A lifelong fan of the game, Premier Golf Services president George Jones understands how golf can bring people together for great causes, and that is what excites him most about working for Premier. Today, get to know a little more about George and his passion for what he does.
Tell us about your background in golf. How did you get interested in golf in the first place?
Well, I’ve been around the game since I was about nine years old, when my aunt started taking me out to play with her. I caught the bug and started playing whenever I got the chance. My first job, as a middle-schooler, was re-gripping clubs for a small golf shop in my hometown of Lake Charles, Louisiana. I got $1 for every club I re-gripped, and I actually made some decent money as I got faster and faster at doing it.
I started playing competitively not long after, and kept playing with my high school team and traveling to individual tournaments in the summers. I always just loved to play the game, but I never seriously thought about making a career out of golf. Then, on a whim, I applied to Mississippi State’s Professional Golf Management program (at that time one of only four programs of its kind in the nation). I got in, loved the school, and started learning more about the business of golf.
After graduation I got married, moved to Nashville, and started working at Vanderbilt Legends Club. After a few years there, I joined the staff at Belle Meade Country Club before moving on to Premier.
How did you find out about Premier, and what interested you about getting involved? What makes Premier unique?
I first heard about Premier when I was working at Legends. I met Joe Hall, who founded Premier, and became interested in what he was doing for tournaments in the Nashville area. I saw that he was providing a great service to these events, and I had some ideas about how Premier could continue to grow and improve. I took over the business in 2007, and we’ve been going strong ever since.
I am very aware that “services” is part of Premier’s name. This company was founded on service, and we strive to do an excellent job for our clients.
We work with 200 + tournaments each year, and our goal is always to tailor our services to the clients’ specific needs. It’s a fun job with a lot of variety—one day we’ll be working with clients who are fundraising for amazing charities and the next we’ll be hosting a fun corporate outing. No two events are exactly alike, and we get to work with lots of different courses and their staffs.
Why do you think golf events are great for fundraising efforts?
One thing I love about Premier is that we get to be a part of so many great fundraising efforts. Over the years, our clients have brought in millions of dollars for charitable causes, and it’s exciting to see that happen.
Golf events as fundraisers are unique because you usually don’t have to twist someone’s arm to get him or her out on the course for a day. People who love golf want to play any chance they can get, and those people who are only somewhat interested in golf still think it’s fun to have a day out on the course. This is a real draw for golf events—how often do we get four to five hours of uninterrupted time with our friends, clients, or coworkers? Not often. So the appeal of undivided time is a valuable asset for these events.
Donors and sponsors also benefit from this because they have the opportunity to get their names and brand in front of a lot of people during the course of play, and they get are able to get attention and recognition. Honestly, while the branding is great, most sponsors are just happy to support a great cause.
What do you think it is about golf—often considered one of the most frustrating sports out there—that keeps people playing?
I think it’s different for everyone, but the game definitely provides relaxation, competition (both with yourself and with others), fellowship with others, and just a chance to get away from everything for several hours. For me, I love golf because it gives me extended time away with friends and it’s also a fun outlet for competition. I loved competing as a child, and though I don’t get to play competitively much anymore, I like to see how I respond under pressure.
I think a lot of us also love to play golf because it gives us some good “war stories.” One of my favorite golf stories is about playing in a charity event against Chi-Chi Rodriguez when I was younger. There were several hundred people following us as we played, and my friends dared me to mimic his sword fight routine if I made a long putt. Sure enough, I rolled in about a thirty-footer for birdie and wasted no time challenging him to a sword fight. The whole gallery died in laughter. He loved it, and preceded to give me “tips” on how to do it correctly. He was a great sport, and it gave me a great memory.
What are some of the highlights for you in being involved with Premier?
Working with great clients and partners, having a staff that will bend over backward to take care of a client, and seeing events grow from ideas into outings that generate hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity. That never gets old.
To get in touch with George or learn more about Premier’s custom event services, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.