Conducting business on the golf course can be intimidating for some, but it doesn’t need to be. In fact, after years of building my Orthotics business, I am convinced that golf is the perfect way to build a solid network and a business.
When I first started in the business, none of my male shoe vendors thought I’d be around in 3 years. And I truly believe it was because I was a woman. So I decided to take the shoe reps out for a round of golf. After spending a day on the golf course, they saw me in a different light; they were motivated to gain my business and worked with me to set up my accounts. I showed them confidence and conviction on the course.
Make Golf the Reason to Connect
Golf provides the perfect forum to engage people without the pressure of having to find a reason for a meeting. The reason is “let’s get out golfing”. The business aspect of the day becomes secondary to the activity of golf. But after spending two to five hours together, you will be amazed at the tangible business benefits.
Local, corporate, or charitable golf tournaments all offer a great venue to meet new contacts, and are a perfect opportunity to get real facetime with your existing network of contacts. A round of golf provides a great opportunity to profile yourself within your industry or within your company, and to build relationships with your peers, your boss, and your employees.
Why Isn’t Everyone Golfing?
So why isn’t everyone out on the golf course? Here are some common misperceptions about golf.
It takes too much time.
- You don’t have to play 18 holes. 9 holes only takes 2 hours or so and is easy to fit in early in the morning or in the late afternoon.
- If you book 18 holes twice a month, you are only committing about 30 minutes a day. The payback is SO worth it.
People who golf only want to play with good golfers.
- Most people who play golf are NOT good. And most would prefer not to play with really good golfers – because they are intimidated.
- Golfers DO want to play with someone who is respectful and who can manage their emotions on the course. There is nothing worse than playing with someone who throws his or her clubs or loses their cool during a round (and believe it or not – it happens ALL the time).
It takes too long to get good enough to play and to learn all of the rules.
Stop Worrying about Being Good Enough to Play
- To get the benefits from golf, you don’t have to be a good golfer and you don’t have to know every rule. You DO have to be good at managing your game and your emotions on the course. If you are “good to play with”, you will be on everyone’s callback list for golf and for business.
- Investing a half hour / week into learning the basics of the game and learning how to be “good to play with” will have you ready for client golf in a matter of weeks.
Make it part of Your Professional Development
If you are starting to think that there may be something to this golf thing, commit to it as part of your professional development, and make a plan to be ready to play this spring. Your goal should be to learn the basics of etiquette and course management as well as swing fundamentals.
Look for an instructor who understands your intention is to learn golf for business. If you start now at a local indoor golf facility, you can be swinging this winter, and be ready for your first tournament this Spring.