Volunteering-The Importance of Giving Back

first tee volunteer

When you give of yourself with no expectations that positivity will come back to you.

Volunteering is the act of giving ones time and effort with no expectation of monetary gain.  It is so important to find the time and opportunity to volunteer in order to create and facilitate positive change within our world.

I have noticed that American culture places great value and import on volunteering. What a wonderful thing!  When we give our time, knowledge and expertise in order to help others grow and succeed it can be a learning experience for everyone involved.

Some of the organizations that I support by volunteering are:

The First Tee, they have a fantastic model for fostering and encouraging volunteerism in order to positively impact our youth.

The GCSAA, their model focuses on using volunteerism to build and grow the superintendent field.

National Golf Day is a wonderful opportunity to connect volunteering to advocating for the golf industry.

These are just a very small sampling of opportunities available to volunteer your time.  I encourage everyone to find a way that they can volunteer in order to create positive change in our communities and in our world.

One small act can create a ripple.


The Importance of Hiring the Right Person for the Job

four seasons las colinas

Would you hire a a chef to be a music teacher?  For most, the answer is no.  Why? The logical answer is because a chef doesn’t have the right skill set to be an effective and successful music teacher.

The same thought process applies to all areas of skilled careers.  Ensuring that you are hiring the person with the right qualifications is priority #1 when filling a position. Again you may ask, “why?”  The answer is simple, yet complex.  If you find the right person (that possesses the necessary skill set and experience) for the job you are giving your company an edge towards success.

An initial step that must be taken in this process is identifying the goals and needs of your company and then using those to drive the recruitment & hiring process.  This preliminary identification of goals and needs allows you to identify the skills and expertise that you should be looking for in order to fill the position with an individual that can achieve results.

A perfect example of this would be the recent hiring of Anthony Williams at Four Season Resort Las Colinas.  The course knew that they had issues and were experiencing fallout due to them.  They identified their goals and needs and found the best candidate for the job, Anthony Williams.  In six short months he has used his knowledge and skills and transformed the course into a location that is once again worthy of the Byron Nelson tournament.  I would like to congratulate him on all of his hard work and the excellent results he has achieved.

Results, that really is the bottom line, isn’t it?  It may seem like too high of a cost to hire someone with a $100K+ salary, however, what if you hire the person with a $50k salary that doesn’t have as much skill or experience/expertise and the goals don’t get accomplished?  Or worse yet, service and productivity declines. The old saying “You get what you pay for” can definitely come into play.  To avoid these circumstances it would seem the best course is to identify the goals and needs and then choose the best candidates based on where you want your company to go.  Then once you know you have the best person for the job, let them do what they do best.


Thank a Golf Course Superintendent Week

thank a superintendent

This week we celebrate “Thank a Golf Course Superintendent” week!

What is the importance of a golf course superintendent? What do they really do?

Golf course superintendents wear many hats.  While they have the skill and expertise to mow and maintain the course, this expertise is better used in planning, facilitating and supervising the maintenance of the golf course.  Just a sampling of what they do each and every day includes;

-Understanding the business of the golf course, everything from the proshop, beverage cart, whole experience, customer service, and playing conditions to the turf, machinery, irrigation, manpower and planning necessary.

-Play with different members of different handicaps and from different tees (senior, ladies, average players, low handicappers and scratch golfers) *Playing competitive golf motivates the members to improve their golf game.

-Having the opportunity to share with members the projects that are ongoing and potential projects that are upcoming.

-View the total experience from the perspective of members and players during a round of golf

-Test field conditions to see what is working well and also areas to improve (green speeds, bunker conditions, tee box conditions, etc)

-Have the knowledge and understanding of golf in order to provide insight into different aspects of the game when the member requests

-Having the opportunity to discuss the areas under construction and repair as well as improvement opportunities and leave members informed so that they can spread the information accurately.

-Having the opportunity to lead by example and be a role model for the etiquette required in the game of golf.

-Hear firsthand the members’ suggestions, perceptions and expectations

-Having the opportunity to emphasize the importance of a team of committed workers (maintenance crew) that do their job well and share how they are honoring the etiquette of the game, safety, customer service, environmental practices and pride in their job.

Beyond all of these there are many more tasks and responsibilities that come up on a day to day basis.  This just helps show how important the golf course superintendent is to the course and why we should acknowledge and appreciate all they do to provide a seamless, enjoyable playing experience!


The First Tee Perseverance

Think for a moment, do you have perseverance when faced with challenges?  If not, how can you develop the ability to persevere in even the toughest situations? Webster defines perseverance as continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition.

Recently I have participated in a few different volunteer opportunities with The First Tee Fort Worth that have really had me thinking about the relationship between volunteering and perseverance.  Last week I participated in The First Tee Golf-A-Thon.  This was the first time I had ever participated in an event like this.  Initially I set my goal at finishing 63 holes.  By noon I had finished those 63 so I set myself a new goal of doubling it by the end of the day. I ended the day, golfing over 12 hours with 132 holes completed.   This was the longest I have ever played golf in my life!

Perseverance is one of the nine core values of The First Tee.  The ability to transfer this value from golf into everyday life is amazingly valuable.  If we as individuals can develop and apply the knowledge and discipline to follow through and finish everything we begin, we gain a powerful tool to help us succeed in life.

So, how do we develop perseverance?

The first step is developing reasonable goals. Consider setting a series of small, achievable goals instead of one huge, far-reaching goal. Doing this allows you to continue striving towards a goal while meeting measurable levels of success.  Just as I did in the Golf-A-Thon, I didn’t set an initial goal of 150 holes.  I chose a goal that was obtainable.

