Recurring Dreams

Do you have them? I call them dreams but nightmares might be a better descriptive. I have two and both have to do with a school situation, which is over 40 years in the past. High school was all boys and we wore uniforms. No girl or dress competition. And, I was an art major in college. Usually not a path to success but then again this was the Vietnam era and the “soft” majors were quite popular. An art degree was not generally known to create much stress. 

My dreams are 1) in a high school situation where I cannot either find my locker and if found cannot remember my lock combination. 2) I have a college exam in one of the few classes that required one and I haven’t read the textbook or even gone to class all semester. In both, panic is the operative word! 

So why am I blogging about this? Not sure, but I had the second one just the other night. Maybe my stress these days, though suppressed, is making up for the college days! Also, I have had others tell me they have one or the other of these nightmares as well. 

Sleep well tonight.

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Does Anyone Care?

Is it just me, or are fewer people interested in doing a good job in whatever they do? At a time when high unemployment is all the talk on the news, why is it that those with jobs care so little?

This summer was a time of a number of projects and my wife and I were amazed at how many issues we had with workers who seemed not to care about their work. Things were done wrong, others not done or forgotten, and in all cases, got around to it when it happened to work for them. Other examples include short cuts taken, cover ups, haphazard efforts, wrong parts received and including even food orders. On and on. You see it too, both in your personal and professional life. Every day.

Maybe this is a continuation of the deterioration of pride in one’s work that I have watched over the years. Still amazes me. I was raised by a perfectionist, my dad, and while he was a bit over the top, by golly, what he did was right, period. And he demanded it of me and those who worked for him. Quite frankly, perhaps that is why Par Aide saw success all through the years in spite of being, for the most part, on automatic pilot. Had the ball washer not been built so well, with little to no problems, who knows where we would be today – probably not a leader in the industry! I truly attribute the success of Par Aide to him and he is owed our continuation of same.

To this day, our employees take pride in what they do, and no one ever leaves us. Yes it is part of our management style but perhaps more importantly, they like being a part of an organization that values quality and their work to provide it. It is certainly easier to work a job where your work is valued and you can take pride in the results of that labor. I have occasionally stopped at a work station and inspected a product set aside as defective and I was unable to see the flaw until pointed out.

This attitude is treasured in all aspects of our business. Our people want to be known as the best regardless of their function in the Company and we are quick to pass on compliments received. When a mistake is made, there is not a fear of losing one’s job, rather a sincere regret for the error and a renewed dedication to learn from it.

In conclusion, while most of our customers give little thought to the ball washers and other Par Aide items, perhaps that is because they have learned they don’t need to. That’s a good thing. We care.

Employee Event, Summer 2013

It has been a tradition at Par Aide to hold a summer event for all employees. We originally played golf each year, but as the company grew it became harder and harder to supply clubs and balls. So, we started looking for alternative options.

Over the years, we have tailgated prior to a minor league baseball game, taken a river cruise around our cities on the Mississippi, indoor go-cart racing, pig roast, bowling and most recently for the second time, actual stock car racing. We have always tried to mix it up and provide experiences that most of us either have never done or would not be likely to ever do. The stock car racing remains the best of them all.

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The first time we went, as management, we were quite surprised that we were even being allowed to do this. We literally were put in groups of 5, told to follow pace car and when it pulled off track – race! Of course, the number one question was, “what if we crash?” The answer? – “Don’t try to.” Perfect. As it turned out no one did and, as a result of a great save by the fellow, Andy Anderson, who was the eventual winner, no one did this time either.

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What a blast driving a 1985 or so stock car, stripped down completely and fitted with a 350 Chevy engine and automatic transmission. We wore a helmet and proceeded to give it our best over the 1/4 mile oval. The fastest drivers, generally the younger ones, could hit close to 55 mph in the very short straight-aways. It was the corners that slowed down some of us old guys.

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My purpose in talking about this at all is that having a unique event for employees or customers, enhances the way they will think about you. And, as employers or vendors, we are uniquely able to provide an experience not generally available to people, and/or would they even think about doing it.

