Magazine article PM Network

To a Tee

Magazine article PM Network

To a Tee

Article excerpt

Golf and project management have a lot in common: Both require razor-sharp precision, careful planning and a keen assessment of risk. As the deputy executive director of the U.S. Golf Association (USGA), Mike Butz has learned to leverage those skills in overseeing 13 annual national golf championships, including die U.S. Open.

As with any world-class sporting event, the planning starts early. "It's an 8- to 10-year cycle," he explains.

Yet because the Open moves around every year, those plans - and the team - have to remain flexible.

"Every place we conduct die Open presents new management challenges," Mr. Butz says. "So while a lot of critical big-picture requirements are the same, how we implement them differs at every site."

What are some project management issues you typically face when planning an event?

It includes everything from identifying spectator capacity, and vendor and broadcaster compounds, to developing marketing strategies and creating a parking and transportationmanagement plan for 50,000 to 60,000 people per day. We also work with state and local police and agencies for a security plan and much more. From a project management standpoint, it's a huge jigsaw puzzle and my team's goal is to make sure all of the pieces fit together.

How do you ensure your team stays on track?

Before we put a team on the ground at the course -which usually occurs two to three years out - the managing director of the Open and I lay out much of the groundwork. We establish relationships with the local officials and host club staff to develop a strategy for identifying and addressing possible challenges. That way when our team arrives, work goes much more smoodily. Once they're there, we set milestones that need to be achieved within a clearly defined timeline, and there is constant communication with. the team on the ground.

How important is communication with the community? …

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