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Delivering Excellence by Mastering the Patron Experience

By Zane Keith

As a relatively mundane winter has come to an end, spring is upon us. And with the arrival of spring comes one of the world’s greatest sporting events: The Masters Tournament. Held upon the hallowed grounds of Augusta National Golf Club, The Masters boasts one of the most coveted prizes in professional competition—the famed Green Jacket and permanent standing alongside golf’s greatest heroes.

To provide context, I have a certain addiction to the game of golf, so while my description may come across as glorified, it would be fair to say that The Masters and its venue are universally held in a very high regard. For avid golf fans, or sports fans in general, a trip to Augusta National in April is definitely on the bucket list. Last year I was fortunate enough to check the box. Together with my two future brothers-in-law, father-in-law, and my dad, we set out on a trip that will never be forgotten.

The Masters lived up to every bit of the hype and my eventual takeaway was more profound and applicable to everyday life than I could have expected going into the week. Augusta National has, for lack of a better term, mastered the patron experience. Though many factors contribute to this, three qualities stand out to me as practices to deploy on a daily basis to greater the probability of success in business and our personal lives.

The entire staff was kind.

This seems like a no-brainer in almost all circumstances, but what’s so remarkable about the Augusta National team is how genuinely nice everyone is. I was on the property for four days and interacted with seemingly hundreds of tournament staff members and cannot recall a single poor exchange with anyone. Our entire group would say the same thing—their roster was friendly from top to bottom. I wish everyone, including myself, was this nice all the time.

The Augusta National property is clean and organized.

There’s a little game that many people who have been to the tournament or property before joke about. The challenge is to “try to find a weed once you walk through the gates.”  You can’t, it’s true! Beyond weeds, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a piece of trash, cigarette butt, or any other form of garbage lying around. The grounds are immaculate and beautiful at all times. Again, it seems so simple, but remains an everyday struggle for many people and businesses. Cleanliness points directly to a team’s attention to detail and perpetuates respectfulness.

No electronic devices are allowed.

This rule includes cell phones, cameras, iPods, iPads, iAnything! Though I never confirmed actual implications of being caught with an electronic device, rumor has it that your ticket gets pulled—more than enough motivation for me to leave my phone at home. This ended up being my favorite part of the whole week. It had been years since going phoneless for more than four or five hours at a time. Do you remember what it’s like to actually lose your friends and not know how to find them? From 7:00am to 8:00pm we were off the grid and it was glorious. Our group was in a perpetual state of laughter all day—pure focus on the moment at hand! Phones are undoubtedly essential to daily operations in most of our lives, but what’s sacrificed to have them accessible all the time is often overlooked.

Ultimately, the 2017 Masters was a week full of fun. I can look back and think of lots of things that added to the enjoyment and aura of Augusta National, but it was the three qualities above that took my experience from good to great—all of which are characteristics everyone has full control of within themselves. Be kind, organized, and above all, focus on the moment. Easy to say and much harder to do, but undoubtedly these are qualities we could focus on a little more at home and in the office. Get out there and Enjoy the Journey!

Zane Keith is a project manager for Hughes Marino, an award-winning commercial real estate company specializing in project management, tenant representation and building purchases, with offices in San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Seattle. Contact Zane at 1-844-NO-CONFLICT or zane@hughesmarino.com to learn more.



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