Posted May 15 2012, 09:05 PM by Cathy Erickson
Last week was a little like riding a golf roller coaster for me. On Friday, one of my favorite golf friends and role models, Steve Anderson, passed away after having a massive stroke on Tuesday morning. I met Steve and his family when they came to manage our local golf course several years ago. Steve made you feel like you've been friends for years even if you had just met.
His love for the game and his passion for the business of golf allowed him to make a positive impact wherever he went. I was so grateful that I was able to stay in touch with Steve after he moved on to another golf course, and in this past year he really helped us as our curling group took over golf operations at our course last season.
Posted Mar 29 2012, 11:37 AM by Cathy Erickson
Spring came early to Minnesota this year. There are dozens of golf courses open in the Minneapolis area and even some up in my neck of the woods. Granted, the grass is still brown, and some mornings are still in the 30's, but we've seen record highs multiple times in the last few months and all of the snow has been melted for a few weeks now. You can sense the spring fever everywhere!
Usually, my first real spring golf fix is parking myself in front of the TV for the Masters. I can't wait for the azaleas and chirping birds, along with Jim Nantz's welcome. But the weather changed things...courses were open and it sure seemed like it made sense to be out there. So a friend and I planned to head south until we found decent weather and a tee time last Saturday.
Posted Mar 14 2012, 11:37 AM by Cathy Erickson
In Minnesota, we've been gifted with some beautiful weather the past few days...temperatures have crept into the 60's and I even noticed a forecast that said parts away from Lake Superior may see 70's today. Sounds like perfect golf weather, right? Well, to get the full perspective, 2 weeks ago we were pummeled with about 3 feet of snow over a 7 day period, after going almost all winter with no snow on the ground! So while the temps sound dreamy, the reality is that there is still a good foot of snow on most of the course. No golf shoes just yet. (side bar: thanks to all my friends in warmer places that told me about their great golf weather on Facebook...and when I say "thanks" I mean that sarcastically!!)
Golf Needs You!
Posted Mar 01 2012, 12:11 PM by Cathy Erickson
We have begun to hear the battle cry for helping improve the sport of golf on a few different fronts lately. When I Googled "Golf Industry in Trouble" one thing I noticed was that the first couple of pages of hits were from articles posted back in 2008, and one interesting one was from 2005. So I guess this idea isn't a new one, but from what I browsed through, the good news is that even back in the mid-00's, those involved in the "golf world" were already identifying potential issues and finding ways to deal with the challenges in front of them.
Every golfer, not just golf equipment manufacturers or golf course owners, are stakeholders in the sport. It's imperative that we all consider what we can bring to the table, especially on a local level, to continue to assure that golf is available not only to us but to all fellow golfers, in particular, the generations to come.
This has really hit home for me because our golf course is struggling. I wrote about it last year, and the end result was that revenues were down significantly. Since the course I play at is municipal, there is always the threat that it won't be a priority anymore. And with our current economic culture it's something that worries me.
The good news is that most of our City leaders see the value in having a golf course in our community. Since I'm in one of the "snowy states" our season is at best about 6 months long, so we need to cram a lot of activity to get the needed revenues to operate and improve our course. What I have learned is that some things are in our control and others are not. The weather played a large factor in less playable days in 2011 compared to 2010 and it also impacted the spring growth and summer maintenance.
But what I also realized is that each one of us that shares a passion, or just appreciates the opportunity to play golf in our town, can be a part of improving our financial condition. It's not easy. A change in mindset might be needed. From my experience, there can sometimes be the attitude that golfers aren't vested in their course...they come and play, maybe have some food or drink, but that's often where the relationship ends . Many golfers have no idea (or maybe no interest) in knowing about the challenges and struggles the course is going through.
A sense of ownership or a sense of pride as a community member can really make a difference in people caring about the success and future of the course. Sometimes a trust may need to be rebuilt, especially if golfers have expressed concerns or suggestions for improvement and their voices landed on deaf ears.
Late last fall, after the season was over and it was apparent that we didn't have a prosperous season, I had some great conversations with a few people who share a common passion for golf. From there, a small group was formed with the purpose of seeing a better golf course and finding ways to increase revenue. I can't tell you how inspiring it is to sit at a table with people that want to see better things and are willing to do something to help.
One of the things I'm focusing on is our own community golfing base. While one of our main industries is tourism, I know our golf course can become better by both engaging our membership to share in thet mission of a better course and to introduce (or welcome back) community members not currently playing golf. When you're a small town golf course with a scrappy operating budget, sometimes you must rely on the time and talents of other folks who care. Without that, there may be no more golf.
I believe that golf on every level, whether it's a local municipal course or a private country club, needs each member to see golf with a new set of eyes...to see the opportunity share the game and appreciate all of the positive things it can bring. I read last fall that a beautiful Tom Lehman designed golf course in Minnesota closed. It had lots of things going for it, but apparently it just couldn't cover its costs. If things are great where you are, take a look around and see if you can share your golf passion at other courses or in other programs that might need help. Golf needs you!
