A hurricane could not stop Tracy Martin from achieving her dream to compete in the esteemed USGA 35th Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship. As Martin shot her first round at Fiddlesticks Country Club in Fort Myers, Florida, Hurricane Ian* was little more than a Caribbean breeze. There was no foretelling of the dangerous Category 4 storm that would bring an 18-foot storm surge to Southwest Florida just 10 days later.
Focus on Outcomes
One shot at a time: This is the mindset that has enabled Martin to maintain resilience and stamina during the most demanding moments on the golf course and in her career. She says the key is “focusing in on what you want that next shot to be.” It’s a technique she learned from legendary sports psychologist Jim Fannin, who explained how to channel adrenaline to stay focused in the present and not get distracted by missed shots.
“It all comes down to knowing what you can control,” Martin says. “And really focusing in on what you want that outcome to be. Then ultimately getting to that end result or that goal you want to achieve.”
Martin carries this mindset over to her career as an SAP SuccessFactors account executive at SAP, where she is responsible for managing customer relationships. “I really enjoy talking with customers to understand their needs and how we can help provide the best solution,” says Martin, who joined SAP in March 2020 as a presales solution advisor. “I love working with my manager and the team to solve complex business problems. Ultimately, it’s just a great company.”
That Ping Golf Ball
Growing up in New Hampshire, Martin regularly joined her father, an avid golfer and retired manufacturer’s representative, for rounds on the golf course. While she enjoyed many other sports, something about golf really inspired her. “It’s just a great environment,” she says. “It’s a great thing to do. It keeps me active. It keeps me social and, yeah, it’s a lot fun.”
To this day, she carries the first golf ball ever given to her: a yellow and orange Ping golf ball. Though the company long ago ceased production of its popular golf balls, Martin says, “That’s always in my golf bag, just as a reminder of when I started.”
You Only Get One Shot
In high school, Martin earned the distinction of becoming the first female player on the school’s varsity golf team. “I wanted to be a member of a team in high school,” she recalls. “I loved being able to lead the path to be the first.”
Though she acknowledges that there can be a stigma attached to female golfers, she says she was fortunate in having the support of the other team members. “Again, I think it goes back to what you can control. I really focused in on being able to play well and show that I belonged there. I think the guys on my team rallied around that. It was a lot of fun,” she says. During her junior and senior years, she was chosen as team captain. “They knew I could represent and really focus in on what we needed to do to perform and be that piece of the puzzle to help the team overall.” With her leadership, they won the New Hampshire state high school championship for boys, girls, and team in 2007.
Martin was recruited to play on the golf team at the University of Richmond, where she maintained the lowest-scoring record for the women’s golf team until 2022. The highlight of her senior year was playing in the Wendy’s Invitational in Charleston, South Carolina, in October 2012. Arriving a few days early for the tournament, she played on the iconic Ocean Course on Kiawah Island, ranked #4 among U.S. public golf courses and known for its stunning ocean views and unsparing wind conditions.
“I always wanted to play the Ocean Course. Everybody knew it was something I wanted to do.” She was grateful for that extraordinary opportunity. Her team went on to win the tournament and Martin won the individual competition. “It was a very special few days,” she says.
In college, Martin refined her warm-up routine to get into a focused “you only get one shot” mindset for tournament play. She still applies these methods. She hits the same irons for 20-30 minutes, then a few with a fairway wood, and ends with the driver. She then wraps up her preparation on the putting green. Her secret: “I typically only use one ball when practicing putting,” she says. “My college coach said, you only get one shot on the golf course. So, why would you bring three different golf balls to practice with on the putting green?”
Firing a 68 for Women’s Sports
As a professional with a full-time job at SAP, Martin makes it to the golf course three to four times a week, whether for nine holes, 18 holes, or practice. She optimizes the short New England golf season by playing 60-75 rounds a year, including off-season trips to sunnier locations. In the 2020 season, she set a new women’s course record at the Vesper Country Club, where she is a member, firing a 62 from the red tees.
