An Excerpt from the book: "The Executive Arena"
Do you remember the term “Birds of a feather flock together?” and “Like Attracts like?” These phrases have to do with how the people you associate with can and do have an effect on your life and career. In other words, if you want to be successful, you need to be around other successful people. But where do you go? How do you go about finding and meeting other successful people? Well, finally, there is the ultimate meeting place, sport, business venue, eating establishment, and watering hole on the planet when it comes to enhancing your career. If you want to meet other successful people, there is no other activity that brings together the best elements of business and pleasure, breeding success and quality associations. You guessed it: golf!
If you don’t golf, I highly recommend you learn and learn quickly. You don’t have to be great, just learn the basics and have fun. In fact, most golfers that you see on a golf course are not very good at all. Only about 5–10%, depending on the course, are even decent players, while the other 95% or so are actually horrible from a professional standpoint. And here’s the kicker: no one cares! Believe it or not, 80% of golfers will never get below an eighteen handicap. When I first started golfing—I’m talking about my first year on the links—I was hitting anywhere from a 100 to 115. I was horrible, but I was also having a great time and meeting some great people. A year later I was in the low nineties, and only once have I ever broken into the eighties.
My whole point is, don’t worry about how good or bad you may be at golf because it doesn’t matter. The goal with golf is twofold. Firstly, you can’t help but meet other professionals, as most courses will send you out in groups of four. Secondly, a lot of business talk and business deals occur on the golf course. It’s generally quiet and relaxing, and you get some one-on-one time with whoever is in the cart with you. Thirdly, I shouldn’t have to say this, but this applies to women as well. Golf is no longer a “man’s sport,” and those who still believe it is are just assholes. Sorry about the language; just keeping it real.
Jenn Harris, CEO of High Heel Golfer, Inc. wrote an article for PGA.com in 2014 titled “6 Reasons Golf is Good for Business.” In this article she writes that golf:
1. It provides access to an environment where business deals are done.
2. Challenges women to go beyond their comfort zone.
3. Instills confidence both on and off the course.
4. Gives insight into how to read others.
5. Offers you a sneak peek into the integrity and ethics of your golf partners.
6. Let’s you open up and have fun.
Even more amazingly, she goes on to explain some enlightening statistics. If you still don’t buy into the whole “golf is good for your career,” chew on these for a bit: “Executives who play golf make 17% more than those who don’t. 54% of business professionals see golf as the perfect networking tool.”And the one that really hits home: “An estimated 90% of all Fortune 500 CEOs play golf.” She writes much more on this topic, but you get the picture. The benefits of playing golf greatly outweigh the fear of not being a great player, so throw away the excuses and hit the links! Consider golf as an investment in your career.
Golf can be a bit pricey, with an average round of golf around $40–$60 plus your cart fee (fee to rent a golf cart). Some courses are more, some less; it all depends on the actual course. But again, remember this is an "investment" in your career.
I suggest you begin with a starter set of clubs, a pair of golf shoes, some balls, and a glove. I bought my first starter set of brand-new clubs for a few hundred bucks. You may be able to get a nice set of used clubs for even less. Don’t go nuts trying to purchase expensive high-end clubs until you learn more about the game, your swing, and how you personally golf. If you’re new to golf, it’s better to buy a cheap set of clubs and purchase a few hours of professional lessons. Also, never lie about your golf experience. It’s okay and a very accepted practice to tell everyone you’re new to the game and that you just purchased that set of clubs. Believe it or not, a lot of fellow golfers will be more than happy to show you the ropes and give you some tips to improve your game. Sometimes too many!
Lastly, there are the few—very few—highly competitive golfers that can’t go out for an afternoon of golf without having some form of money on the line. Worse yet, they are the loud ones you will hear at the clubhouse bitching about their game, another player, the course, the care or upkeep of the course or the greens, etc. They get frustrated by their score, get upset with other players and frankly prevent others from having a good time. They are what is called the Ego Golfer, more interested in feeding their ego than enjoying the game and the people who play it. But they are not the majority. Simply steer clear of this type of golfer and focus on enjoying the game, enjoying the people you are with, and building business and personal relationships that will last a lifetime. I assure you, it’s worth every penny you invest.