It can be easy to lose perspective; see or do something over and over and your perspective will be different from what it was when you first started doing said something. This summer I had a chance to see my job from two new and different perspectives. The experiences have been inspiring.
First, I had a chance to ride around the golf course with someone who had never been here before. They had seen Hazeltine on TV, but never in person. They pointed out things I had never noticed, or in some cases confirmed something I was thinking about myself, but had not shared with anyone. It was a new perspective and it was eye opening.
In June, our oldest daughter started working at the course. For 14 years, Olive has seen me come and go from work, sometimes visiting to ride around the course and also being around during our two Championships, the Ryder Cup and Women’s PGA Championship. As a young visitor, her perspective was getting to see dad at work, where there was a dog named Ozzy, snacks, and sometimes lots and lots of people. Never did she think about the work myself or anyone else did to maintain the course.
For six months or so, my wife and I have been talking with Olive about working at the course. She was interested, but mostly at the idea of making her own money. As her first day drew closer, her anxiety increased: “what will I do, who will I work with, what if I don’t like it?” All realistic questions, all with the same answer: “try it for a week and see what you think.”
Olive’s first day wasn’t especially memorable; some training and one bunker raked before a lightning delay that lasted the rest of her three hour shift. As I drove her over to swim practice she said: “I’m sorry I didn’t think I was going to like this, it’s so much fun!”
I have always wanted this job to be fun. I want to have fun myself and I want those who come and work with us to have fun as well. Having my own daughter talk about how much fun she is having at work, is a perspective I have not yet had. She had fun her first day and that made her want to get up and come a second and third day, then it made her think that maybe three days a week wasn’t enough and she wanted to work more. In a day and age when acquiring and retaining employees is harder than ever, we have to think about the fun factor. If a job isn’t fun, people just aren’t going to want to do it.
Similarly, if the course is not good, golfers are not going to be happy. Stop and take time to think about it from their perspective. Is that Monday maintenance routine your golfers always complain about really necessary? You should know the answer and the answer should not be: “we have to do this to make them better.” If a maintenance practice needs to be done, then you should have the data to back that up. If not, then from the perspective of the golfer, you should not be surprised when they complain about the disruption.
I have been waking up early to work on a golf course for 28 years! I never think anything of it, I get up, go through my routine and I head out the door. Now I’m getting to watch Olive experience the same routine: what it’s like to get up super early, how that impacts your day and how tired a person is by seven o’clock in the evening. “Dad, now I know why you always go to bed so early!”
Perspective is important, and we lose it when we do the same thing over and over, day after day, month after month. Changing a perspective, seeing it through different eyes can be, well, eye opening.