The only problem I have with Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is use of the term GOAT to describe him.
With seven Super Bowls to his credit, more than any NFL franchise, there are few who could legitimately argue the claim that Brady is the Greatest Of All Time, the title that led to the GOAT acronym.
It just seems, at first glance anyway, that it’s an unflattering handle to hang on somebody so accomplished, especially a QB who, at 43, is excelling beyond normal shelf life.
That’s hardly an indictment of the guy, but there were several on social media after he collected the Super Bowl MVP on Sunday who were willing to rap him for everything from getting favourable calls from officials to his politics to the fact that they just don’t like the guy, with no reason given.
Detractors are nothing new in professional sports, especially when you’re at the top of your game – or do something different.
For the past 20 years, I’ve associated the Super Bowl with the Waste Management Phoenix Open, which concluded with Brooks’ Koepka’s win on Sunday.
I’ve had the opportunity to cover that PGA Tour event a few times and after the winner was decided each year and interviews were over, we made tracks to the nearby Scottsdale Fairmont Princess to watch the big game.
Most years, the Phoenix event emphasizes the word “event,” whether it’s the gala opening dinner, the wackiness of the 16th hole, evening drinks at the “Bird’s Nest,” or people–watching as the unique crowd saunters by, at least when COVID isn’t affecting attendance.
The number of people who stream into TPC Scottsdale, particularly for Saturday’s third round, most years is one reason the Waste Management Phoenix Open is an unmitigated success along with the money it raises for charity.
Yet, over the years, the Phoenix event has had its detractors, some who say the party atmosphere is over the top, although that opinion is softening these days. It sure isn’t Augusta National, but the Waste Management Phoenix Open has certainly found its niche on the PGA Tour schedule.
No matter the success of a person or an event, be it Brady or the Waste Management Phoenix Open, there will always be critics who, if you listen to them, can affect the confidence of a talented individual or prevent innovative ideas becoming reality.
The golf industry is coming off a 2020 season in which it was deemed a safe sport in these troubled COVID times and the benefits were obvious on full tee sheets across the land.
At this point, there is no reason to believe that things will be different once the 2021 season swings into high gear in Canada, but it’s time to look beyond that. Growing the game even more is the goal beyond the pandemic.
Innovation and imagination will be required to turn younger golfers, families, women and other non–traditional demographics into core golfers. Now is not the time for paralysis by analysis, or being afraid to make a mistake with programs and other ideas designed to keep people coming back or deciding to take up the game.
Dean Ingalls of Carnmoney Golf Club near Calgary, who won the Pat Fletcher Retailer of the Year Award and the Murray Tucker Club Professional of the Year Award at the recent PGA of Canada National Awards, included others in some intriguing ideas when he was at nearby Silver Springs Golf and Country Club last year.
A two-time winner of the national Retailer of the Year award winner created Vision 2020, in which staff members were in charge of individual categories and asked to maximize sales with creative ideas.
The shop at Silver Springs also sent members daily videos often injected with humour as shop staff modelled clothing and showcased products. Sidewalk sales, customized water bottles, and constant shop reorganization were other features of the Silver Springs shop, which enjoyed record sales last year.
You can hear more from Ingalls in this video chat I did with him last week.
Ingalls’ methods may seem unusual in some people’s minds, but there’s no arguing with success. Challenging staff to be creative leads to a fun environment for employees and members/customers and makes the shop more inclusive for all who work there, no matter their age, experience or position at the club.
Offering bright, young minds a sense of ownership and responsibility bodes well for the future if you take a look at someone such as Derrik Goodwin of the St. Charles Country Club in Winnipeg, who consumes anything to do with education in the golf industry.
Not only did he accept the Tex Noble Award for Professional Development and the Stan Leonard Class A Professional of the Year Award at the PGA of Canada National Awards, but he’s won enough PGA of Manitoba awards to fill an entire career and he’s only 30.
You can watch my chat with Goodwin here.
Goodwin, with good reason, is making a name for himself in the Canadian golf industry, but there are others, perhaps not as decorated, who can offer insights or ideas into a certain demographic that you’d like to grow at your operation, particularly young people, young families and women.
Would you seek information and insights from somebody 20 to 30 years younger, someone who might fit into the very demographic you’re attempting to attract? Sometimes, a valuable insight may be right at our operations, but we choose to ignore it because we may be the more experienced person.
After the Super Bowl, Brady acknowledged the team aspect of the Buccaneers’ success and the same goes for the all hands on deck environment as we take golf not only into the second year of the pandemic, but beyond that.
Not all ideas are good ones and some need to be tweaked, but neither are all ideas and insights bad ones. They all deserve consideration and if there are any detractors to an idea, just not liking it is not good enough. Specific reasons should be given.
Seeking ideas and ideas from non-traditional sources may not make you the GOAT, but success speaks for itself, especially at a turning point for the golf industry.