We have all heard the stories about business and golf, how business golf can be the difference between success and failure for many UK businesses. Why is golf so attractive to business owners? Firstly it doesn’t matter what age you are you can play golf, secondly the handicap system allows people of different abilities to play against each other for a fair and interesting game no matter the skill level of the individual. Thirdly, compared to other sports you actually only spend a relatively small amount of time hitting the ball, giving you plenty of time for conversation, building relationships and getting to know the person.
“When you do business with people, you need to know more about them,” says Mr Small. Golf rewards players who remain calm under pressure, never lose their temper and think strategically. These are all virtues in business, too.
Is the value of golf to business just heresy or can you put a financial figure on the contribution of golf to business? Stanford University in the US conducted a study:
According to the researchers at Stanford (one of the most prominent colleges in the US), during 2005, golf contributed an astronomical $195 billion to the US economy, both directly and indirectly.
The study doesn’t directly measure the amount of business deals actually stuck on the golf course but it does give a good indication of the value of golf to the economy, assuming we in the UK aren’t too far behind our US friends!
Playing a round of Golf will certainly help to build relationships and trust, which is extremely important in business. People buy people, business is not usually done with someone you do not like or respect. Perhaps the qualities people look for in business can be reflected on the golf course:
“Remember that more often than not, people make investments in people. A round of golf is a great time to demonstrate you are a smart, competent, and likeable person. If you are a thoughtful golfer who engages in good conversation on the course, you will increase your chances for closing a deal.”
Playing a round of golf with potential clients can further your business relationships but remember to be on your best behaviour! Follow the rules of the game (no one will refer business to a cheat), follow the etiquette of the game like repairing divots, don’t do the hard sell, you are there to build a relationship! Have a healthy attitude to competition; do not throw you clubs if a shot doesn’t go well!
What are your tips for business golf?