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Next year, we are considering trap shooting!

New Book on Golf

If you have a golf book collection or really love the game this book is for you. I am not sure who the author is but this was forwarded on to me by Stan Kinkead, who many of you will remember was the President of National Mower until it was sold to Ariens some years ago. Thanks Stan!

“You may not know it but I’ve been very busy over the past 2 years putting my thoughts and ideas together in a book about Golf.  I am very proud of the results and in order to market the publication, I am asking friends and family to be the first to own a copy.

Here’s the Table of Contents from my new book, “Winning Golf Strategies,” which I believe gives the reader valuable playing tips and insider information that I’ve gained through my own years of experience in the game and observations of golfing partners.

Table Of Contents

Chapter 1 – How to properly line up your Fourth putt.

Chapter 2 – How to hit a Nike from the rough when you hit a Titleist from the tee.

Chapter 3 – How to avoid the water when you lie 8 in a bunker.

Chapter 4 – How to get more distance off the Shank.

Chapter 5 – When to give the Course Marshall the finger.

Chapter 6 – Using your shadow on the Greens to confuse your opponent.

Chapter 7 – When to implement Handicap Management.

Chapter 8 – Proper excuses for drinking beer before 9 a.m.

Chapter 9 – How to urinate behind a 4″ x 4″ post , Undetected.

Chapter 10 – How to rationalize a 6 hour round.

Chapter 11 – How to find that ball that everyone else saw go in the water.

Chapter 12 – Why your spouse doesn’t care that you birdied the 5th.

Chapter 13 – How to let a Foursome play through your Twosome.

Chapter 14 – How to relax when you are hitting three off the Tee.

Chapter 15 – When to suggest major swing corrections to your opponent.

Chapter 16 – God and the meaning of The Birdie-To-Bogey Putt.

Chapter 17 – When to regrip your Ball Retriever.

Chapter 18 – Use a strong grip on the Hand Wedge and Weak Slip on the Foot Wedge.

Chapter 19 – Why male golfers will pay $5.00 a beer from the Cart Girl and
give her a $3 tip, but will balk at a $3.50 Beer at the 19th Hole and stiff the Bartender.”

12 holes – Part 2

Golf is just too damn long. I have written about this before and because it’s my blog, I am going to write about it again.

In Part 1, I believe I fairly accurately presented my personal experience that leads me to want to play 12 holes and be done. Here are some more reasons:

1. Time: One of the complaints for the trickling down of interest in golf is the time commitment required. With the pressures on time from both employers and family, and especially considering the immediacy of communication through the internet, 4-6 hours away is just not acceptable anymore for many. And consider the Y Generation who I would contend has developed a much shorter attention span (again internet?). (And by the way, this generation, 18-34 year olds, is playing much less golf than previous ones.)
2. Maintenance: If future golf courses were designed as 3 six hole loops, or established ones rerouted, think of the maintenance flexibility. Close one nine for aerification or play disruption repairs. This is not a new idea. It was discussed at the NGF Summit in 1988, and pretty much ignored as developers, and big ego designers and owners, insisted on “Championship” layouts.
3. Cost: I realize that building 3 six hole loops is no cheaper that a full 18 but what if the goal was to make affordable golf, designed for less maintenance, a return to the clubhouse at the 6th, 12th, and 18th green. More beverages, snacks, etc. Would more golfers be attracted for more after work or evening rounds? Could more corporate outings be scheduled? Six and done might work much better for full company outings including their non-golfers or a quick break at conferences.
4. New players – kids/women: In my mind this is the critical and most important reason. Golf is definitely losing a bit of its popularity and it is known and documented that the fall off has as much or more to do with the lack of new golfers in spite of their interest in learning/playing the game. Dedicating one 6 hole loop regularly for new golfers, kids and women who are truly and rightfully so, intimidated by “the golfers” who do not want to be bothered with the “others”. In fact, it is suggested and I think true that it is the low handicappers who exhibit the most objection to beginners – the very people we all need to perpetuate the game into the future.
5. Why not? Where’s the magic in 18?: There is a stigma about playing 18 holes, like it’s not really a true game without completion. Why? Do bowlers feel unfulfilled if they only play two games? Do kids on the playground feel committed to playing 9 innings of ball? Isn’t the whole object to get out and enjoy the game and all that comes with being out there on the course? How about we loosen up and treat golf like any other athletic activity – playing for fun, exercise, camaraderie.

