Monday, August 21, 2006

Is this heaven?

No, it’s Iowa.

I’m sitting at the 18th hole at the Hyperion golf club in Johnston, Iowa.

It’s rather pretty here. Rolling hills, old trees, green greens.

I’m here because my company sponsored a hole at a user group’s golf outing today. Did I mention I’m the one-person marketing department for a smallish business applications consultancy in Chicago?

That’s why I’m sitting here under a big shade tree on a beautiful Monday, watching golfers play golf.

It’s a tough job, this marketing business. Not for the weak.
I’ve done this a few times before. Camping out at a hole.

It probably would be boring for most people but for someone who can never get enough time alone, it is ideal.

If it weren’t for all these damn golfers coming through every ten minutes, I’d do it every day.
I like visiting new places. And I’d never been to Des Moines (French for “of the Moines”) so it was kind of an adventure.

And what happens in Des Moines definitely stays in Des Moines, except nothing ever happens here, so there ya go.
So what’s the contest? Longest ball? Closest to the pin?


I get a two-gallon clear glass jar from Crate & Barrel. I fill it with tees, layering in a couple dozen golf balls with my company’s logo on ‘em. The golfers have to guess how many tees and if they come closest they win something cool like Bose Noise-Canceling Headphones or a gift certificate to Golf Galaxy.

This is the third year I’ve done it. The last two times I gave the winner the jar with the tees, too, but this time I’ve decided to keep it. Nobody will use that many tees in their life and it’s too much of a pain in the ass running around putting this silly thing together every year.
You went to college for this, Heather?


Silly little promotions and chotchkies. It’s – as a friend of mine says – my speci-ali-tee.
Hook, hook!
Get up over that thing!
Stay straight! Stay straight!

Why do golfers talk to their balls?
Confession: The closest guess doesn’t win. These guys (and they’re mostly guys, yes) have no clue how many tees are in that jar.

So I work with my sales reps to determine which person from which company we want to do business with the most, and then voila, we have ourselves a Winner!

I know. It sucks.

But hey, it’s marketing. It’s what I do.

Trust me, if you’ve ever entered a contest like this I guarantee the winner was picked long before the first tee was counted.
I like golf. I can’t play it, but I like it.

I like it because you can be a pale fat white man whose only idea of a workout is doing 12 oz. curls in front of the tv and still be a kick-ass golfer.

John Daly. Great example. The man’s a walking mess of a human being, but he’s one helluva golfer.

Chicks can be good golfers, too. Again with the egalitarianism.
So, how many tees in the jar?

I have no idea.

I dumped in three bags of 500 and then half of another bag and by then the jar was full.

Seriously. If I really cared how many, I would’ve majored in accounting.
So to recap: Heather’s job is a big glob of marketing silliness most of the time, golfers talk to their balls, egalitarianism is good.

And yes, today Iowa is just like heaven.
I am listening to: Buzzing cicadas
I am reading: The World is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman
And I am: Fortunate