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Golfing With an Attitude How I relate car repair to golf


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Golfing with an Attitude


Ok, I confess… I'm a golfer… I play almostevery weekend with the same bunch of guys. Why I go out each and every weekend and put myself thru the heat, rain, blusterywindy days and cold weather to hit some little white ball through 7000 yards ofmanicured landscape is beyond me. But,there's no doubt I'll work on improving my handicap, until I can't pick up aclub anymore.


Once in awhile we'll be a guy short forsome reason or another, not a problem, we'll find another weekend whackerstanding around the club house looking for a game. After the first hole or so, you'll get anidea of what kind of golfer you've been teamed up with. More than likely he's just another weekendhacker knocking the ball around like the rest of us duffers.


Sooner or later they'll ask, "What do you do for aliving?"


I think it's pretty hilarious when I tell them I'man automotive repair shop owner/mechanic/author/columnist. I guess to some people having all these separatetitles is kind of impressive; I think it's pretty cool myself, but let's notforget… I'm really only a mechanic, who just so happens to write a column. First and foremost, I'm a mechanic.


Eventually they've got to ask about a car; they'vegot some sort of problem and want to know what I think is causing it. Now, I don't mind answering their question ifthe question can be answered without any further discussion. Example: the checkengine light is on. Ok, bring it into the shop and I'll scan it… here's mycard. But, that's hardly the case; it'susually some strange bogus problem I'll take a swing at with my bestguess. Time after time, I'll get the "Ialready tried that" or "Really, you think that's what it could be?" Yes, that's what I was thinking, and yes,that's what I thought it could be. (Why do they come back with that question…of course that's what I thought it could be… do they "think" I thought it wassomething else? I would have said, "Ithink it's something else…")


Then theyhave to drag their "ringer" into the game… the old "my regular mechanic said…"Ok,… time to move onto the next hole. I hear it's a par 5… a tough one. Enough car talk for the day.


I'm playing golf right at the moment; let's leavethe shop at the shop. I'm not scanningan EVAP system for a P0455 code. I'm trying to focus on the wind direction andthe elevation to make this 150 yard shot with my 8 iron. I'm not trying to tellif the gas cap is tight. I mean, I could talk car repair and play golf at thesame time, but honestly… I don't keep a wrench and a scanner in my golf bag,nor do I keep a 2 iron in my tool box. Iget into enough hazards on the golf course, so let's make this putt and move onto the next T box. Drop the car stufffor just a little while. As matter offact why not hold your thought until a more appropriate time… like over a beerat the club house, while we're adding up the Nassau's for the day.


When I'm asked automotive technical questions Idon't know how in-depth my answer should be. Most people outside of theautomotive industry don't seem to be interested in discussing the differencebetween direct fuel injection and multi-port injection. I could… really I could, but then I guessit's only boring if you bore people with it. I think it's fascinating what the human mind can come up with, and howwe as technicians take these ideas and put them into practice.


Car repaircan be on many levels, and it's what level you're on that makes adifference. It's like a handicap ingolf. If you know what the other guy'shandicap is you can still play the game. It doesn't matter if they're not as good, we both play the same gamejust on different levels… it's the same when talking about car repair.


Maybe that's why I like golf. It's a simple game… swing, hit a ball, and moveit from one spot on earth to another. Like car repair, you bring the car into the shop;you observe the problem, get the proper tools and "swing" away. Now,how much simpler can it get? Hmmm, youknow, neither is actually that simple. They both take years of practice to get good. Some people think golf is easy, 'til they tryit. It's not that easy… to me, car repair, good diagnostics skills, and goodcommunication skills with the customer are pretty much on an even par with agood golf swing. You're not going to learn it over night.


After playing all these years I still getfrustrated at the game. I have those days I just can't seem to find my swing.It reminds me of how I get at the shop on some occasion. When I'm working on a job, and no matter whatI seem to try, I just can't put my finger on the cause of the problem. I work at it and work at it. Sometimes I have to take a few practiceswings, maybe step away for a second, whatever works to get my head back in thegame. Not so much different than my golfgame actually. On some occasions myswing is off, so I need to take a break from it or try something new.Eventually I'll find the problem, sometimes after I make the turn it comes tome. Pretty much like at the shop… walk away for a bit, and when I come backI'll have the solution.


To keep my sanity on the golf course I try toavoid any conversations that lead into how to fix a problem with their personalcars. I always try to avoid getting my head in a hazard, while I'm in standingin the middle of the fairway.


So, to say I play golf with an attitude, yea, Iguess I do… to say I take my job and my career as an automotive tech seriousenough to have an attitude about it… yea, you're right again. In the meantime let me get back to my golfgame, the cars can wait … I've gotta sink this putt for eagle.






I hope everyone enjoys my weekly column here at ASO, I try to keep the subjects light and with some flair. Not all my articles go to print, but enough of them do. If you see one of my articles out there... let me know which magazine it's in. Always like to keep up with it. Gonzo

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Thanks Joe, I'm grateful... to you and ASO. I think the thing I was trying to get across with this article is the fact that there ought to be a handicap for talking to people about car repair. You've got the race guys who have one attitude and level of expertise while the average soccer mom has another. Too bad, we couldn't ask, "What's your handicap... like we do on the golf course, at least that way we would know how technical an answer to give. What I see is EVERYONE is an expert, and the truth is... nobody is an expert, we get by with the ever changing industry standards and learn everyday.


Thanks for the post ... always love to hear from ya Joe... We need more people like you spreading the word.




You know, it seems everywhere we go, no matter if it's a wedding or a funeral, someone has a car problem and once they find out we are mechanics they seem to feel compelled to tell us. But, they actually don't want to hear your explanation of what to do...they want you to pull the proverbial rabbit out the hat.

Maybe we should carry a crystal ball around with us; one that could fit into our pocket. And the next time someone on the golf course asks an automotive question, we reach into our pocket, pull out the crystal ball and say, "Just give me a minute, let me gaze into the crystal ball". I bet after that, they will stop asking!


Always fun Gonzo, keep them coming! You are the best....

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

      A recent study, done by Harvard Business School, concluded that the real problem with attracting and retaining employees has more to do with the workplace environment, not pay or benefits. While the study did find that an adequate pay plan and offering an attractive benefits package did help with recruiting and retention, it’s not enough to satisfy the needs of employees, especially those of front-line workers.
      The study also stated that in 2021, many companies were convinced that giving raises, sign-on bonuses, and other perks would solve the worker shortage problem and prevent people from quitting. However, this strategy did not work. So, what does work regarding attracting quality people and keeping them employed?
      Essentially, it all comes down to the culture of your company.  Management: do all it can to consider the individual needs of your employees. Your employees want to feel that they have a voice, that their opinion counts, and that their role in your company is both respected and recognized. Yes, pay and a great benefits package will go a long way toward making your employees feel secure, but that’s only financial security. People want more than money.
      To attract and keep top talent requires creating a company that people feel proud to work for. You need to reach the hearts and minds of your employees. Become a leader that people are enthusiastic about working for. You want your employees bragging to their friends and family that your shop is a great place to work!
      Step one to attracting and retaining quality employees: Create an amazing workplace environment for your employees!  Trust me, happy employees make happy shop owners too!
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