The Hollywood GC staff’s determination to still provide the best possible experience for its membership matched any I’ve seen—even if their voices were muffled and they could only express that to me from the eyes on up.
In over 40 years of writing for specialized business publications, I’ve found myself interviewing people in some pretty strange places and ways. In hospitals, including with a source who was in traction (talk about your captive audience). In the back of limousines, taxicabs, buses, rental car shuttles, semis, boats, helicopters and private planes. While standing up and trying to take notes in cramped, sweltering storerooms and bone-numbing walk-in freezers, and while perched on precarious catwalks or platforms in warehouses and manufacturing plants, and at construction sites.
Researching our July issue cover story on Hollywood Golf Club, though (https://clubandresortbusiness.com/hollywood-gcs-star-performance/) brought an entirely new experience. I’ve conducted plenty of interviews while wearing a hard hat, safety goggles and ear plugs, but never while wearing a facemask—and also while having those I’m talking with wear them, too. It doesn’t exactly make for speaking and hearing clearly, or getting a good read on facial expressions (theirs or mine), or in general make it easy to have a congenial conversation.
But as was the case with all of those other experiences, it was worth powering through this new one to get the story. Once again, it verified that there’s no substitute for getting out to see for yourself what’s really happening, versus what you have to try to now filter from second-hand sources that are proving to be more unreliable or skewed than ever.
The scene I found at Hollywood Golf Club certainly wasn’t “normal,” given that the signs on all of its buildings’ doors made it clear masks were mandatory while inside. (It should also be made clear, by the way, that we asked that the staff be photographed without masks for the group photo that we had on the July issue cover (and also above), and that was allowable while outdoors, under New Jersey’s requirements.)
But it was also still among the liveliest club scenes that I’ve encountered in 15 years of covering the industry. And the staff’s positive determination to still provide the best possible experience for their membership matched any I’ve seen—even if their voices were muffled and they could only express that to me from the eyes on up. (Another interesting thing to note: Masks were made up for the staff that include the club logo, and after members quickly began to ask if they could buy them, they became an item that the Hollywood GC pro shop hasn’t been able to keep in stock.)
Based on the e-mails we keep getting from many other clubs around the country, Hollywood GC isn’t the only property that’s been eager to have us come see first-hand that some really good things are still happening in the club business. If that’s the case with your club, too, please let us know—we’re more than ready to pack our own customized C+RB masks to come have a (half) face-to-face with you, too.
Thank you, Jerry Schreck
You may have noticed something different about the “Chef to Chef” interview feature in our July issue (https://clubandresortbusiness.com/forsyth-ccs-culinary-team-stays-calm-and-collected/). For the first time in C+RB’s 15-year history, it was not written by Jerry Schreck, Executive Chef of Merion Golf Club. From our third issue in June 2005, when Jerry interviewed Scott Rowe, then an Executive Chef at Pinehurst Resort, he wrote close to 100 Chef to Chef articles for us, and it quickly became one of our most popular features. And of course, Jerry was a driving force behind also establishing our Chef to Chef Conference, now a very healthy and energetic teenager as it heads for its 13th year, as a hugely successful, must-attend event.
With events including a Walker Cup and a U.S. Open on the horizon for Merion, Jerry is now going to focus on his club duties and ease into an “emeritus” role for C+RB and the Conference. As with the July-issue interview with Forsyth CC Executive Chef Blair Cannon, CEC, our Chef to Chef features will now be in the capable hands of Tom Birmingham, Director of the Club + Resort Chef Association. But I didn’t want to let the transition occur without saluting Jerry’s invaluable contributions to the C+RB and Chef to Chef brands, and to thank him for providing us with such consistently great content for so many years.
Joe Barks, Editor