There’s probably no better location on the planet to conduct business than on the golf course. Businesses and more partnerships have been changed or even created on the golf course than anyone could imagine.
You might have the luxury of sharing a common aim – to beat one another while conducting business on the golf course. Yet at the same time, when you’re playing with company associates on the golf course, you really need to practice some decorum when playing golf with a prospective company affiliate.
So just how do you balance business with sport on the golf course? Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer to this question. Just as with any choice in business, you have to consider the outcome. If you’re trying to land a large account, you probably shouldn’t destroy his/her confidence and ego by hole 2.
Nonetheless, you won’t get ahead by becoming a suck-up or throwing them a pitty party either. Conducting business on the course is a sensitive proposition, thus begin with a strategy in mind.
DO NOT begin your round with a proclamation of what you hope to accomplish by the end of the round. Golf as friends first rather than start outlining the agenda of topics you hope to cover by the end of the round. BAD FOR BUSINESS.
As you begin playing, keep your A game at play. Be modest but play your best. Play golf like you deserve respect and this may translate well to the negotiations in your business relationship. If your playing partner is struggling, it’s probably a bad time to bring up how far your drive was straight down the fairway.
Help your playing partner find their ball when they are looking for it. It’s best to stand to the side when they are hitting, never directly behind. After they hit the ball, follow it for them with your eyes. If it goes out, keep an eye on it and locate a landmark you can point to when helping them find it.
Always watch the other person complete their shot on the green or tee box before leaving. I hate it when someone I’m playing with hits their shot then walks off the tee box to sit down in the cart. It’s rude and disrespectful. Same is true on the green as well. After you tee off or sink your birdie put, wait for the others to complete as well then walk off together. This also will give you additional time to talk business.
Lastly and probably most importantly… DON”T LIE ABOUT YOUR SCORE. You are only cheating yourself if you lie normally but when there is business being conducted and you use your trusty footwedge, or conveniently forget about going into the water off the tee before writing your score down, it could mean disaster… When I play golf with new friends or business partners, I watch closely how they follow the rules… if they lie or cheat, I take that into consideration when going into business agreements or contracts. If they lie on the course or cut corners, what kind of business person do you think they are?
Golf is a game of integrity, a practice in patience, and also a game of etiquette and respect. It’s a perfect place to learn more about your business partner or target. Be careful though, because they can also tell tons about you too.