Six years ago, while looking for a job in the hospitality industry, I came across a posting on Craigslist that mentioned the combination of a technology based golf game and serving food and beverage while playing. As food and golf are two passions of mine, I was naturally quite intrigued but guarded by the idea that perhaps this was too good to be true, was some sort of online scam, and that I would have to provide my social security and bank account numbers to apply. Fortunately, that was not the case, and the person who responded to my inquiry was Director of Golf Services Mark Caster. At this point, if you would like to take a break from reading this blog and send your complaint emails to Mark on the hire, you are free to do so.
Fast forward five years, and I would be faced with a tough decision to make: whether or not to move from Chicago to Dallas, away from my family, friends and connections I had made throughout my life. I had never lived anywhere other than Chicago, except during college, which was only a couple of hours away. And other than the prospect of playing golf and riding my motorcycle in January and February, Dallas did not appeal to me. So I did some soul searching and thought about the various reasons why I would want to make such a move. Some obvious ones came up, such as opportunity with TopGolf, financial considerations, and the time I've invested. After all, I had just qualified for 15 days of PTO! While these are all important, as I thought about them, they seemed like obstacles I could easily overcome if I started somewhere new and played it safe by staying in Chicago.
I continued to think about what would make me want to move more than 1,000 miles away from my established life? What could be so compelling that really the decision would be easy for me to make? The answer was quite simple; it was the people of TopGolf whom I have had the opportunity to work with throughout the years. I have been fortunate enough to have been to all TopGolf sites, both U.S. and U.K., and each site has such an amazing feeling of family and exceptional collection of Associates. Recently, the Talent Management Team conducted a Hospitality workshop for our Corporate Office, and again, no surprise to me, as I got to know more of my colleagues better, I found that we are not limited to the sites when it comes to exceptional people. There is an energy that TopGolf creates and is known for that can only come from the incredible people we attract who want to work with us. Every time I ask an Associate why it is that he/she loves to work for TopGolf, the number one answer is "the people."
In July, I headed back to the Midwest for a break from the Dallas heat and for a family vacation in northern Michigan that has been a tradition for my family since before my father was born. As I thought about how blessed I am to be able to spend this time with my family, I also had to reflect upon how TopGolf has afforded me the opportunity to do so. The PTO is great - I could fly back to Chicago and not have to worry about how I was going to pay rent, and things are pretty good in Dallas. While thinking of these things, I was thankful to TopGolf for what they have provided me, but they were not really why I was thankful to work for the company. I did not have to think too much on why I was thankful to be working for TopGolf as I only had to look back at the last six months to illustrate that.
Within five months of each other, I experienced three pretty significant life events. In February, I lost my grandmother, in March the birth of my first nephew, and then in late May a near tragic medical emergency involving one of my siblings. Throughout each of these times, the outpour of support I received from my TopGolf family, both in the office and from the sites, helped to celebrate and provide the strength needed during these life events. I was immediately told to get on a flight back to Chicago and to be there with my family each time. There was no question of what work responsibility had to be attended to or how much time I would be away. It was comforting knowing that although I was more than 1,000 miles away from my family, I still had family surrounding me. Within hours of getting the news of each of these events, despite flying into the teeth of a blizzard while my nephew was being born, I was able to be there with my family, as my TopGolf family had practically pushed me out the door to make sure I could go home.
So here I am in Dallas, having enjoyed a favorable winter, and enduring a Texas summer, thinking about how glad I am that I answered that Craigslist scam. I love working in an environment where the support I receive from the people around me is so strong. TopGolf has been professionally rewarding for me, but what I did not know is how personally rewarding it would be. It feels great knowing that although I am so far away from my family, my TopGolf family is right here with me.