Fourth in a series about GNN blogger Tiffany Gordon’s experiences at Cottonwood Golf and Country Club during the flooding that hit Southern Alberta in June.
One of the first things we discussed on the Sunday after the flood was rallying the troops to deal with the challenges ahead, so I phoned up the road to Patrick Coli at Carnmoney Golf Club and said, “Pat, I need a place to get all my staff together on Tuesday morning.”
He said, “No problem.” They put on a breakfast for us and we had about 90 staff members show up. I addressed them and turned it over to our owner Lyle Edwards.
The message that was delivered was we’re going to war, but we’re going to war together and we’re going to win. Everyone has a job. You might not be serving or cooking. You might be shoveling silt or raking or hauling, but you will have a job.
I give full credit to Lyle and his family. It would have been pretty easy to just lock the gate, but that’s not his nature, never has been, and that didn’t even enter into it.
Yet, you get into week two or three and all of that business downtime and you appreciate how easy it might have been.
Every day, Tyler Patroch, our superintendent, and I would sit down and say, “This is what we’re accomplishing today, this is how many people we have and this is what we’re doing.”
We were making lunches for 50 to 60 people every day and members would bring down food and drinks. They would have little work parties and make lunches.
The running joke was that people would get my updates at two or three in the morning. I would send them when I could, but they responded in the morning.
You would take the people who responded, sit down, split them into groups, go out with them, show them what to do and make sure they got water, lunch and the equipment they needed, so it became a project management job.
The pro shop had their team. Food and beverage had a team. Members had a team and we would manage them.
I always strived in my career to learn from others. Mentorship is huge for me, but I learned more about people in this experience that many would in a lifetime.
We had two corporate events that were near and dear to our hearts that we couldn’t host, but we worked with Carnmoney and hosted the events there. Our staff went and worked with their staff.
We moved a wedding up there and we tried to salvage anything we could, so at least we could say, “Come back next year.”
The support we received on Dunbow Road from our friends at Carnmoney was unreal. Carol Oxtoby, the president and CEO at Heritage Pointe, was supportive from the beginning.
With Patrick at Carnmoney, I could show up and say, “I need this and I need that,” and I got it. The support was over the top. You often hear people say “We’re all in it together,” and I saw that statement come true in all of what happened in June.
Our membership was unbelievable. They were here to help. We even had to phone members to tell them their clubs had been in the basement when it flooded.
Our pro shop staff set up a tent in the parking lot to sort about 600 sets from the basement. They called them individually, 50 at a time, and regripped clubs and offered bags at reduced prices. They worked for 10 straight days doing that.
In circumstances such as this, you really understandable what they mean when they call golf a people business.