Tips for Getting the Most Out of Golf for Business
Engaging your customers through social media is the latest mantra of every business guru.
Yet long before the age of Facebook and Twitter, smart business people were using golf as a valuable way to build customer relationships. Where else can you spend four uninterrupted hours with a client or colleague and the only appropriate use of a smart phone is to measure the distance to the green?
In today’s fast paced world, golf as a business tool is often overlooked or considered a sport for an older generation. Yet smart business men and women who want to get ahead, should add golf to their career skill repertoire. Just like building your company’s social media strategy, business golf requires planning and focus. Here are some tips to get the most out of playing golf for business.
Know Your Purpose: Going into a business golf opportunity without identifying a purpose is like going into a business meeting without an agenda – it isn’t likely to produce the results you want! Identify what you want to get out of the time together and what your playing partners get as well.
Plan Your Outing: Based on your business purpose, you should plan your outing the same way you plan a business meeting, a lunch meeting or presentation. Choices and details should be made and arranged in advanced to ensure they align with your business purpose. Set expectations up front for all participants, so there are no surprises.
Interaction with Others: Focus on your business purpose. You aren’t there to shoot your best round of golf ever (even though it would be nice). Check yourself on every hole – are you focused on your business purpose?
Know Golf Course Etiquette: Your golf skill is secondary. If you know golf etiquette (on course etiquette) everyone will enjoy joining you for a game of golf. You should know when to talk and when not to talk, where to stand when others are making a shot, how to take care of the course, where to drive the cart, pace of play, cell phone etiquette (shut it off!), how to tip and how to dress.
Have Basic Golf Skills: Remember you have a day job and the goal here is business. However, a basic game is necessary. Here are some benchmarks: can you hit the ball at least a 100 yards; do you know the basic techniques for chipping, putting, pitching and sand; are you 100% confident that you know how to get around a golf course in a courteous manner?
Select a Course for All Players Abilities: Don’t assume that a woman golfer will always play from the forward tees or that men should automatically play the longest yardage possible. Especially for business golf, choose a course with multiple tee boxes (rated for both men and women) and the yardage that makes the game enjoyable for all who are playing.
Viva La Difference: In general, men do not talk much business on the golf course. However, women do. They are more prone to multitasking and therefore tend to talk more business while they play. Keep these differences in mind during your on-course conversations.
Break at the Forward Tee: Men who are accustomed to all male foursomes, occasionally forget to stop at the forward tees for a female player’s turn. To avoid this faux pas, try to keep the cart with women players in the front position while at the tee box. To acquire and hone your golf skills, seek out a golf professional. One resource for golf programs is the PGA of America’s website at www.playgolfamerica.com. For females, the EWGA (Executive Women’s Golf Association) has over 125 local chapters throughout the United States offering new golfer clinics and numerous other player development programs as well as numerous golf, networking and social activities. See www.ewga.com
When it comes to engaging clients and the chance to build long term relationships, the one-on-one experience of business golf is social media at its best.
Pam Swensen is the CEO of the EWGA (and Par Excellence Magazine Advisory Board Member), headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Since its founding in 1991 as the Executive Women’s Golf Association, the EWGA has touched the lives of more than 100,000 women connecting them to learn, play, and enjoy golf for business and fun. This tax-exempt association delivers a wide range of golf, social and networking activities for both new and experienced golfers.