She says she’s excited about the technologies that are gaining popularity in the sport, like yardage range finders and GPS. “The control that you can get over the ball has really changed exponentially,” she says, citing new analytics software programs that are vastly helping players improve their play in ways that were not possible in the past. “That’s really changed the game.”
In July 2021, Martin won the Women’s Lowell City Golf Tournament, in Lowell, Massachusetts. The annual charity event raises money for women’s sports and high school girls to receive scholarships for college. As announced on Facebook, Martin “fired a smooth 68” with 3-under to win the event on her first attempt. In her post-tournament interview, she thanks the crowd’s enthusiasm and excellent course conditions, saying, “It was an awesome experience!”
SAP’s Support for Bringing Her Whole Self to Work
Many golf events and tournaments take place during the week, which is a challenge for Martin, who says she needs to be very selective about which events she will dedicate time to as a player. The annual USGA Mid-Amateur Championship topped her list. “This was something I set as a goal with my manager at the beginning of the year: to make the Mid-Amateur. I wanted to get back into that highest level of competition, which I hadn’t been able to really do since college,” Martin says.
Her manager, Billy Baker, SAP SuccessFactors vice president, East, understood that Martin’s passion for golf is an important part of her whole self as an SAP SuccessFactors employee. To require her to suppress that part of herself on the job would result in unhappiness and frustration for Martin – and a likely loss of valuable productivity for SAP. Martin is very grateful for Baker’s encouragement. “He was extremely supportive and very adamant that we need to follow our passions so that we can succeed not only at work but also in our personal lives.”
“Tracy’s passion for competitive golf is an important part of her life,” says Baker. “It is beneficial for employees to have outlets outside of the workplace to provide additional fulfillment and happiness. Tracy applies the energy and mindset she gains on the course to her work life. I believe that fulfilled employees will bring their best selves to work.”
Support for Martin’s dream to play in the USGA Mid-Amateur Championship did not end with Baker. Greg Healy, SAP SuccessFactors regional vice president, East, also extended his backing for Martin to achieve her personal goal while managing her SAP career. In fact, Martin’s entire team has been enthusiastically following the developments of her tournament play and qualification matches.
“Bringing one’s whole self to work is not just a tag line for our team. It is something we embrace and encourage,” says Healy. “Tracy’s leadership, execution, and attention to detail help her excel in her job and create raving fans with her customers. These traits also allow her to execute at a high level in one of the world’s most difficult sports. To say I am proud of Tracy is an understatement and we are lucky to have her as a part of our team.”
“I have an amazing support system from family, work, and friends and they just really inspire me to make sure I can play the best golf I can,” Martin says. “I feel like I can be myself at work and on the golf course. It’s been an amazing couple of years being at SAP and just receiving that support throughout the entire time I’ve been here.”
One Shot at a Time
As Martin leans in to 2023, she looks forward to helping SAP SuccessFactors customers achieve their business goals with the right support and resources. “I love the part of my job that allows me to really help people and identifying what their needs are. I’ve had nothing but great experiences with my customers,” she says.
Martin says that golf has taught her a great deal about human potential and resilience. “Golf is very difficult because you never know what you’re going to get on any given day,” she says, noting that you never really have the same shot twice. “You have to have the tenacity and the ability to put a round behind you and come out the next day and really just focus on that round. I think it’s something that people who play golf can understand.”
Having relished the honor to compete this year at the USGA Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship, Martin was through her rounds and returned safely back home to New England well before the arrival of Hurricane Ian. Next year, she will attempt to qualify again. True to form, she’ll take it one shot at a time.
*Editor’s note: Hurricane Ian was an historic storm that impacted Florida and Southeast U.S. SAP responded by ensuring the safety of its employees in the region and making a donation to the Red Cross to support relief efforts.