After graduating from UNC Chapel Hill, I joined S D Leidesdorf, CPA and spent seven years in audit and tax practice. I left to go to Wall Street as I felt I needed to learn to sell and market.
In 1972 I founded US Shelter which became one of the largest apartment management companies and a major player in the syndication of real estate. I sold that company and went full time in the development, ownership and management of golf clubs.
THE TUCK STORY —
I was an accomplished baseball player but unfortunately I destroyed my right knee. With that career over I went to Finley Golf Course in Chapel Hill and I was hooked. Upon graduating and joining Leidesdorf in June, I attended the company’s July 4 golf outing.
Our boss had always agreed to put anyone, who beat him outright in an 18-hole match, into Greenville (SC) Country Club as a member. Lewis was siting on the hill with the gang and as we came to the green he yelled out, “I shot 73, how do you stand?” I yelled back if this putt goes in I will be in the 60s. He did follow his word but that was the last year the prize was offered.
You wake up in the morning — what’s the driving passion?
To start the process of solving the major question for the day.
Assess the golf course industry now in America — bullish, bearish, somewhere in between?
Neutral to slightly bullish.
What lessons were learned in the industry following The Great Recession in ’09?
There are great opportunities, but you just have to be prepared to take advantage of them.
Outline how your efforts at Wingfield Golf differentiate themselves from your competition.
We are a small company and have four decision makers and we work as a team that’s very hands on.
Plenty of companies within the golf industry talk about the importance of customer service. Define the term and the approach you follow.
How a customer is handled. Make him or her feel at home.
Since you are in the golf facility arena how do you make golf fit into today’s ever challenging world of multi-tasking by people looking to maximize their time in a number of areas and questioning if golf is productive to their ever more challenging time constraints?
We compete with other forms of entertainment so we must make the customer to enjoy the event and he will find plenty of time.
If you could change one thing in golf unilaterally — what would it be and why?
Change the rules for the amateur golfer. It is pure stupid to make them play by the same rules as the professionals.
The major golf organizations — USGA, R&A, PGA of America, PGA Tour, LPGA — are all seeking ways to attract new players to the sport. This is especially so with Millennials, women and minorities. If you were counseling them what would you advise they be doing?
Form a separate organization they all fund for that sole purpose.
Best advice you ever received — what was it and who from?
Work and play hard. Hope for the best. Expect the medium and be prepared for the worse.
The biggest challenges going forward for your efforts for Wingfield Golf and what steps are you now taking on the proactive side in dealing with them?
Hire the best possible people and train them for your programs. We continue to look for people even though we are small.
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