What can you learn about teamwork and synergy at a charity golf event? Usually not much, but this week proved the exception. Thirty two teams teed off in a typical golf scramble format. My team consisted of a client friend and my next door neighbor, who was the tournament director (which means he didn’t have time to focus on his game before we teed off). We average over 60 years of age and had handicaps over 15. We were up against the usual assortment of weekend golfers and a few single digit handicap “ringer” teams that seem to always win these events. You know the type.
Our team won the low gross prize with 16 birdies and two pars. We also won low net (the ringer team had a scratch golfer, yet got more strokes than we did), and I won second in the putting contest. What is truly amazing is that none of us played well enough on our own shots to break 80. That’s where the “tee” in teamwork comes in.
We put a tee down to mark our first putt. I putted first after Tommy , my client, gave us a read. My neighbor, Bob , putted second, and Tommy putted third. Bob , an ex-college pitcher, proceeded to drain a downhill almost straight 22 footer. If you know anything of baseball, you know superstition is a requirement to make it to the next level. So the tee, the read, and the order stayed with us for six holes and six straight birdies. If your team believes something is responsible for their success and the positive results keep happening, go with it.
After two straight pars, the team made a decision to change. We switched to a UVA ball marker. The read and order stayed the same. The birdie train got back on the tracks. Once you realize something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to try something new. And only change one thing at a time.
Throughout the round, each of us made shots when we needed to, and every one of us had some dog awful swings. On a majority of the holes, each shot used came from a different player. What we each brought to every shot was a positive attitude individually and as a result, collectively. Have confidence in your team even when they are having a bad day. Faith can keep a bad shot from becoming a bad round.
The round was so good we never talked about it during the round. Enjoy the ride and don’t count your chickens before they hatch. When you focus on the process and not just the results, good results continue.
Our last hole was a 185 yard par three. I jokingly said a “one” would insure we won the event. We ended up with a 50+ foot uphill putt with about 3 feet of break. Bob and I both came close leaving Tommy. Tommy adjusted his read after watching our putts and drained it. You could hear our yells and high fives all over the course. That capped over 200 feet of putts made and that one putt gave us our victory. Keep playing to the end as you never know what your last effort will produce.
Take three pretty good golfers hitting pretty good shots, mix in encouragement, laughter, positive expectation, and conservative innovation and something special can happen. And it all started by putting a tee in our teamwork.