November 20th, 2012 | Comment
I have been a golfer most my life. I worked at a course from the time I was 14 until I was 22 years old. I played four years in high school and four in college. I wouldn’t say being an avid golfer has made me a better human being, but it has helped in life and prepared me to work in media. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned on the golf course:
Conditions change round to round
You never know what’s going to happen before playing a round of golf. Playing golf in San Francisco one day can be beautiful and clear and the next day completely foggy and cold. In media you try to follow timelines for campaigns but these timelines often change and new issues arise. Sometimes the campaigns that seem the most straight forward end up being the most challenging.
Every course is different
Golf is one of the only sports that is not played on a standard field or terrain. All golf courses are different and often require different strategies and styles of play. A good player has to think out the round before playing and develop a strategy. Working at PJA, I have worked on a number of different campaigns spreading across different industries with various goals and audiences. Much like playing a variety of golf courses, creating media plans for different campaigns requires unique strategies.
Everybody hits bad shots
Most golfers hit bad shots (lately I have been hitting a lot of them). Even the greatest golfers in the world hit bad shots. In the beginning of 2012, Kyle Stanley had a four shot lead coming to the 18th hole to win the Farmers Insurance Open. Unfortunately he had a meltdown and triple bogeyed, leading a to a playoff that he lost. For most players this would be a devastating loss. But Stanley kept moving forward and won the very next weekend at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Mistakes are also a reality in media planning – everyone is bound to make a mistake at some point. It’s important to realize this and know that how you fix or learn from your mistake is what really matters.
The more you prepare the better
Lately my golf game has been suffering, mainly because I don’t practice enough. The time and preparation you put into golf is rewarded with good play, much like creating a good media plan. Taking the time to investigate the media landscape, understand the target audience and form strategy will be rewarded with a good plan. If you don’t prepare it’s a whole lot harder.