I’ve never played golf. My father wasn’t a player, and none of my friends growing up played. In the last year however, I started a business, and part of my business development plan for the year includes learning to play golf. Why is playing a game so important to my new business? Lets look at some statistics:
- Executives who play golf make 17% more than those who don’t.
- 54% of business professionals see golf as the perfect networking tool, only 8% selected football
- An estimated 90% of Fortune 500 CEO’s play golf
- 50% of golfers agreed to the statement, “the way a person plays golf is very similar to how he or she conducts business affairs.”
Golf is a Social Game
Golf is inherently a social game. You make deep and lasting connections, rivalries, and friends with clients, potential leads and colleagues. Between holes and the clubhouse, there is always plenty of time to talk, and few distractions. For many busy professionals, the golf course is one of the few places that is relatively peaceful where they can relax. This is an excellent environment to get to know people.
It’s also about access. In many cases, you just can’t get an appointment to see someone by calling their office. No matter how important the call is to your recipient or yourself, sometimes, you just can’t get through. Playing in social tournaments however, can introduce you to many people who you may not meet otherwise through your normal business channels. We all know that business is about being social, what is more social than time spent at the course?
As any good sales professional will tell you, one of the best ways to develop comfort with a client or colleague is through shared interests. Golf is a universal past time in the business community, and is often a topic of conversation at business events.
Often, I’ve watched groups of people get together and speak to each other about their game. Even perfect strangers have often bonded over their shared love of the sport. Certainly, finding common ground is a tenement of good business, and adding something as common as Golf to your knowledge and skill base certainly would be a great conversation starter. Even better, would be if you can invite a prospect to play a game. The competition and camaraderie will certainly help build a sense of trust and connection with your new acquaintance.
It’s Good For You
The stress of business can take it’s toll on your health. Quite often, we don’t have the time to spend enough time outdoors or exercising. Golf is a great way to get good cardiovascular exercise in natural environments.
Studies have also been conducted that show that golf can lead to increased self-esteem, happiness, and reduced stress levels.
Since you’re also getting great business networking benefits, you also don’t feel bad about taking the time away from work to participate in the sport.
It’s time to learn to play
Yes, it’s time I picked up a set of clubs and found a good teacher. If you ever thought about learning to play golf, I urge you to join me in learning this year. It could lead to great business success and will be a whole lot of fun.