On the last day of December last year, I visited a restaurant for my last lunch appointment. Two days before her appointment with him, she ate oysters delivered and contracted norovirus. But she didn’t want to break her promise, so she went to her favorite restaurant, a pasta restaurant. However, all of the menus we had already ordered had seafood in them, so we ate with a smile while avoiding the seafood. Then she had a cup of coffee to go to the office where his company was nearby. After the closing ceremony had already ended, the two of us drank a cup of coffee together in a calm and leisurely atmosphere without being crowded.
“2023 will be 30 years since I became the CEO of this company, and looking back, I am so ashamed.” I
was surprised. He is the only person who has spent 30 years as CEO of a global golf company. Foreign companies have seen cold-heartedly changing CEOs when performance is not forthcoming. Nevertheless, isn’t it really close to a legend to have steadily increased sales and scale for 30 years?
When I shouted, “Does this make sense to be ashamed of?”, he said that the company may have developed for the goal, but it was not balanced for the sake of the golf culture. This is also a place that has been generous with more charity and charitable spirit than other companies and support for players. Nevertheless, he says that his thirst for the development of golf culture is stronger than his pride in his 30 years, and that he wants to work harder for the golf culture in the future. Like a reflection in a mirror, I suddenly felt ashamed of myself. This is because I have been secretly arrogant about how many people are more professional in golf than I am because I have been working as a professional journalist for more than 35 years in the golf world. 안전놀이터
In an instant, I remembered “I met you among so many people in such a wide world” from novelist Choi In-ho’s relationship. In fact, he and I had been in the industry for over 30 years, one as a representative for 30 years and the other as a professional journalist, so he had a lot of empathy. Anyone can see that he is a successful life and a person who has had a great influence on Korean golf culture. That’s why I was grateful that I knew such a person when he confessed, “I’m still ashamed of golf and I’m thinking about what I need to contribute more to.” No, it is that he has been able to think about what new changes and contributions for the golf world will be from the beginning of the year.
He is a golf elite who started playing golf in his second year of middle school and served as a national team member. When he was in his third year of high school, his father’s business failed, so he moved to the United States and joined a Korean-run ‘Washington Golf’ store in New York. I didn’t confirm with him, but I know that joining ‘Washington Golf’ wasn’t that smooth. If you are taller and bigger than a customer who comes in to buy golf equipment, you will feel intimidated and affect sales. However, he knows that he was able to join the company in 1986 after being recognized for his sincerity when he went to Washington Golf to clean, clean, and run errands. He was promoted to salesman a year later, and after being scouted by the head office in 3 years, he was appointed as the general manager of Washington Golf Callaway Korea in 1993. Although he spoke English well, he was different enough to continue taking business English tutoring even after coming to Korea.
He is the current CEO of Callaway Korea, Lee Sang-hyun. Callaway’s first sales in 1993 were 2.4 billion won, and now it has grown into a company that exceeds 200 billion won. He made a great contribution to promoting golf to the general public by discovering excellent players in Korea, providing supplies, and sponsoring the Seowon Valley Green Concert for 20 years. In addition, it is one of the companies that have taken the lead in various competitions, charity events, and fundraising.
In fact, the anecdote that CEO Lee Sang-hyun loved golf so much when his father passed away that he put a golf putter in the coffin is famous. He used to think of players who play golf harder than players who are good at golf, and came to support them with supplies. That’s why our point of view of him is that he is a perfect and successful person, and I’ve thought of him, but I bow my head at the sincere words that he is still lacking and ashamed.
The words of Ichijo Kobayashi of Japan overlap with what he said. “If he is given the job of organizing shoes, he has to be the best person in the world to do it. Then the world will not leave you as an errand boy who only cleans shoes.”
That’s right. Already he is the best man and maestro in golf. That’s why he doesn’t seem to be left alone as a craftsman. Think about it. He says that even after 30 years of walking on the same road, he is still lacking and unsatisfied.