Thursday, March 31, 2016

Wow Moment of 2015

It had been a year since I had ventured down to Chattanooga to play the Seth Raynor gem, Lookout Mountain Golf Club.  Built in 1925, Lookout turned out to be Raynor’s last design (he died at 51 years old), and was, at the time the third most expensive golf course ever built in the United States.  Mr. Raynor, an associate of C.B. MacDonald, built several of America’s best clubs:  Fishers Island, Shoreacres, Yeamans Hall, Camargo, and Yale.
To say the least, it is an honor just to set foot on the property.  October is a magical time to be on top of the mountain.  My wife had never visited Lookout, but seemed curious after surprising me with a framing of the original reprint of Mr. Raynor’s course map, which now sits proudly in my office.
Having visited several times over the years, both as a guest with a good friend, and more recently with a Golf Club Atlas group, I became friends with the Head Golf Professional, Adam Campbell.
As Golf Professionals go, Mr. Campbell is as friendly and cordial as any you will ever meet, with a genuine handshake to match.  Mr. Campbell gets ‘it’, as does his staff.  Fast-forward to last fall…I had ‘threatened’ to visit several times with my wife to ‘sell’ her on becoming a National Member.  Literally in four attempts, we had four absolute rain-outs. The last time we tried to set-up a visit Mr. Campbell offered, “…just come down, I don’t care what day it is.  I want your wife to see the club.  I’m afraid if you call ahead, bad weather will follow“…so we did.
On a near perfect fall day, with the leaves colored in shades of burnt orange, we finally made it down.  With only a few cars in the parking lot and no one expecting us (except Mr. Campbell who I had emailed on the way), we walked into the pro shop to find the Shop Manager, Miles Stephens.  Miles, who I had only met three other times in THREE YEARS, hesitated for about 4 seconds (which must have felt to him like 14 seconds) before saying, “Welcome…Mr. Sponcia”.
I said, “Miles, great to see you…and thanks for remembering me“!
He said, “It is a great day for golf, so glad you came down“.
Dale Carnegie said, “…a person’s name is the most beautiful word in the English language“.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve visited the same clubs as a guest multiple times throughout the years, seeing the same staff, and virtually none remember my name.
This simple act says more about the individual than almost anything they can do – and should be a model for all clubs to follow.
If you are reading this now, you may be thinking, “Mr. Campbell probably alerted Miles that we were coming”…but Mr. Campbell was preparing for an event later in the day and had not checked his email all morning.  When I saw him after making the turn, he was just as excited that my wife and I came down to visit as Miles was.
In a time where (it seems) customer service is at an all-time low, it is refreshing to know there are folks like Mr. Campbell and Mr. Stephens who exemplify the word – Professional.

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