So there you go. Heresy I am sure to the purists. I just have found that since I put fun back into the game, it really has become fun. Wouldn’t be nice to play in a Monday scramble that ended after 12 holes, in 3 ½ hours instead of 18 in 5-6? Plenty of time for refreshments, snacks or even a meal and be home at 6:00 pm. Anyone up for a quick 9?

12 Holes – Part 1

I started playing golf again. Yes after throwing a club 8 or nine years ago and giving up the game, I’m back! Came back with a whole new attitude – pick up the ball after 7 or 8 strokes and don’t worry about a handicap. Worked great the first time out. Didn’t expect much and didn’t get much. I’ll get better I thought as I medicated away the pain from swinging well over 100 times. Well I didn’t get better and that’s when it was decision time: either I quit again, this time forever, or get lessons. It was just too embarrassing, as don’t you know that anyone who finds out what I do for a living just assumes I am a low handicapper who spends most days on the links. And, it wasn’t just the embarrassment of being horrible. I found I had to use found lost balls to keep playing after losing the 15 or so I had in my bag to begin with. Really.

The solution came after following the advice of one of the guys who told me about a teaching pro named Dennis Meyer who teaches out of a club in the Naples area. It’s working and by the way I would recommend him to anyone who needs help. Unfortunately, he is in so much demand that getting in is tough. I am now getting better and still just fine with picking up on a bad hole and to not worry about a handicap. However, I played 16 holes the other day and teed off on 16 with only the second ball out of bag. Then went on to lose 4 more on last 3 holes. Damn. This game is expensive.

But, I am still committed to getting better. It’s just that I have come to the conclusion that the game of golf is just too damn long. I don’t care if it originated because that’s how many shots are in a bottle of whiskey, or that’s all the land that was available for first course, or more likely, the way Robin Williams explains it in one of his stand up acts. (Highly recommended but not if you are sensitive to the “F” word being tossed about a lot. Just Google Robin Williams Golf.)

By the time I am through 13 or 14 holes I am done. Time to take shoes off and have a cold one! Been out there for 3 hours or so and that’s enough. Enough sun, enough time, enough yardage, enough swings – I am physically and mentally tired. Who’s with me? It’s just between us. Your buddies will never know how you really feel. I want to play 12 holes – just 12. Twelve hole tournament? I’m in!

You have read about this topic before if you follow my blog – one of the tens that do – and in Part 2, I will make my case.

New Car Introductions

Oh how I remember those new car introductions in early September every year. With the unveiling of the new 2014 Corvette, the Auto Show in Detroit, and the auctions in Arizona there is a lot of activity in the automotive world. Course then again, if you are not a car guy, you probably are unaware of any of this. However, it has caused me to reflect on growing up with new cars being introduced in September for the coming year. Not in January for the next year!

It’s hard to believe that in the 50’s and 60’s we were treated to new designs, generally requiring substantial retooling, each year. As teenagers, my buddies and I would try to see through the cracks in the construction paper that went up every year, shielding the new models from the public driving by. We couldn’t wait to see what Detroit was offering for the new year.

When one looks back at the model years of GM cars for example, consider the changes made to the general sedan 1956 to 57, 57 to 58, then again 59 thru 63, on and on. Now the car you buy this year will resemble very close the same model next your and the year after, especially in the look. And, there is little to any excitement generated as to the new models. The closest to anticipation lately was with the new Ford Taurus and the Chevrolet Corvette.

How I miss the construction paper and painted out windows in the old days.