The idea that many of biggest business deals are done on the golf course may be a cliché, but that doesn’t mean it’s not still true. Yes, even in 2016. Not many sports can bring you all the benefits that golf does, from physical activity to making friends, and even career building.
The advantage of making business on the golf course is not only getting the deal you wanted but also getting to know, like, and trust somebody in a way you couldn’t in any other setting. Research has show that there is a higher chance of connecting with someone on the course than at a conference or an organized happy hour. Being in that vulnerable space and learning what other people’s fears are, and then also going and trying something new, causes you to become more innovative. You open up and are able to connect. Ultimately, the value is being able to spend time building a relationship with your client in a relaxing, non-conventional business setting.
Playing with the big boss
The best thing about playing with your boss is that you’re on an even playing field. It’s not about making sure you don’t make a fool of yourself, it’s about getting to know your boss more authentically. You’re on the course together and one of you shanks a drive and you both start laughing – now you have an inside joke or a funny memory that you wouldn’t have had otherwise. It’s about getting to know them on a deeper level. They’re going to start to vouch for you more, sponsor you and mentor you. Those are the things that happen when you know, like, and trust somebody. With that being said, it’s always important to try and follow the etiquette of the game.
What NOT to do when playing golf with clients and colleagues
Speed of play is huge.Par to Pick Up is a great rule to have when playing with clients or colleagues, whatever par is—3, 4 or 5—after you hit that many shots in the fairway, you pick up your ball, walk to the green, hand wedge the ball onto the green, and then you get two putts. The way it works out, any hole you play, the max score you can get is a double bogey. So you have a double bogey, you’re having fun and you’re seeing the whole course. However make sure to bring this up with the other players so they understand what you are doing, chances are they probably will want to do the same thing! The max amount of time any round should take is four and a half hours. On the business side of things, the rule of thumb is to never close a deal on the course. Don’t talk about business until the fourth hole, and not after the 12th hole. The reason is that from holes one through four, you’re getting comfortable with the game, trying to find your groove and your swing. Use that time to ask more personal questions as opposed to the business questions. Then on the reverse, you shouldn’t talk about business after the 12th hole because everyone is exhausted. You’re hungry, you’re tired, and you may be frustrated with your game at that point. After the round, in the clubhouse bar, is when I typically make the ask. What are the next steps? How do we make this deal happen? Should we set up a meeting? What information do I need to send you? That’s the best time get into the nitty-gritty.
Whether you’re looking to explore the game of golf to further your professional career or simply pick up a new hobby, there are several avenues to begin the process. Step outside your comfort zone and discover the limitless resources available to introduce you to our beloved sport.