For the last seven years of my life, I have been engrossed in a game which is misunderstood and underappreciated by many. The game of golf, as stated by golf legend Arnold Palmer, “is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated; it satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time rewarding and maddening – and it is without a doubt the greatest game mankind has ever invented.”
Because golf is such a large part of my life, I have a tendency of referencing the game in all aspects of my life, whether others like it or not. As I learn more about the world of Public Relations, I cannot help but think about how the industry is similar to the game that I have grown to love.
As Arnold Palmer suggested, golf is simple and complicated at the same time, much like the basics of the PR world. In golf, all you have to do is put the ball in the cup, seems simple enough right? Well if you have played the game for yourself, then you know for a fact that it definitely is not that easy. As for PR, all professionals need to do is keep the public happy. Again, the task seems painfully simple; however, people in this industry have the difficult task of pleasing all markets, while keeping their organizations best interest in mind.
There are obstacles on the golf course that challenge the abilities and knowledge of the player, such as sand traps, water hazards and trees. While golfers can usually see the obstacles ahead, organizations are sometimes not as privileged. I would classify these unexpected obstacles as crises in the PR world. Professionals in this industry have to rely on what they have been taught to create a plan to clean up a crisis or avoid it completely.
Both the game of golf and Public Relations take practice to become successful. A person will never play golf the same way they have before; it is impossible. The world of PR makes it impossible to handle the public in the same way as well. Each new experience in both areas gives a person knowledge that they can leverage for future challenges to be faced.
Golf is “rewarding and maddening,” and I can certainly attest to that. The PR industry will be just the same, I think. There is no greater feeling than making par on a golf course. I also believe there will be no feeling quite as good as making the public happy because of the work that I will do in my Public Relations career. In both avenues, the chase of the perfect shot or perfect campaign will be motivating enough to get me through the bad shots and crisis situations I will endure in my golf and PR worlds.
by Julie Hogan, Junior Account Executive, KCCC