What can we Learn from Augusta and The Masters?

Golfers around the world look forward with anticipation to the first week of April each year and The Masters tournament.  For many professional golfers it is the pinnacle of achievement to be invited to play in the tournament, whilst for those interested in golf it is a tournament that is a ‘must watch’.  The tournament is synonymous with springtime, azaleas, the first Major Championship of the year, a green jacket – actually everything green – and yes, a palpable excitement.  Personally I also look forward to the music that has been associated with the television coverage of the tournament for so many years.  This year’s tournament was won for the second time by Bubba Watson and his name will forever now be etched into the history of golf.

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Augusta hole 12

Augusta hole 12

As most people know, The Masters is played every year at Augusta National Golf Course in Georgia, USA.  But there is a story behind The Masters that most people probably do not know…..

The legendary Bobby Jones conceptualised the Augusta National course and the design was the brainchild of golf course architect Dr Alister MacKenzie, who Bobby Jones had contracted to design the course.  Bobby Jones had been impressed with some of Dr Mackenzie’s other creations after his arrival in the USA from Scotland, including the famed Cypress Point golf course on the Monterey Peninsula, neighbouring Pebble Beach in California.

Augusta National was opened 81 years ago, in 1933.  Today it may seem inconceivable, given the club’s towering strength, the elite and select few members and the fame and fortune of the winners of The Masters green jacket, that in those early days the club struggled to survive.  But the fact of the matter is that when Dr Alister MacKenzie died in 1934 he was penniless and pleading for his fee.  Augusta National had experienced financial difficulties in its early years, exacerbated by the Great Depression and the club found it increasingly difficult to attract the type of membership that formed part of their target market and strategy.  Because the club was struggling for money they were unable to pay Dr MacKenzie his full fee and until he died he was writing letters to the club asking if they could perhaps at least pay him a part of his fee.

After the initial years of struggle Augusta National started to create a legacy and through the years The Masters has created a number of traditions.

  • In 1949 the green jacket was awarded to the champion for the first time.
  • In 1952 the Champions dinner was inaugurated by Ben Hogan for the first time.
  • In 1960 the par-3 contest was played for the first time on the Wednesday, the day before the first round.
  • In 1963 the honorary tee shot, normally hit by a legendary golfer or a past champion, commences play on the morning of the first round.

What then can we learn from Augusta and The Masters?

  • Patience is a Virtue

Despite their torrid financial start and the problems that confronted the club, they did all they could to survive.  They believed in their dream and they never deviated from that dream, despite the initial hardships and obstacles that they were no doubt confronted with.  When a new brand or company is launched; or when a person embarks on a new opportunity or career; some initial difficulties may well be encountered.  If the reason for embarking on the journey in the first instance was real and justified, be patient, work through the tough times and the rewards will flow.

  • Stick to Your Guns

They never lost belief in their vision and they never compromised on their brand values nor their strategy, despite no doubt being tempted to do so when they were struggling financially.  If one embarks on a new journey in life, be it in business or in a career, stick to the principles that took you to that decision in the first place.  If things get tough don’t be tempted to dilute your brand or sell yourself short – maintain your brand values – if they were sound in the first instance the likelihood is that success lies just around the corner.

  • Continually Evolve your Brand

Once Augusta National and The Masters was established, the club first consolidated their prized tournament and then over time they developed new and innovative concepts that allowed them to stand out from the crowd.  Once your brand or your new career path is established, don’t rest on your laurels.  Look at ways and means that will allow you to improve your brand or your career path.

From a KeNako Academy and more recently a Rundle College perspective, we believe that we have launched two new brands that have the required ingredients to achieve significant success and make a positive impact and contribution in their respective fields of business.  As is generally the case with any new enterprise, problems will be encountered, but the brand values will not be diluted.  Rather each and every setback will be constructively addressed and each brand will become stronger and healthier because of it.  The initial brand values will be consolidated and built on.  The success achieved will permeate through and into the lives of all of those who benefit from participation in the product offerings and this success will make a positive contribution in the lives of all of those lucky enough to participate in the offerings.  The core values of the brands will not be diluted.  Rather, it is the clear intention of KeNako Academy and Rundle College to remain at the cutting edge of their respective industries and to continue to enhance their brand values in future years.

Ron Boon