Recently a group of Players Capital Group senior partners showed up at a golf course in North Carolina hoping to get in a round the day before some important meetings were to begin. The course was crowded, so the starter paired them with two other golfers at the first tee box. Introductions were made and the new foursome waited for the players in front of them to clear the fairway.
According to golf etiquette, a tee was tossed in the air and it pointed to PCG Managing Partner Howard Stevens, who was now designated to hit first. The process was repeated twice more to determine the order of play, with the two other fellows third and fourth.
Howard teed up from the blues and hit his usual 300 yarder right down the middle. The author of this article hit his maybe 220, but managed to land in the fairway.
Then a curious thing happened. One of the other gentlemen asked “How old are you guys?”
The guy says “We’re in our sixties too! You guys can play from the senior tees! You’ve earned it!”
We were dumbfounded to watch them get in their cart and drive at least eighty yards ahead to tee up at the senior tees, which were only five yards behind the ladies tees.
At the next hole, there was an awkward moment when we teed up from the blues again, but they ignored the implicit challenge and continued to play from the senior tees. One of us whispered to the other “Maybe they should just play from the ladies tees”.
Later that evening we talked about what we had witnessed. Howard explained “I am a scratch golfer now because I have never played from anywhere but the blue tees. I took up the game after I retired from the NFL, and I wanted to be not just a good golfer but a great one. Playing from the tips forced me to develop accuracy I couldn’t have gotten any other way.
And a phrase was born into our company culture that remains today. “Come on man, play from the blue tees”
When you interview a dozen companies on behalf of a client instead of three or four, you are playing from the blue tees.
When you spend a day rather than an hour researching the effects of a recent court decision, you are playing from the blue tees.
When you go the extra mile, you are playing from the blue tees. And business is like golf in two important ways… when you play every hole from the blue tees it soon becomes a habit…and you get better!