Often people ask me what I like most and what I like least about my job as a golf rules official. There are so many great things about my job which makes it difficult for me to identify a single most favorite part of my job. However, things like getting to meet so many different people across the country and around the word as well as the great variety of my day-to-day work tasks and “offices” (golf courses!) would be right at the top of my list.
On the other hand, it is very easy for me to identify my least favorite (and often unthought-of) part of this job – the travel. I’m sure if you polled all of us professional rules officials, that would be the overwhelmingly favorite answer to that question. Yes, being on the road approximately 200 days per year can be a challenge – not only to the person doing the traveling, but also to his/her family members back home.
For most people looking at it from the outside, all the travel seems glamorous. While I am very fortunate to have seen many different parts of the country and even the world, the travel can be very taxing both mentally and physically. After all, it’s not like I’m going on vacation and getting to do a lot of sightseeing while at my travel destinations. I work very long hours when I am on the road. When I do manage to have a few hours to myself, I try to take that opportunity to relax and recharge my batteries to get ready for the next 14-15 hour day that is inevitably right around the corner.
With that travel comes a very behind-the-scenes part of my job description – packing and unpacking! While I suppose it is not officially part of my job description, it is definitely something that I must deal with on a regular basis. Because I live on the road more than I do at home, I have become fairly adept at this process, but it is still a very challenging task. My packing process is not like your normal “getting ready for a two or three-day business trip” process. More often than not, when I leave home, I am gone for 2-4 weeks at a time visiting as many different cities along the way. Often times, I will work in a cool, rainy environment (i.e. Bogota, Colombia) followed the very next week by a hot, humid climate (i.e. Panama City, Panama).
This means I must plan and pack accordingly. Waterproof boots, rain gear, hats, gloves, a stocking cap and my on-course rules bag are all a routine part of my luggage. On tournament competition days, I routinely wear slacks, a button-down dress shirt and a tie, so all of those need to be packed in addition to any casual and workout clothes I might need on my trip. Oh…and don’t forget the usual items such as a laptop computer, toiletry items, shoes, socks and underwear! All of that usually adds up to 3 or 4 pieces of luggage and more than 100 pounds I need to prepare and haul around with me in the airport, on the rental car shuttle bus and into my hotel room on each of my trips.
Please don’t take all the above as a bunch of complaining. We all have parts of our jobs we like more than others. I simply wanted to give you some perspective on a part of my job that you might not have thought about and simply isn’t very glamorous. In the end, I am very lucky to have what I consider to be one of the greatest jobs in the world and I wouldn’t trade it for anything…with the exception of being the manager or GM for the Atlanta Braves (my other dream job!). I keep applying, but I’m not having any luck!