As I pen my final “Candidate for Secretary” article, I’d like to paint for you three narrative pictures that sum up who I am and what you can expect from me continuing forward as a Section officer. Each of these “life portraits” cover the past, the present, and the future. For me, much like all of us, the game and the profession is an ever-growing individual list of experiences, continued relationships, and a life-time spent achieving goals.

The Past

Back in May, I revealed in my first article that I spent my earliest years in the South. What the South lacks in geographical and natural beauty, it more than makes up for in personal hospitality and hand-shake agreements between authentic people. My maternal grandfather had an engaging, spirited personality and his authentic approach was a true model for me. To this day, it’s his example and two key golf professionals I try daily to “measure up” to in my approach as a PGA professional. Besides my life with him, I have two key experiences that ignited my desire to become a golf professional:

  • Link Hills CC (Bob Dibble, PGA) Greeneville, Tennessee – Even though I was not a club member, Mr. Dibble allowed me to participate in junior golf activities and tournaments every summer from age 9 to 15. He was an adult who showed me how to treat others, like my grandfather had, and he was my first golf teacher and coach. There were weekly clinics, short-game and long drive competitions, putting horseraces, mixers, setting up foursomes for kids, and even bingo at the club. Looking back, it seems Mr. Dibble was ahead of his time in youth Player Development programming.
  • The Hills of Lakeway (Chuck Cook, PGA) Austin, Texas – As a Nicklaus-designed resort course, this is where I first started in the golf business. Though he’s now known as a renowned instructor, Chuck Cook was a mentor professional willing to invest himself in someone like me (a not-even-close-to-big-enough-to-play-football teen.) He gave freely of his time, including several pointers and swing thoughts. Besides this personal help, he allowed me (just a range attendant) to watch, interact, and learn from his coaching sessions with Tom Kite and Ben Crenshaw. Chuck, Tom and Ben were all authentic, and they treated me with respect, professionalism and generosity. These traits are key to my approach in how I strive to relate to others every day.
Boeing Classic – August 25, 2016

Boeing Classic – August 25, 2016

The Present & Future

Being a Section Secretary is NOT ONLY ABOUT continuing the path, the process and the program in place. It’s a delicate combination of adding one’s strengths to the current officers’ talents by filling in gaps that might be present. Though I have plenty of private club experience, I also have significant experience at daily fee and municipal facilities. In my career, I’ve learned that professional development is very important as it helps golf professionals like us be more effective in our player development and customer/member engagement efforts, and be more valuable to our employers, our peers and our co-workers.

A friend suggested I take the StrengthFinders survey developed by the team at Gallup-Clifton. This survey focuses on “finding out what is right about people, not what is wrong”.  It suggests that we can be most effective when we understand our strengths, and we develop more self-aware behaviors that will put us in opportunities to use them/leverage them for the benefit of others, our teams. Like everyone else I know who has completed this survey, the results nailed who Dan Harrington is. My five most dominant “strength themes” include:

  1. Strategic thinker – I am able to sort through the clutter of any given day and find the best route to success. I enjoy helping others, my peers find the best path, the best outcome possible.
  2. Includer – I naturally include people; I seek to make them feel part of the group, the Chapter/Section so they can benefit from the group AND provide value back to the group.
  3. Achiever – I have personal horsepower that pushes me to constantly “get things done” and achieve results. Even on days off, it’s as if every day starts at zero, and by day’s end I need to achieve something tangible and of value.
  4. Developer Taking my top strength theme a further step, I tend to look for the potential in others and I gain fulfillment from nurturing that potential.
  5. Self-Assurant – In spite of setbacks, failures and oppressions, I have faith in my strengths; I am willing to take risks, able to take on new challenges, able to stake claims…as an achiever, I love to deliver results.

I already have the maturity and confidence to understand and accept that I don’t know all that I need to know. As a result, I engage and surround myself with those that “fill the gaps” of my experience set. My focus, if elected Secretary, would also be to bring about three major improvements over the next six years:

  • ENGAGEMENT: Create easier methods and pathways for our Section members (and apprentices) to engage in general meetings, chapter meetings and committees. There are many significant enhancements available to us that could allow for improved communication via “live look-in” meetings and education seminars utilizing audio/video streaming.
  • EDUCATION (and Professional Development): Creation of the first Section education “Super Committee” to create, produce, and deliver modern PGA education curricula using said a/v, digital and related technology platforms.
  • ENHANCE: Forge an even stronger connectivity between the PGA, the CMAA, Golf Course Owners and the GCSAA to collectively figure out how to sustain our industry at the grassroots level (both Section and Chapter.)

I’m asking for your vote this Fall so that we can collectively Play the Game, Teach the Game, and PRO-mote the Game we all have made a lifetime career of. (I sincerely hope to meet you at your Chapter meeting and/or or Section meeting this October. I also hope you’ll give me an authentic chance to earn your vote.

Dan Harrington, PGA