Digging it out of the dirt...
All golfers are familiar with the term “from tee to green.” We reference it when describing the maintenance of the course, the strategic focus of our game, or simply to express two places we hope to meld together… eventually. While persistently navigating the course’s endless hazards we will face this “tee to green” challenge not once, but 18 times in a single round. It is the nature of the sport: agony or ecstasy, a lost ball or a tap in birdie. This tenacious approach to the challenge of golf speaks volumes about the individual, and uniquely prepares golfers for the pursuit of perfection both on and off the course.
Ben Hogan once remarked about how he acquired such a brilliant swing. He said that he “dug it out of the dirt.” In much the same way, my best friend a greatest mentor, my father, dug his own legacy out of the dirt of the Gallatin Valley. From humble beginnings as the middle child of three boys in Princeton, New Jersey, he grew up fast, forging himself into a hardworking man of compassion and conviction. After building our family home, he broke ground on his dream of constructing and owning a golf course.
Some of my earliest memories are watching him glue pipe fittings together in our living room or accidentally taking a divot out of the carpet as the snow fell outside. When spring arrived in 1985, he would go directly after his shift each day with the Post Office to the old International tractor, ‘digging the dirt’ on his dream. He left the house before sunrise and worked well after sunset for the entire summer. Not a moment was to be wasted, and in 1986, as cars filled the parking lot for the first time, Cottonwood Hills Golf Club was born.
What my father built, all those years ago, was not only a golf course but a legacy of community involvement. He wanted to change the Gallatin Valley and did so by providing the first and foremost golf club fully open to the public. Walking in his footsteps, I have worked in every area of the golf industry at my family’s course. I started my days hand-striping range balls and picking rocks from a field that would become the new driving range. As time moves on and I assume more responsibility I find it ironic how I have come full circle. A few years back, I asked my father what my new job title was. These were his words: “You can have any title you want. Director of Golf, General Manager, Vice President… Heck, if you want to be the Owner, you’re now the Owner. It still means when the toilet breaks, YOU fix it.” Any small business owner will be familiar with this promotion-demotion process. Thanks, Dad.
Recent years have not been kind to small businesses. Many new hazards have emerged, yet we persist with tenacity and smiles on our faces. In the age of deep-discount vouchers and coupon codes, golf courses have been faced with the hard truth: Further discounting our rounds of golf has not led to an increase in participation. New golfers are only created when they are invited to the game by someone they know. While technology has improved by leaps and bounds, the social aspect which leads to a round of golf has stalled.
This is exactly the problem which my company, ParTee, solves. Functioning as a social rolodex, it gives everyone, beginner or veteran, the opportunity to find new partners and keep in touch with established ones. It introduces golfers to like-minded individuals and creates real connections prior to teeing it up on the first hole. When golfers have someone they want to play with, they golf more. It’s that simple.
Furthermore, ParTee is a direct link to every golf course around the nation. Golfers can search a comprehensive database of courses based on location, amenities, number of holes, etc. They can find PGA Pros, events, scrambles, clinics and demo days nearby. ParTee gives every golf facility and PGA Professional the opportunity to curate their own profile, enabling them to share messages, offer lessons, and post the events they want with the clientele they desire. All of these elements work together to create one end result: people everywhere can play more golf.
In the end, I am looking to carry on the legacy that was passed down to me. My father took his dream from tee to green with the course he himself dug out of the dirt. ParTee is my dream and I am honored to carry on the family tradition.