In 2000 I came up with a crazy idea to try to play the top 100 golf courses in the world before I died.  I told Jan that she could go with me and we could spend the next 30 years on this journey. Now, she is not a golfer, but she loves to travel.  So a plan was put into place. This was 21 years ago.  I have played 63 of these amazing golf courses and it just recently struck me that the techniques I used to accomplish this is just like being a great major gift officer.

  1. I had to have a plan….research was required. These 100 courses are spread all over the world. Where would I begin? How do you narrow a big group down to an “A” list that you make your priorities? I decided to tackle Europe first.
  2. Over 70% of these courses are private so I had to research and figure out how to get on the courses. I learned that my networking skills were critical. Finding a connection to a member of a course took a great deal of time, and then I had to pick up the phone and call to see if they would invite me to be their guest….especially at courses like Merion and Pine Valley!
  3. It because imperative to learn the etiquette and history of each course before I arrived. In Japan you need to be prepared to stop after 3 holes, take your shoes off, and enjoy a cookie and sake. PS: This really screws up your rhythm. 
  4. You have to be a good conversationalist.  I very rarely played any of these courses with a person I knew. Sometimes even with people who did not speak English.  I now have friends all over the world who brought me into their world for a round of golf. Each have received a handwritten note from me.
  5. I knew I had to be a decent golfer. I fluctuated between a 9 and 12 handicap.  Many of the golfers I played with better than me, but I never was embarrassed by my game. Having confidence in my skills allowed me to enjoy every hole of every round.
  6. Celebration became a must after every round, a drink with a new friend, a golf shot remembered, another a step accomplished on the journey and the memories I have forever of a  few exceptional holes…birdies on 13 at Augusta and 18 at Pebble Beach!

So think about this my fundraising friends:

Research, networking, etiquette, conversations, skills and celebrations.

Keep driving it forward!!…..

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