Go back in history to:

Labor Day 2007:

A recent conversation with a successful high profile golf business man prompted me to write this grass roots overview on myself. I initially thought (incorrectly) this was a person that would appreciate the objectives of My thought was based on a grass roots profile that I had read about him. Instead, he said that I was in love with the game and that my product was rudimentary. He felt golf course owners were egotistical and that communication with them was impossible. He mentioned, in his professional opinion, the numbers and attitudes were against me.

I explained to this individual that Greenfees was intended to be a very simple approach. That is what is needed for a back to basics solution. Golf course owners want and need a simple solution that will not take advantage of them. I am sure this person could not hear me say that.

It is noteworthy that this individual owed his success to once being a high end third party (as I later found out). In my opinion, third parties take advantage of the course.

I am in my late fifties so I can write an accurate grass roots perspective of the sports and business role models that have influenced me from a very early age. I am a new comer to golf with a solution. My golf blood (dedication) runs true from my ancestors.

Allow me to begin:

My Basis for Business Ethics:

I grew up in a rural north eastern North Carolina farmland community much like Mayberry, except surrounded by swamps. My English teacher, Mary Ellen Lassiter, taught Andy Griffith. Andy has been a hero of mine all my life. It has been said to me many times, "You are an Andy Griffith kind of guy". It is true since that seems to be my natural delivery style.

My grandfather (Big Daddy) owned a family lumber mill (six sons and a daughter). I learned at an early age what hard work was all about from working in the log woods and lumber mill during my summer vacations. My Aunt once told me that she was afraid that my Uncle would kill me with hard work.

Big Daddy rewarded his family with a beach cottage on the Atlantic Ocean. We enjoyed deep sea fishing from his yacht, pier fishing, crabbing, and water skiing from my Uncle Floss's sports craft. I also enjoyed fishing the rivers and creeks in Uncle Dicks very small outboard motor boat.The swamps offered a unique beauty that I loved. There is something to say about fishing with a cane pole in a swamp, Tom Sawyer style.

Ethic 1: (Rewards in Good Times)

The combination of the hard work, family ownership of a business and its rewards helped mold the business traits that I possess today.

From a more civilized small town perspective, My brother, Larry and I had a paper route that required us to wake at 5am for three years. We had 150 customers in a town with a population of 500. Christmas was rewarding for us when our customers appreciated their paper boys. Monthly invoice collections gave us the opportunity to communicate directly with the town people, Mayberry style.

Ethic 2: (Rewards in Hard Times)

The paper route business gave me an appreciation for people that barely had the money to pay for their paper, but thrived off the daily news. We found a way for them to keep their paper delivery in place with few exceptions. I want to do the same for the golf course owners since I am in a position to help.

Sports in my Formulative Years (role models):

I batted against Catfish (Jimmy) Hunter in high school and recognized him best for his ability to throw an accurate fast ball. He could sure draw a crowd to a baseball game. I watched Jimmy play American Legion from the bleachers with an even greater appreciation. I admired the deals he struck in professional baseball (baseballs first free agent).

I refer to a quote by Jimmy Hunter:
``When you sit down and negotiate an agreement with someone, both sides can't have everything they want, The players and the owners are greedy. If they'd just sit down and talk, and realize that you're not going to get your way all the time. ... Both sides have to give and take.''

My Uncle Monk, (Monkey Demos, we called him), was our baseball coach. After we were completely shut out by Jimmy, Uncle Monkey Demos told me that would be one day that I would remember for the rest I my life. He said that we were out of our league. Thank you Jimmy for that experience. Uncle Monkey Demos pitched in the minors with the Milwaukee Braves so he had a good source for his own appreciation.

I went to basketball school under Press Marivich and played on the court in practice sessions with his son, Pete. He learned at a very young age fundamental basketball and ball handling drills from his father coach. Pete followed his father and coach throughout the eastern and gulf seaboards as a young man before exploding onto the NBA in his own right.

I refer to a quote by Press Marivich:

Press Maravich: [at basketball school, I was there]
"I am not spending valuable hours of my life just to teach you boys to throw a ball through an iron hoop, this is a way of life, I want players to think. Work, sweat, challenge themselves, discipline themselves, because anything else, you boys, it just isn't worth it, to anyone. The problem with you boys is simple. You're all a bunch of dummies cause you think you know it all. Give me the ball."

[Press draws a small circle on the ball]

Press Maravich:
"You see this circle? The size of this circle represents everything that I know about basketball. But the size of this ball represents everything about the game that has neer been dicovered."

[Press puts a small dot on the ball]

Press Maravich:
"This dot is what you know, combined"

[Press throws the ball back to the player]

In summary, my early sports exposure was to hunting, fishing, skiing, tennis, baseball, and basketball. I am compelled to write that I admired my peers Allen, John, Edgar and Donnie Lee of my hometown even more. I hold them in highest of sports esteem with the greats.

Golf in my Adult Years (New Comer,Old Blood, New Solutions):

Golf entered my life not from the sports side, but from a chosen business profession. Golf offered me the beauty of the outdoors, a place to meet business associates and the opportunity to contribute to the success of the golf business. These are the base line progression of life events that are precious to me (macthing my ethics).

Face it, I will never get the chance to bat against Jimmy Hunter, shoot goals with Pete Marivich or listen to Press again (May they Rest in Peace). Golf solved my sports participation problem for my ripe older age. I can contribute to the solution of the golf flat market while enjoying the sport as well. What more could I ask for?

The golf course provides a soothing environment for me to mix business with an outdoor sport since my chosen profession is in a technical field.

My hopes are the golf business man that I had my conversation would hear and understand the words of the greatest in sports history, Press, Pete and Catfish Hunter. Maybe I should send him a golf ball with two small circles drawn on it, and ask him if he ever heard of Jimmy Hunter?

What is next, owning a course?, I hope so!

By the way, my business and sports role models today are Jack Welch and Jim McConnell. There is plenty there to learn from these two.

Thanks for reading
Gerry Kirkpatrick

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