Byron Nelson: Leadership Inspired by the Game of Golf (Exclusive Series)

Andy Reistetter@GolfWriter59Analyst IMay 19, 2010

This the sixth article in a year-long exclusive series. The author Andy Reistetter shares his insight on how PGA TOUR players, competition, and the game of golf can be utilized inside corporations to dynamically develop corporate leadership and culture. Reistetter has written two books one on inspirational leadership called "The Approach" and the other on inspiration living called "Love, The Rest of My Life (TROML) & The Pursuit of Eternity." Both books are available by emailing AndyReistetter@gmail.com.   


As stated in the very first article in this series , "CORPORATE LEADERSHIP Inspired by The Game of Golf" has three tenets—look to the game of golf and the PGA TOUR competitions for inspiring leadership, develop your own unique corporate culture, and implement dynamic systems to ensure talent is developed and in the right place at the right time to lead throughout your organization.


One always wants to look to the future with an inspiring perspective.


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Looking back and extracting inspiration whether from the game of golf, the legacy of an organization or one's personal life is certainly as important.


"Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it."


Sir Winston Churchill, the inspirational leader of the United Kingdom during World War II chose those words to say one must extract inspiration from our past to better prepare us for the future.


This week marks the fourth playing of the HP Byron Nelson Championship since the legendary golfer passed on in September 2006.


Some would say Byron Nelson was simply a good golfer and an exemplary Texas gentleman but not necessarily a leader.


They would be wrong.


What would be the evidence?


The countless number of individuals that continue to uphold the virtues of Byron Nelson, follow his example, and are motivated by his inspiration.


After all, like a speech-giver whose speech in true essence has little to do with her or him, the same can be said of a leader.


The definition of a leader is simply one to whom people naturally follow.


It is as much about us as it is about them.


Byron Nelson was indeed a natural leader.


Still is in this, the 33rd rendition of the HP Byron Nelson Championship, which has roots back to the times of Winston Churchill and the very first 1944 Texas Victory Open in Dallas, the legacy of Byron Nelson lives on.


Just ask Corey Pavin, the 2010 United States Ryder Cup captain who is trying to complete the Texas Slam, as he competes in Byron's tournament for the 23rd time hoping for a win.


"Byron is fresh in my memory. To me, he is the epitome of golf, what it stands for."


With one win in Houston and San Antonio and two at nearby Colonial, maybe Byron's inspiration will catapult Corey to his 16th win on tour, come Sunday afternoon on the 18th green of the TPC Four Seasons course.


Not only is he surveying the talent for the upcoming October Ryder Cup matches in Wales, he is testing his mettle too.


"I want to test and see how I do under those circumstances. And when I do overcome the nerves and perform well, it doesn't necessarily mean I won the match, or I did what I needed to do to win, but if I performed well, that's the ultimate test for me as a professional athlete."


A true natural leader can say unequivocally that winning isn't everything.


Having everyone perform to their best ability within a team framework in a dynamic organization ensures success in terms of the bottom line and at the top of the Ryder Cup leader board.

A current leader inspired by a historic natural leader.


A current leader challenging himself in the very same competitive situation that he will lead others through in the most extreme patriotic competition in less than five months.


When was the last time you saw that in your office or on the shop floor of the manufacturing plant?


When was the last time your leader asked forand welcomedsome honest feedback of her or his performance?


Isn't from deep within the best way to improve one's self?


Undoubtedly, it is the same for developing leadership.


Upward coaching is essential for an organization to maximize its leadership potential and consequently its creativity whether product- or service-based.


Inversion, where a leader is reassigned on a temporary basis to a position where she or he can see the impact of policies and procedures previously implemented.


A sure-fire way to transfer strategic initiatives, technology, and creativity from the bottom of an organization to the top and vice versa.


That's an inverted organizational chart by the wayleaders at the bottom supporting those above that they lead.


Byron Nelson supposedly walked away from game at age 34 to become a rancher.


He retired after winning 11 consecutive and 18 total tournaments in 1945, records that will likely stand the test of time.


Tiger's best is seven in a row and nine in one season.


The Hall of Famer first came back to the game of golf as a broadcast commentator and then as a tournament host.


He partnered with and further inspired the Salesmanship Club, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of children and their families in the greater Dallas area since 1920.


The sign on the 17th tee says it all: "The HP Byron Nelson Championship was the first PGA TOUR event to raise $100 million dollars for charity."


Remember the old guy who inspired us by almost winning the Open at Turnberry last summer?


He happens to be the recipient of the 2010 Byron Nelson Prize, an award given to a person or organization in the golf world who exemplifies the ideals of “giving back” that Byron Nelson personified.


"I got in the right profession," Watson guessed on Tuesday at the presentation ceremony," because I had a chance to meet up with one of the greats, who was greater off the golf course than he was on."

Is it all right to say "inspiration inspires inspiration?"


The sign on the 18th tee has it right too: "Byron Nelson: A Champion…A Gentleman…Our Inspiration."


Imagine what our world would be like if "CORPORATE LEADERSHIP Inspired by the Game of Golf" truly happens in every office and every plant.




The first five articles in the series can be found at the following links:

The first article (published 1/4/10) introduces and explains the three tenets of "CORPORATE LEADERSHIP Inspired by the Game of Golf."

Article One

The second article (published 2/22/10) highlights the accomplishments of Tiger Woods on the golf course and how financial results are the heart beat of any organization whether for profit or for charity.

Article Two

The third article (published 3/7/10) highlights the attitudes of PGA TOUR players Graeme McDowell, Ernie Els, and Camilo Villegas and defines the objective of "CORPORATE LEADERSHIP Inspired by the Game of Golf" as sort of a "First Tee for Adults at Work."

Article Three

The fourth article (published 3/15/10) showcases Ernie Els and his WGC win at the TPC Blue Monster at Doral while comparing key elements of a successful player and a leader in a dynamic corporate setting.

Article Four

The fifth article (published 4/19/10) showcases Jim Furyk after his second win of the year at the Heritage while challenging the reader to "see beyond what seems to be" when it comes to leadership traits.

Article Five



For clarification purposes this series of informative articles is NOT officially licensed with or being promoted by the PGA TOUR. "CORPORATE LEADERSHIP Inspired by the Game of Golf" is just that—an inspired type of leadership and corporate culture based on the game of golf and exemplified by golfers competing in PGA TOUR events.


Andy Reistetter is a freelance golf writer. He follows the PGA TOUR volunteering and working part time for NBC Sports, CBS Sports, and The Golf Channel.


He resides in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, near the PGA TOUR headquarters and home of The PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach.


He enjoys pursuing his passion for the game of golf and everything associated with it.


He can be reached through his website www.MrHickoryGolf.net or by e-mailing him to AndyReistetter@gmail.com

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