Beth Nilssen
November 15, 2015 / Great Advice

And the winner of the Miss Congeniality Award for golfing goes to...

A lot of businesses sponsor golf tournaments, including Great Clips. The idea is to get together with colleagues, vendors and clients outside of the business environment to raise money and awareness about an issue or a community organization. All good stuff.

So when I got the invitation from one of Great Clips’ vendors, Pivotal Advisors, to join a foursome in its annual golf tournament, I really wanted to say yes, but given my rusty golf skills, I also knew this might not be…pretty. I pushed through my reluctance and decided to find out how serious my golf partners were about the game. I didn’t want to make a complete fool of myself if everyone else was a Tiger Woods wannabe.

“Oh, no, it’s just for fun! Come on out!” I was told. “Okay,” I said.

I arrived at the course early. First, I hit the pro shop. (I am not crazy—I knew I needed to at least look the part with the proper tools.)

“What do you need?” the guy at the rental desk asked. “Everything,” I replied, meaning clubs, gloves, balls and golf tees. Once outfitted, I headed to the driving range for some practice swings.

I noticed that the artificial turf was pristine. It didn’t seem right to make a hole by pushing in a golf tee. So I just plopped my balls on the surface and swung away, without much luck hitting the ball, let alone driving it any distance. Finally, the man next to me* offered advice: “You might want to use a tee.”

“But what about making holes?” I asked. He suggested putting the tee at the front edge of the turf and swinging from there. Amazing how that little bit of advice significantly impacted my ability to make contact with the golf ball!

Next up, I met my three fellow golfers. Ever honest and wanting to manage expectations, I immediately admitted that I’m no Annika Sorenstam. “No problem!” they assured me. “We’re just here to have fun.”

When it was my turn, I stepped up to the ball with a firm grip on my driver. Taking a deep breath, I drew back and swung. Thwack! My contact with the ball was dead on and strong. So strong that we all looked into the distance, searching the fairway for the ball. It was nowhere to be seen. We began looking in the vicinity of my tee-off. Still no ball. Finally, we found it.

I had, indeed, hit the ball with force—such force, in fact, that I’d driven it underground. That’s right. I’d driven the ball several inches under the turf, so deeply that we didn’t at first see it. When we did, one of my foursome noted—straight-faced—“I guess it has been a while since you played!”

We all burst into laughter. To my relief, the other guys didn’t make me sit in the golf cart for the rest of the game and watch. We played on, and I actually did manage some relatively good strokes during the rest of the day, leaving me hopeful that perhaps if I actually practiced, I could do this golf-thing!

And that’s how I won the Inspiration Award trophy—which I affectionately call the Miss Congeniality Award For Entertaining Her Playing Partners While Golfing. (I also won the women’s division “Longest Drive” award. No matter that I was the only eligible woman participating.)

I promised you lessons, so here’s what I learned:

Work is about community, as well as productivity, and sometimes you need to leave your comfort zone to try something new. And you don’t have to be perfect to participate. You just have to be willing from time to time to laugh at yourself, and most importantly, let others laugh with you. And who knows, you might even get a trophy.

*UPDATE: A few days later I realized that the gracious golfer who gave me such good advice was none other that the sports reporter for a local news station, Joe Schmit. I hope he got a laugh sharing the story with his colleagues. Thanks for the help, Joe!

Are you interested in knowing more about what it’s like to be a Great Clips franchisee? Send me a note or give me a call. I’d love to talk with you! (And I promise: you don’t have to play golf with me.)/

Beth Nilssen By Beth Nilssen on November 15, 2015
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