Golf Gives You The Freedom To Take Care Of Your Personal Life
FREEDOM: Exercise for Your Body, Mind, and Spirit
If you're overworked and overwhelmed, that's when you most need to go outdoors, get some exercise, and reconnect with your spirit. Whether you play golf for business or pleasure, hitting the golf ball can give you that much needed time for yourself.
"Be active, be energetic, be enthusiastic and faithful, and you will accomplish your objective".
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Playing Golf Burns Calories.
One stereotype about golfers is that they are overweight and ride around in golf carts all day. You might wonder what type of exercise is that? You're right--you won't get as much exercise if you ride in a cart.
However, if you walk you'll get plenty of exercise. The total distance of eighteen holes is at least 3 miles. If you carry your clubs or pull your clubs in a cart, you will probably walk 4 to 5 miles because you'll need to walk all over the course to get to your golf ball. And, if you play on a hilly course, you'll get even more of a workout.
If you need scientific proof, then consider the findings of a university's department of kinesiology. If you weigh 150 pounds, carry your bag, and play eighteen holes, you'll burn 1,080 calories. That's equivalent to running almost 7 miles! My clients love to hear this statistic, so they're guilt-free when they have dessert or a beer after a round of golf.
You can burn nearly as many calories playing golf and carrying your clubs as you would gardening. If you could do four hours of medium-impact aerobics, then you would burn only slightly more calories than if you played eighteen holes of golf. Still, you'll burn more than twice as many calories than if you went shopping.
Rather than burning your money by going shopping, go play golf, have fun, soak up some sunshine and exercise, and develop stronger relationships with clients, prospects, or friends and family. It certainly beats cleaning the house! And, to save time on the days you play golf, you can skip a visit to the gym without feeling guilty.
The added beauty of the game is you can play and burn calories into your old age. Many of the women I speak with say they wanted to learn golf because they were getting older and wanted a sport that wasn't so hard on their bodies as skiing, tennis, and running. I play at a country club where men and women in their 80s are playing golf. You would never know their ages by looking or talking to them. I will always remember when I asked a member how long she had been playing. When she replied thirty-five years, I stopped and said, "You've been playing golf longer than I've been on the planet. I'm only thirty-one." It was perplexing to hear, especially since she didn't look nearly her age of seventy-six as we walked up one of the many steep fairways on our hilly golf course.
When I am very focused on a problem, I often don't know how to back off even though my mind is in an endless loop replaying the situation and not getting any closer to finding a solution. When I'm in this flummoxed state, I often leave the office to play nine holes or hit balls at the driving range. I have found that if I step away and give my mind a respite from that problem, then I can come back with a fresh perspective, and the answer often comes to me more easily and quickly.
In 1998, the New York Times reported on Golf Digest magazine's study on the correlation between the handicaps of the best CEOs and the success of their respective companies. (You learn about handicaps in Chapter 3, but for now, in general, the lower the handicap the better the golfer.) From the study, a pattern appears: "If a chief executive is a better-than-average golfer, he is also likely to deliver above-average returns to shareholders." Suggested reasons for this correlation include time on the golf course offers time to think big, strategic thoughts. Or perseverance and the ability to focus are also possible factors for the CEOs' success in the boardroom and on the golf course, playing golf for business purposes. Some of the noted CEOs with very low handicaps include Jack Welch formerly of General Electric and Scott McNealy of Sun Microsystems.
I don't want you to conclude that the opposite applies; that is, the higher your handicap, the less ability you have for strategic thoughts or that you don't have the other positive traits of successful CEOs. Obviously some of the CEOs have played golf since they were young children. Nevertheless, it is interesting to consider what makes a good golfer and how those qualities make a person an effective businessperson.
Try it! The next time you are faced with a stubborn problem, take some time to play golf. Then go back and see if your thinking is clearer and you are more creative. Rather than a waste of time, your golf excursion may give you a shortcut to finding your solution.
Exercise for Your Spirit
In our fast-paced world, it is very easy to lose perspective on life. If you can't escape for a vacation, consider playing golf for two to four hours as a miniretreat. For me, a golf course is an oasis in the middle of a chaotic city.
At the golf course where I regularly play, I am blessed with panoramic views of the San Francisco skyline, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Mount Tamalpias in Marin County. It's a place where I can smell and step on freshly mowed grass, be in awe of the hawks hovering above, and watch the squirrels scurrying around.
During my interviews for this book, every woman I spoke with emphasized the importance of being able to get away from it all and how much they enjoy the beauty of golf courses. For example, Karen is the president of a resort and spa located in the San Francisco Bay area. She operates the largest Lincoln Log residence structure in the world, which houses bedrooms, conference rooms, and a spa. Although she can get free facials and massages down the hall from her office, when she wants to feel like she is on a week's vacation, she plays nine holes alone at nearby golf courses. She soaks in the silence, the surroundings, and the scenery of those courses.
FREEDOM: Maximize Your Links on the Links
Whether it is to deepen relationships with existing clients or just to have fun with business colleagues, playing golf enables you to maximize the links you already have without the distractions of the office.
According to the National Golf Foundation, 67 percent of business executives play golf.
In her book "Going to the Top", Dr. Gallagher emphasizes the value to senior executive women of creating alliances with executives in their company as well as those in other companies. Maintaining those long-term relationships requires a commitment of time in learning about the latest developments of your business and personal lives. A round at the golf course gives you the time that you ordinarily might not take to maintain those important relationships.
In Chapter 4, I talk about the type of golf rounds that you can create to maximize your links on the links.
Summary: FREEDOM Is Worth the Time
My hope is that the FREEDOM benefits of playing golf for women will be a reminder and a motivator for you to take the time to learn and play the game. What other activity can give you so many potential benefits for you to succeed in your professional life? By playing golf, you will work smarter and more effectively than if you simply sit at your desk. And golf gives you the freedom to take care of your personal life by exercising, getting fresh air, and being more creative.