How do you make the decision to switch gears after being entrenched in one job for so long?
Wlodkowski: Look at the conversations we're having right now with entitlement programs and Social Security. If you're 45 years old right now, you're not looking at retirement at 65. You're looking at maybe 67 and you don't know what your benefits are going to be.
They say there's never an easy time to have a child and you just have to take the plunge. Well, whenever you decide you're passionate about something, whether it's at 32 or 45, somebody who's looking to enjoy the second act of their career should work on it even if they're working a job now. There's no reason that you can't be starting to do some things on the side or starting to plot out a course and starting to visualize what your perfect world is so, when the time comes, you're not just wondering how you get into it. It won't happen overnight.
You worked with the PGA Tour for about a year. Why didn't you make the jump then?
Wlodkowski: I was looking for a job and wasn't looking to be in the golf business whatsoever, and there just so happened to be a position that combined a golfer and a person with a business marketing background to do marketing for one of the TPC courses. I did it for the wrong reasons. I thought that this was my dream chance to go into the golf business, but what I didn't realize was that it was a job just like anything else.
When you look at people who work for the PGA Tour or people who work for the USGA, a lot of people pride themselves on the fact that they don't play golf and are just in the golf business. If you don't realize that upfront, you're going to wind up disappointed. I was looking at having less opportunity to play golf working for the PGA Tour because the guilt starts kicking in -- nobody else on your staff is playing, and the PGA pro at the club isn't playing.
I was still very competitive in my amateur golf career and playing in tournaments, and those tournaments required Mondays off from work. It was a lot easier to tell my boss at a lighting company or a computer company that I needed a Monday off to play at an amateur tournament than to tell my golf boss that.
Do you consider that a missed opportunity given your current line of work?
Wlodkowski: If my goal was to be a senior staff member with the PGA Tour someday, I was in the right place at the right time. In my case, and I was only into it for less than a year, I decided that it wasn't for me. It defined me later in life because I decided one of the reasons I wanted to work for myself was that I didn't want anybody to tell me when to play golf and when not to play golf.