As I look ahead with anticipation to our upcoming golf season, it's my goal to bring a positive energy into our golf course community and encourage not only golfers, but our community and City leaders to be partners in making our golf course a success. That means dispelling the notion that "only golfers benefit from a golf course". It also means that long-range planning and a closer look at operations could help find more money for improvements. I'm focusing on looking at ways to increase play, so if anyone has ideas, I'd love to hear them!
PS...after going this most of this winter thinking we were going to get a jumpstart on the golf season, we had a blizzard yesterday! That Mother Nature...funny gal.
Filed under: Minnesota, passion, Golf, Cathy Erickson, municipal course, increasing play
Posted Feb 01 2012, 08:20 AM by Cathy Erickson
This week is the Phoenix Open (er, I mean the Waste Management Open) and I'm having (mostly) happy memories of my trip to Phoenix last year...I only made it to the tourney 1 day (technically, 2 days, but everything was canceled on Wednesday!), but I spent about 6 hours on #16 that Friday and had a blast (the wagering going on was amazing!) I'm not sure if you remember, but last year Phoenix experienced record low temperatures and frost delays that prompted the cancelation of the Wednesday pro-am and eventually led to a Monday finish. I still golfed 4 times while I was out there, but my shorts stayed in my suitcase and I had to go buy some warmer clothes (dang you Phoenix!!).
Posted Jan 13 2012, 07:32 AM by Cathy Erickson
I'm not sure what the new year means to you, but for me, it's usually my cue to create my list of things I want to do better in my life...I write up the usual suspects, get organized, eat better, exercise, stop losing my phone, laugh more, make a budget, etc. But then some hiccup comes along and derails me...and I stumble along, just getting by, usually until some benchmark, like New Years, or tax day, or my birthday, prompts me to evaluate another shot at being better, doing better.
The funny thing about benchmarks is that there is always another one. It's an amazing built in excuse for waiting until "then" to jump back on the path envisioned. I have to admit it happened to me in the past few weeks...I had decided in December that January 1 would be a great day to start "the plan" - I had my plan and I was sticking to it! Then we got the call that my new nephew would be coming into the world around New Year's Eve, so it was road trip time and all my good intentions would just have to wait.
Catching Up and Looking Ahead
Posted Nov 27 2011, 10:53 PM by Cathy Erickson
Wow, it's the Sunday evening after Thanksgiving and I'm having one of those "where did my YEAR go??" We're coming up on December at the end of this week and before you know it we'll be singing Christmas carols and making resolutions for 2012. My year is a combination of a blur and vivid moments of both special and challenging experiences.
I feel like I'm at a point where I need to catch up a bit and also look forward to the holiday season and to the next year...I've just started my golf off-season and I hope to make the most of it.
Georgia On My Mind
Posted Nov 02 2011, 08:46 PM by Cathy Erickson
Well, the golf clubs are back in my garage after a quick trip to Georgia starting last Friday. I was meeting some friends up in Chattanooga, TN, to see a concert, but as I often do, I added a couple extra days to fit in some golf. I'm a frugal traveler, so I decided to fly into Atlanta to save on airfare. Since I was getting a rental car anyway, I thought I'd take advantage of the golf prospects in the Atlanta area. I would have 1 day in Atlanta, then off to TN, and then about a day and a half back near Atlanta to fit in some golf before heading home.
I was hoping for a little bit warmer weather than the 60's they had, but it was pleasant, and no rain! I brought along my own clubs and my new favorite footjoy black shoes! Traveling is a great opportunity to clean out your bag and clean up your clubs, too. I'm happy to report I found $8 and some really nice Pro-V's to take along. With a somewhat stressful summer that didn't leave me with a lot of time to play golf, I was really looking forward to some time on the links in Georgia.
Stars in Our Eyes
Posted Sep 08 2011, 10:54 AM by Cathy Erickson
Last week Sam Johnson wrote about golf Super Stars...or the lack thereof on the PGA Tour as the FedEx Cup playoffs get started. I give him credit for acknowledging that the definition of super star is in the eye of the beholder, because I think the measure of a star can be looked at in many ways.
It's hard to argue with Sam's list of stars...and when you have the opportunity to include a career's worth of accomplishments, it's going to take a lot be worthy of recognition. If we teleported ourselves back to say 1921 instead of 2011, would we still put Bobby Jones on the list of all time super stars back then?
An update on my happy place...
Posted May 20 2011, 07:08 AM by Cathy Erickson
For some reason, Spring is still taking it's sweet time showing up in Minnesota...cool temperatures, wind, and scattered storms (not to be confused with Sam's scatter shooting!) have not made our transition to golf season (which is what I call summer) very smooth. Trees are finally starting to see some leaf buds and green grass is starting to replace the brown dead patches that seem to be bigger than ever this year. I think I may have reported awhile back that I was a little worried about how our golf course would winter after having some serious issues in 2010. The news we got was a mix of a little good but mostly bad as the snow melted away and we saw what we had to work with.
When I found Tees2Greens website and forum I found a happy place. There were great people there and in 2009 they asked me if I wanted my own blog space. It was a dream come true!! The site is down now, but I was able to get all of my posts to be able to post here. I will always be grateful for all of the Tees2Greens folks!!