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I Only Golf at Sage Valley

By Joey Havens

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“I only golf at Sage Valley,” I responded to one of my colleague’s inquiry about my golfing at our annual Sage Valley outing. We all laughed as I shared they had seen me hit my last golf ball on last year’s trip. Another colleague chimed in, “That’s a great line…‘I only golf at Sage Valley.’”

If it didn’t sound so snobby, I might actually use it, but no one would understand the humor in it. Nonetheless, it is true. I gave golf up many years ago and until last year at this special invite, I had not so much as hit a single golf ball in many years. “Rusty” would be a compliment for the condition of my golf game.We played 72 holes and it took me 71,442 steps. That’s a lot of steps in 3 days. As you might guess, I also walked further than some of my playing partners as I took a lot of swings.  With scores of 102, 98, 94 and 94, not only did my feet hurt, but my back ached too! My golf game is still bad, but thankfully I played a little better each round which gave me a small ray of hope. And I needed it. I get frustrated at not being as competitive or at least striving to be my best at anything I do. So why would I submit my body, mind and soul to this much golf misery over three days?

First, it’s an invite to play and connect with some great leaders in our profession. Connections that make our firm and me better. As we read and experience so much about technology disruption and automation, we can never underestimate the human factor. Human interaction and the need for empathy, wisdom and connection will remain central to everything we do. 

Are we connecting with the right people in our careers?

Second, Sage Valley is very special, as it says in the course rules, “Golf played as it was meant to be played.” Sage Valley is truly a golfing experience where you are on an amazingly beautiful course, as you can see in the photos. Professional caddies who take a personal interest in your game, club selection, distance and most important for me, reading a putt. The greens are incredible—fast and very hard to read.

Are we making the complexity of business simple and easier for our clients? Are we reading the hard trends and future facts for our clients and advising them accordingly?

Third, when I did play golf many years ago, I loved to walk the course. I love the exercise and simply experiencing the beauty of a golf course. At Sage Valley, it is all walking (did I mention how many steps we took in 3 days?)—my feet are still recovering.

Are we growing and learning at a pace to stay in shape for the transformation of our business models? Or are our brains tired from learning or clinging to status quo?

Fourth, the service and staff at Sage Valley are simply the best. They leave no stone unturned in exceeding expectations and hospitality. As you can see from my personalized golfing towel that was waiting for me on the practice range on day one, they tend to the details. This reminds me again on how much we must focus on client experience in the future. Yes, it has always been important. Yes, we have always stressed client experience. But today, we must elevate this to be distinctive and meet growing expectations. Things as simple as how we deliver information to a client, like on their smart phone, make a difference.

Are we really focused on elevating our client’s experience and making every moment of truth great?

What if our client said, “I ONLY do business with _________.” FORE!