It’s not about what you know; it’s about who you know.
The cliché used all too often as counsel during a job hunt is actually wildly accurate in the golf industry, unless you don’t make the most of it. Playing the round of your life at an exquisite course previously devoted to daydreams isn’t as outlandish as it might seem.
The cliché worked for a few friends and me earlier this month. I tossed out a simple email to a colleague I had met just once before, asking about the possibility of using him as a connection to the gorgeous super exclusive fairways of Baltusrol Country Club, site of the 2016 PGA Championship.
I was casting out some tiny fish bait trying to land a lunker. The response? Of course!
One tiny email sent us to a course we had no business playing, the type of course that requires tens of thousands of dollars in membership dues. If we were rejected? Big deal. Those places exist in their large paycheck exclusivity for a reason and that reason is a different collection of customers willing to reach a bit deeper in their proverbial pockets. You don’t need to throw around a big salary to satisfy a golf fix because it’s not always about what you know (or rather how much you make), but who you know.
The foundation of the golf industry stands atop centuries of tradition, in which one of the main pillars is community. For many people, golf is about being social, meeting others and coordinating an enjoyable few hours. That just means the folks that work in the business — golf professionals, teachers, instructors, etc.— have to be personable. “Am a people person” finds its way onto many job applications in the golf world.
And so, fielding requests for a free or discounted round or just the opportunity to play a highbrow, what-you-see-on-TV type of golf course is common. The nature of their job all but forces their hand.
Sure, there might be a little feeling of shame that follows sending such a request. It might sound formal on the outside, but on the inside it’s more like, “Hey, you. You have access to something great that I don’t. Pretty, pretty please think of me next time you are feeling generous with that access. The connoisseur of golf courses inside me would really appreciate it.”
There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
To make it even better, the success rate is pretty high. It’s how golf nerds all around the world have already schemed their way into a tee time this weekend at some of the most sought-after courses in the world. A smile, convo and sometimes just an email are all it might take.
Experiences are out there waiting. All you can really do is ask.