Paul Grillo on Saturday, 13 June 2020

A lot of people do not know that Paul Grillo, after he graduated from college—with his business degree (he was originally in the PGA’s Golf Management Program)—was the man who Golf Digest used as their host, for any and all major client events.

Yup… the man who today I heard calling tee ties, on the loud speaker, who was personally manning the cash register in the cart barn, was the most visible, organized, and trusted client contact for the biggest golf magazine in the world. That is Paul Grillo. A leader, by example.

Trust me when I say I have absolutely ‘no skin’ in heaping praise on Paul. He is an iconic leader st the Farm, and needs not me to bolster his image. I write as I do out of sheer awe, affinity, and admiration… for the man.

“I don’t want people knowing my business,” Paul once told me, when I tried to coax him into letting me do a ‘big story’ on him. I was new, still am, am wanted to show my affection for him, because he had been so nice, to me.

How? Well, that’s a long story, but in essence: he welcomed me back to my hometown of Stamford. He endured many comments, complaints, and who knows what else, in giving me this platform to speak. But, in doing so, he exemplified the American Dream. He embodies that spirit, and it is this entrepreneurialism, this willingness to give others a chance, I find… well… what makes our country great. We don’t need a revival: we have greatness in our DNA, and Paul Grillo, to me, and many many others, is a binder… a vital chromosome… that makes America great.

It was a beautiful day today. One of the best, and brightest, we might see. I really wanted to golf, had texted Paul, but the place was packed. I had no idea Paul was working today. He, after all, is the boss. I expected him to be enjoying the good life he has earned.

“Not yet”, he replied.

I had just purchased a Mavic Mini drone, and last year, Paul had reimbursed me for a baby drone, so I could learn how to fly. He was, in effect, funding my self-training.

But, as things do in life, time got away from me, the virus hit us, and my baby drone never got the workout it deserved. Paul, wise a young tyke he is, never uttered a word. I knew the baby drone was a stepping stone, but my wife, Marie, has always believed aerial shots, with a real drone, would be the ideal. Paul must have known that too.

We all got struck by the virus. I had dreamt of buying a longer piece of glass, the Nikon 200-400 f/4 GII, as it is pro glass, and I could stay far away from people. I hinted to Paul my desire to buy this lens, last year. “I’ll give you $500”, he once told me, for a lens. I love this guy. Really, I do.

Anyway, I have been shooting most golfers with the cheapest glass Nikon makes. It has gotten the job done, and while I know the better glass would yield even sexier results…. we are doing just fine. A drone, however, could be really exciting.

Things have been really tough for us all. My own two businesses are basically dead. In fact, I’ve seen the ‘writing on the wall’ for years. But, none of us expected a virus to hit, and Paul, his team, have been slammed.

In fact, if you don’t mind me saying so: ‘Paul, himself, has been crushed.’

Why should you care? Because, if you love Sterling Farms, and want it to remain the envy of all public golf courses anywhere near us, then you’d better heed what I am saying, and come to terms with a simple truth: it takes a steady hand, a real leader, and someone willing to do even the lowest job personally, to maintain the Sterling Farms you enjoy today. I saw the best, and the brightest, of Sterling Farms on this Saturday afternoon, and most of the people there, have no idea that the man on the loudspeaker, Paul Grillo, is also the chief executive officer, and reason why your golf is as affordable, and as pristine, as it is!

I lurked around, after I took some photos today. I had recently brought Paul some Reddi Rooster chicken bird for lunch. “Not necessary,” he wrote, but instead of hiring my feelings, he was thoughtful in how he replied, “but thank you.”

Paul is the kind of man who I wish I’d be in a tech with during war time. He is a private man, and I don’t know much more about him than what I ‘see’, but have met his boy Cooper, who (like his dad, Paul), is a star baseball player aged 19, who had high hopes of excelling in his last season before college. This virus was ruinous for the young man, but when he spoke of it, he looked me straight in the eye, and was upbeat about the future, nonetheless.

A chip off the old block, that young man is, and a mirror image of the example set by his father, a hero, to me.

You don’t need to know, or even care, that Paul is behind the curtain at Sterling farms, making even this text you are reading a possibility, but if you (and I suspect you do), have even a 10th of the heart of the Grillo, I hope you’ll give them their due….

  1. John, I Greatly enjoyed your story, but alas, it only confirmed what I know … and just to say … Paul, you’re the man …

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From the desk of Paul grillo, executive director, Stamford Golf Authority

Welcome to Sterling Farms Golfer. Over the past five decades, Sterling Farms has evolved into one of the premiere golf destinations anywhere in the region. We continually strive to maintain, if not exceed, that distinction, and know we owe it all to our Stamford families, friends and neighbors, as well as our patrons like you. Now is the best time of the year to play our spectacular 18 hole championship golf course. Our Golf Course Superintendent, Mike Golden, and his whole team, are leaders in the world of greenkeeping, and we are very proud of the quality of their hard work. I think you'll find our putting greens, fairways, tees, roughs—and every landscape feature here—reflects their devotion and hard work. It is spectacular. Sterling Farms is home to the area's top driving range facility. You won't find a better value, or level of quality, anywhere! We take great pride and joy serving you, and our local community. On behalf of all of us here at Sterling Farms, welcome and thank you!
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