The second step is having reasonable expectations when setting your goals.  Do not consider eating the ENTIRE cake in one meal. Think of the cake in terms of smaller pieces, set your goals for each piece and work towards finishing the entire cake in a set time frame. Again, in the Golf-A-Thon, when I reached the initial goal I had set, I set another goal that pushed the expectations a little bit farther.

These two steps will put you on a path that will allow you to continue working (persevering!) towards your goals and experiencing success in what you do.

Leadership & Service with The First Tee

Kevin Long First Tee Awards

The First Tee has given me the opportunity to combine my passion for golf and service.  The teamwork and values I have learned from The First Tee benefit me at every level in my life.

I believe we should be grateful, humble and faithful to those around us.

A wise person once told me every person should have 3 things.

1.- Something to Admire

2.- Something to appreciate

3.- Someone to pursue

First I want to thank God because he is the one I admire.  He has shown me that it is a scientific fact that gratitude is reciprocal, he have a plan for me

The most important value for me is “Integrity” because it means respect for yourself and others. When you give respect, you get respect.  Respect is the key to building long term relationships and finding success in every venture.

My wife and children are the four people in my life that I am most proud of.

My hero is who I pursue.

When I was 15, a very important person in my life told me who is your hero?

And I said, I do not know, I have to think, give me a couple of weeks.

Two weeks later this person comes and tells me who is your hero?

I thought about it and I said “I know who it is”, me in 10 years.

Then I turned 25 ten years later and that same person comes and tells me, you are a hero now? And I told him nowhere near it, no, no, no.

He said, Why? “Because my hero is me at 35”

My hero will always be myself 10 years further away.  You never stop learning, every day presents new opportunities.  Coming to the United States presented me with a challenge to learn and grow in my field, I have learned many things but it still isn’t enough.  I am still following my dream and pursuing my hero.

I want to sincerely thank The First Tee for giving me the opportunity to be a Teacher, Coach, and Mentor. I have learned so much from all of you and appreciate being able to give back to golf what golf gave to me.

National Golf Day 2017

I attended National Golf Day in Washington, D.C. on April 24-26th. During this time I was honored to be able to advocate for golf through many different ways.

Monday, April 24th was arrival day.  This day was all about briefings for the upcoming meetings and events and an evening reception for the GCSAA delegation teams.

Tuesday the 25th was very exciting!  For the first time ever, a community service project was planned for the National Mall.  Attendees to National Golf Day volunteered and were assigned to teams to do mowing, edging, aeration, rock clean-up, bench clean-up, and irrigation.  This project lasted from 8:00 a.m. until noon.  It was amazing to see over 100 golf professionals participating to make an impact on this area.  Hats off to the ringleader, Steve Mona.

After the service project the buses returned us to the Hyatt Regency where we attended several briefing meetings to prepare for the legislative visits the following day.  That evening the National Golf Day Launch Party was held in the Microsoft Innovation & Policy center. I had the opportunity to meet Chantel McCabe from the Golf Channel.

Wednesday the 26th was the day that all legislative meetings were scheduled to take place.  I started off the morning by attending The First Tee Congressional Breakfast at the Capitol Visitor Center. This was a great way to start the day!  We had the opportunity to hear firsthand how golf has shaped the lives of two First Tee scholarship recipients.

After the breakfast it was time to take the group picture on the U.S. Capitol steps and go to Capitol Hill for the legislative visits.  I was honored and happy to represent Texas as part of the Texas contingent.  National Golf Day showcases how the industry is taking an active role in promoting legislation to help the game.  For the congressional meetings, there were nearly 200 attendees from 35 states.  This strong attendance demonstrates how golf gives back.

Our team met with representatives for Senator Ted Cruz, Senator John Cornyn, Rep. Kenny Marchant, Rep. Kay Granger, Rep. Sam Johnson, Rep. Pete Sessions and Rep. Joe Barton.  In these meetings we highlighted three important issues: the impact of environmental regulations on golf, specifically the Clean Water Rule and NPDES Pesticide General Permits, H-2B labor regulations, and the PHIT Act (H.R. 1267 & S.482)

We were focusing on:

-Asking Congress and the Administration to repeal the Clean Water Rule and work with all stakeholders, including golf, to write a rule that reinstates state/federal cooperation and ensures a clean environment and healthy economy.

– Asking Congress and the Administration to support and co-sponsor S. 340, the “Sensible Environmental Protection Act of 2017” and H.R. 953, the “Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2017” which would clarify congressional intent that CWA permits are not required for lawful pesticide application.

-Urging Congress to renew the H-2B Returning Worker Exemption in appropriations legislation to fund the remainder of FY 17 as well as FY 18.

– Asking Congress and the Administration to support and co-sponsor S.792, the “Save Our Small & Seasonal Businesses Act of 2017” and H.R.2004, the “Strengthen Employment and Seasonal Opportunities Now (SEASON) Act”.

– Asking Congress and the Administration to support and co-sponsor the “Personal Health Investment Today” (PHIT) Act, S.482 and H.R.1267.

This was a successful trip were we had many opportunities to have our voices heard and express the important impact the golf industry has on our economy.  I am looking forward to another successful year and seeing what the next NGD has in store!

Similarities Between Golf and Life

golf should be fun IMAGE

There are many similarities between the game of golf and life. Envisioning, planning and working toward life and career goals involves many of the same preparations and discipline as the game of golf.  If we take the time to identify our goals and examine the exact steps needed to achieve these then we begin to see the similarities that exist between the game of golf and success in life.