key is to set only enough goals that can be achieved yet still move the chapter in the right direction. This process can be revisited at the end of the 12-18 month time frame to determine successes that have been achieved and perhaps areas that came up short of the desired goals.
If the process is followed, I will state that the chapter will have moved forward and met their established goals. The icing on the cake for conducting a strategic planning session is that the service is free. Also, for those who participate in the process, GCSAA education points are awarded.
GCSAA Director of Chapter Outreach Steve Randall and I recently conducted a strategic planning session with the South Florida GCSA. In this session, we went through the process that I described and established a few key initiatives for 2017. I have offered my assistance to the group throughout the process, and I sensed that the group left the meeting charged up for the challenge and ready to meet the outcomes we established.
I would encourage you and your chapters to follow suit and plan to conduct a strategic planning session in the coming months. It is a great way to chart a path for the future of your chapter and eliminate some of the frustrations that exist in being a chapter leader. The Buckeye in me wants to make another Harbaugh analogy but I will leave that go for now as I am certain that next year will bring another opportunity to poke fun of the coach from up north. In all seriousness, please reach out to me if there is a desire to conduct a strategic planning session for your chapter and we will get it on the books and start the process moving.