What Makes Golf and Business Such a Good Partnership?

by Dave Bisbee on March 28, 2011

Wired

In todays world of sound bite/email/Blackberry/text speak communication, building solid business relationships runs the risk of being reduced to something akin to speed dating. In fact it is something less than that since with speed dating there is actually some face time where you can observe expressions, body language, etc.. Now grant it with this digital form of communication you can save time as well as avoid some of the social requirements of the face to face meeting such as personal grooming and hygiene and it is much easier to escape when things get uncomfortable… but believe me when I tell you that in the long run people do business with people that they know and trust, and that can only happen when you spend time with someone.

Get Out Of The Office

Now, with that said the face to face encounter doesn’t have to necessarily be a buttoned down meeting at corporate headquarters…in fact I would suggest something quite different. A round of golf gives us the opportunity to eliminate the distractions of the office environment as well as the social armor that is the business suit. People tend to be more relaxed and at ease when wearing a golf shirt… they also tend to be more open.

I know that in my own experience the golf course has been the venue where I have forged some of my most valuable friendships, and partnerships simply because the environment allowed us to let our guard down. I may not even talk about something business related during the round but if I keep my awareness attuned I will inevitably discover something about them that will make my next contact with them easier because remember… people do business with those they know and trust.

Be A Mentalist

You have probably seen the Television show the Mentalist. It’s about this guy who through his superior powers of observation is able to solve crimes that regular law enforcement can’t… not that we are solving crimes… although I have seen some golfers with handicaps that border on criminal… but that is another story all together.

So what does this have to do with business golf? It is about honing your observation skills. The golf course will reveal clues to someone’s personality we just need to be more like the Mentalist to read them.

Just look in their golf bag for a clue. Is it one of those bags that has a place for everything and everything is in its’ place? Then this is probably someone who is detail oriented and will also probably play by the rules. Are the clubs the latest model being played by the pros’ on the tour or are they an older model name brand. If it is the latter you are playing with someone who’s trust you have to earn but who’s loyalty you will have form then on. There are many more subtle clues that make themselves apparent during a round of Golf… you just have to pay attention.

Unplug And Tee It Up

So what makes Golf and Business such a good partnership? Golf, like no other game I know, touches all of the bases. An enjoyable shared experience in a pleasant neutral environment with time to get to know someone through direct conversation as well as passive observation of actions and reactions. Now I’m not saying throw out that Blackberry or stop sending emails all I am saying is every once in a while use those mediums to set up a golf game with a client, potential client, or even a co-worker. I think you will be amazed at the affect.

Dave Bisbee

Dave Bisbee has been around the golf business for 30 years and brings to Biz Golf Guru his experience as both a business owner and golf professional. Dave will serve as the anchor for the Biz Golf Guru team of contributors by offering his unique insights of business golf as seen through the eyes of someone who has managed golf courses, golf companies and as a golf teaching professional.

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