Last week I had the good fortune to be invited to Houston, TX for job board strategy meetings with CareerBuilder and a little primo golf at the Adminstaff Small Business Classic Pro-Am. This was a trip of firsts for me, and I enjoyed every bit of it.
The experience really began for me 2 weeks prior when I was invited to attend. I was quaking in my boots at the thought of putting my golf game on display in front of pros, and even **eek** a gallery. But, I accepted the challenge anyways with a high handicap of 25 and the thought that this is a once in a lifetime experience. I’m not one to back down from this sort of thing, even if I’m scared sh!tless.
So, October 10 I flew to Houston for the first time. I’ve been to Dallas and Austin before, and was struck both times by how different Texas is from Western NY. Laid back, friendly and warm vs. high-strung, reserved, and always a bit nippy – to me Texas is a foreign country, but a beautiful one. I got in at around 8pm and took a cab to a dinner at Perry’s Steakhouse and Grille. There I met with the team from CareerBuilder and a few other staffing firm clients like Kelly Services, Select Remedy, and Volt. The highlight may have been the gigantic bone-in NY Strip that I’m still digesting to this day.
Thursday morning was a whirlwind. Up at 5:30am and to the Augusta Pines Golf Club by 7:00am.
Arriving at Augusta Pines Golf Club at 7:00am
I registered, got my rental clubs and RAN to the practice range for only 3 minutes of swings. Let me just say I didn’t straighten out my game within 3 minutes. We found that we were paired with R.W. Eaks so it was off to the 8th hole for the shotgun start of stroke play. This being only the second tournament I’ve ever played in, I barely understood how this was all going to work.
We briefly shook hands with R.W. and his caddie “Johnny Mac” who were both very personable guys. Then it was crunch time. I was shaking so much on the first tee that I could barely see the ball. And when I swung the ball ended up going no more than 20 yards – ouch. Luckily the other guys on my team at least got the ball down the fairway. The good news is that in however this scoring works, we could get no higher than par. If we were shooting above par on the hole, or the extra strokes given because of handicaps didn’t keep us in contention for birdie, we could just pick up the ball and let the other guys play it out. If none of the amateurs got birdie, but RW did, then we could take the pro’s score.
R.W. Eaks’s sweet golf swing
Well, I didn’t have enough good shots on the first 5 holes to even be putting however, slowly I could feel my nerves subsiding and some semblance of a swing return. By the 8th hole I was hitting some shots and taking some putts. The great news was that we had some excellent golfers on our team, especially Michael Morrow from Kelly. At the turn we were in a tie for 3rd place in the tournament!
Proof that we were on the leaderboard
On the back 9 I actually managed to have the best score on 2 of the holes to help contribute. This was a great moral victory and therefore made the entire day perfectly enjoyable. We ended up the tournament at -19 in 4th place. No trophy, but a very respectable finish. I picked up some great tips from Johnny Mac, and got to see how effortless a tour pro makes this sport.
During the afternoon, I had more meetings with the CareerBuilder, then in the evening we had a real treat. We were able to attend the player’s dinner. Johnny Bench spoke as well as Roger Clemens, who had just returned from NY after getting ousted from the ALDS. Arnold Palmer also was a central figure. He’s the spokesperson for Administaff these days, and while he is getting on in years, he’s a very inspirational person to listen to.
Arnold Palmer speaks at the players’ dinner
To top off the Texas evening they brought in a live, unplugged country music show featuring Pat Green and Jack Ingram. I’m no country music connoisseur, but I’m going to become one. Their music was awesome!