Friday, September 01, 2006

Meet Jim Hanley

Jim is a member of the volunteer staff at Metropolitan Golf Links. You see him at the starter’s podium on Mondays. He’s been on the job since December 2003.

Q. Describe your job as a starter at Metro.

The starter calls groups of golfers to the first tee shortly before their assigned starting time, confirms that they have paid green fees, explains basic course rules and policies, briefly summarizes current course conditions, answers questions golfers may have and starts them on their round at the assigned tee time. The role is part traffic control, part information source and occasionally, part mediator. The starter is the first link in maintaining a 4 1/2 hour pace of play and is helpful in alerting on-course diplomats and pro-shop staff to any problems which develop on course.

Q. What's your general philosophy on keeping the 1st tee running smoothly?

Golfers want to have fun playing, play well and not waste time. A starter should be friendly, energetic, ready to share the information golfers need to get started on time and enjoy their round at Metro. A starter should be positive and respectful to everyone.

Q. You spent your career in nuclear physics, right? Any similiarity between nuclear physics and 1st tee management?

I'm an engineer and a lawyer. I worked for the Atomic Energy Commission and Department of Energy for 32 years before retiring in Dec. 1999. My responsibilities included monitoring of work at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and other Government research facilities for compliance with Government contract requirements. There are few similarities between nuclear physics and first tee management, but there is one; the theory of "chaos". The chaos theory is often used to explain certain types of nuclear interactions. It could also clearly be used to explain first tee interactions on a busy saturday morning; true chaos at times.

Q. You look an awful lot like Gary McCord. You know that, right?

The first day I worked at Metro someone walked up to the first tee grinning and shouted "Gary McCord". It happens often. I don't follow McCord and barely recognized the name at first. I wish I could play like Gary McCord, make money like Gary McCord and have a sense of humor like McCord.

Q. Any closing thoughts?

I've always enjoyed a variety of sports, but I didn't take up golf until after I retired. Working at Metro has been a wonderful way to become interested in and excited about a new sport. I find golf a great new way to exercise. The lessons I've taken at Metro (from Greg Thrall) have worked wonders. The on-going encouragement from the Metro pro golfers and staff and the new circle of golf buddies I've found have all been a delightful surprise. Thanks Metro.

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