Cup of Joe

Q&A: Peter Hill

Cup Of Joe — Cover

Buffalo's Joe Steranka interviews Hill, the former chairman and CEO of Billy Casper Golf, which is now Indigo Golf Partners

For more than 30 years, Peter Hill co-founded and managed Indigo Golf Partners (formerly Billy Casper Golf)  into one of the game’s most successful owner/operators of golf courses in the country. As a result, Hill, as CEO and chairman of the company, became a regular name on Golf Inc.’s magazine’s “Most Powerful People in Golf" list. Hill served as a board member of several leading organizations within golf. He is an avid cyclist who frequents European locales, graduated from Georgetown University and holds an MBA from Columbia University.

Hill shares his thoughts on a number of business and life topics with Joe Steranka, the former PGA of America CEO who currently serves as an adviser for the Buffalo Groupe. 

In his free time, Hill enjoys hitting the open road on his bike.

Most impactful book(s) read and why: Tie — Good To Great (Jim Collins) and Outliers (Malcolm Gladwell). Why? Understanding business models is one of my avocations as a means to learn and become a better manager. These authors have quantified results and behaviors to ‘prove out’ key factors that drive success. Their research efforts are amazing. 

Reading list: Last book read was The 3 Body Problem by (Liu Cixin). Next book to read, I Came As A Shadow (John Thompson autobiography).

Best business tip: First, in running a business, prepare to be disrupted. Strive to have a plan to compete with or combat threats. Second, if you’re coasting, then you’re probably going downhill. 

Thoughts on leadership: It’s fine to show vulnerability and never be afraid to ask questions. Never underestimate the impact your words and behavior have on members of your team. 

On corporate culture: First, culture is an over-used term in organizational parlance. Easy to talk about, but hard to define. By far, the best definition I’ve come across was from authors Orit Gadiesh and Hugh MacArthur, “A culture is a collection of behaviors.” At the extremes, the Hells Angels has a culture, as does the Red Cross. In business, good people tend to attract like-minded good people; jerks hire other jerks.

Introvert or extrovert: In a business setting I’m extroverted because every new prospect, person, deal, is a puzzle to be solved and requires outreach and energy to solve or succeed. In social settings, I’m far more reserved and content to enjoy my own company. 

The most rewarding part of running a business: Helping an energetic and smart young staff learn and become high-performing  executives, and admiring their successes and capabilities. 

Current Golf index: 2.2.

Who is on your music list: Tedeschi Trucks Band, Rolling Stones, Grace Potter, The Kinks, Amos Lee, Cream, Dua Lipa, Eric Church, Janis Joplin, Kane Brown, Marshall Tucker Band, Prince, Scissor Sisters, Steve Miller.

What do you do to relax? A good crossword puzzle in a quiet room on comfortable chair, or, on the floor with my two golden retrievers.

Mentor: Tom Newell. A self-proclaimed “reformed attorney” with decades of business experience as an executive, deal-maker and entrepreneur. He was refreshingly direct, kept me grounded and helped to see around corners. Priceless and candid coaching.

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