It’s not about the weather
Craig Weyandt, Florida GCSA president and golf course superintendent at the Moorings Golf Club in Vero Beach, Fla., tries really hard not to talk about the weather in his presidents columns for the Florida Green and Green Sheet publications. “The problem with presidents columns that rely heavily on weather issues is that by the time the reader has the publication, the weather is old news,” Weyandt explains.
Publications deadlines can be two months prior to the issue date. Weyandt decided to try something a little different with his columns. Weyandt writes about topics affecting him – both personally and professionally.
Weyandt also looks for topics that he feels will relate to most of his members. He wrote an article entitled, “Marathon Man”, about his experiences with a health scare, about getting a little older and about trying to do the “right” thing. The article is effective in capturing the reader’s attention from beginning to end. Why?
The interesting twist is when Weyandt takes the reader from passively listening to his high blood pressure diagnosis and subsequent marathon attempts, to an appeal to do the “right” thing on the golf course.
“The topic that came to mind was that it’s not always easy to do the right thing. This might be the right thing for your health or the right thing on the golf course, but when you put in the hard work it is really rewarding,” Weyandt says.
The face of your association
“A president’s message can accomplish several things. It can focus on a current issue or challenge, it can inform, and – in its highest form – it can help drive participation or action,” Joel Jackson, CGCS, FGCSA Director of Communications says. Jackson and Weyandt work as a team to take the topics buzzing around in their heads, and craft meaningful messages with them. Both men know that for all too many members, the newsletter is just about the only contact they have with their local chapters.
“Figuring out how to talk with your colleagues and peers isn’t easy, but it is so worthwhile,” Weyandt said. He’s surprised how many members approach him regarding his president’s columns. It might be to agree with something he’s written, or to disagree with his viewpoint. Regardless, it helps members to make connection with the chapter president.
Need some advice?
You may not have taken a course on “How to Write a President’s Column”, in college. Never fear! Joel Jackson, CGCS, offers these tips to help the writing challenged:
- Keep it simple. If you’re not Einstein, don’t try and sound like him. Let your own voice come through.
- Check out this book, If You Can Talk, You Can Write, by Joel Saltzman. This is a great book that helps demystify the writing process.
- If you don’t know where to start, here are some “tried and true” topics:
- Seasonal items – let the readers know how you are gearing up for spring, summer, fall, etc. Remember – it’s not about the weather!
- People love the “inside scoop”. Use your column to relate any interesting news you’ve heard lately. Is anyone renovating his or her course? Has a member had success with a new tool, product or procedure?
- “Mine the grapevine” for topics. Was there a topic on everyone’s mind at the last meeting? Has your phone been ringing off the hook regarding a specific question?
- Don’t be afraid to bounce ideas off your board, your spouse and your coworkers. Sometimes just taking the time to talk about what’s on your mind helps you clarify your topic.
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