Next Step: The Day of the Golf Outing
The day of the golf outing is where the rubber hits the road for Business Golf. Truly, a lot is riding on this day and there is a lot to consider to accomplish your mission successfully.
The day of the golf outing is the day everything is on the line for showing your guest who you are. It is the start of developing a very valuable business relationship. The goal for the day is to make your guest as comfortable as possible. The planning was done to allow you to focus on the golf and not matters off the golf course. Needless to say, in Business Golf, this is a very important day.
Pick a Special Place to Play
Long before the day of the golf outing, during the planning session for the day of golf, all of the arrangements for the day should have been made. A quality golf facility should have been secured. The course should be challenging but not overbearing for a lesser skilled player. Also the golf facility should have some private location where you and your guest can get away after the round and talk shop.
Country Clubs make wonderful golf facilities to use for a round of business golf. Some private clubs will even let non-members use their facility for their outing.
Do not discount the country club environment because of the assumed high cost factor. Remember, gaining a client, or improving a business opportunity, is challenging enough. To lose the chance to improve business by playing golf at a facility that does not accommodate the purpose of the round of business golf really does not make sense taking after all the work it took to plan and then execute this event.
In business golf, as in anything else, you are more than likely going to get what you paid for. Think of the golf outing as a business function. Would you hold a sales meeting or an introductory meeting for business at a rundown facility? What reflection does inviting someone to play golf at a rundown facility make towards you and your business?
Take the time and make the effort to secure a Special Place to play golf because what you are really doing for that day is special..you are making a true business connection. The investment made for this one day has an 85% chance of being very successful if you think quality over costs. Business Golf is one of the few activities has a high success factor..that is why you are, and should, learn to play Business Golf.
Get to Know the Facility
If the golf facility is not one you are familiar with it would be a real good idea to go out a few days before the golf outing and do a walk through. The time spent here will pay off by tripping up information about the facility that makes it really special or a issue to rethink the plan to find another locations for the round of business golf.
The pre-event review may seem hooky and a waste of time but my surveys show that over 65% of the rounds of business golf that turn out poorly came as a direct result of something that was not expected happening that could have been avoided with a pre-event review.
Timeliness is Mandatory
Arrive for the event at least an hour before the tee time. Yes, One hour at the minimum. There is nothing worst than the host running up to the tee box to greet his/her guest only to find the course in under construction or another group has rented the facility for the day.
Arrive way early to go through and make sure there are no problems with the golf course. Make sure the after golf arrangements for food and beverage in a private location is taken care of. Too many times this part of the golf outing is taken lightly and the host will try to squeeze a few more minutes out of the office before going to the golf course only to find that nothing was prepared.
Nothing kills a round of Business Golf quicker than the Host or Hostess not taking the time to take care of problems before hand.
Let the Game Begin
Once the greeting is made with your guest, the golf clubs are secured and the warm-up on the range winds down its finally time to get down to work. In this case the work is Playing Golf. That’s right, you are going to play golf for a living. What, you never thought of yourself as a professional golfer?
In all seriousness, all of the work done to get to this point is like setting the foundation for building a building. Once the foundation is set the real work begins. However, in this case the work is fun and really has nothing to do with the business you or your guest are in. So, take advantage of this opportunity and make sure Fun is part of each shot made.
I am asked over and over what Game should you play during the round of Business Golf? Or, should I let the Boss or the Guest win? The answer to the question on the game to play becomes part of the fun and is probably the ice breaker for getting things started for the round. As far as letting the guest win..well, in some cultures it is the custom for the host to go down in defeat but my surveys show that here in America the game is played as it is set up. True golfers take defeat just as well as they accept the win. If you or your guest feel otherwise and take defeat in a game of golf poorly then that is the first character trait you have shown to your guest and your guest has shown to you that should be of concern. That trait will also be displayed in a business situation.
Remember, playing golf reveals a person’s true character..there is no hiding it and is why over 40% of business people do not like or want to play golf since they want to hide a trait that is not positive in a business arrangement.
Set the game up to be fun and default to what your guest’s wishes would be. If the guest does not want to play a competitive game, then agree and move on..if there is a game agreed to, set the rules and the set what the award to the winner will achieve..and stay to it. Remember, a wager for who buys dinner or the first round of drinks is not the end of the world and makes for a very pleasant round of golf.
Know the Games Etiquettes
Knowing what is right and wrong as far as golf etiquettes is very hard to remember. However, learning them is a must. What golf etiquettes boil down to is cordialness. The player who demonstrates the best skill for the hole wins honors to tee on the next hole first. All players are to honor each players with allowing them to play a stroke in peace. And all cheating or un-sportsmanship type conduct is not tolerated.
Oh, there are other basics to be aware of like playing the Tees that match you skill level and not take on the back tees if you can’t hit it past the forward tees. Keep your trap shut when someone is making their shot and never, ever throw a club in anger for any reason…period.
There are a lot of detail issues to be aware of like knowing when to let someone play through your group’s playing order. Knowing the pace of play. The most important etiquette to remember is treat the women as equal in the game.
Bottomline: if the host demonstrates cordialness and takes control of leading the guest or gusts in an honest round of business golf this usually rubs off on the guest.
Everyone is going to make a mistake. Correcting that mistake immediately, apologizing for making a mistake and then letting it go is all part of the demonstration of a person’s character which is what a round of Business Golf is all about.
The Big Don’ts
I get asked more times than I can remember on what is the biggest mistake someone can make during a round of business golf. What I found is there are a number of things that will kill not only the round of golf but absolutely any chance to construct a serious business relationship.
My studies show that 80% of the people surveyed feel someone who has to use a cellphone during a round of golf is a person who does not have control of their business or personal life. This person is also someone they would not be comfortable doing business with.
The new culture of staying in touch with business’s goings on every minute of the day is now shown to be a very unproductive activity. Having to deal with problems on a constant bases shows not only a professional weakness but a personal weakness that WILL show up in the business arena.
Many young executives angrily argue that times have changed and people have to change their thinking of how business is done today. And golf has got to change to their way of thinking. The argument ends with the undisputable fact that remains that a person who cannot manage to focus a task as simple as playing a round of golf is anyone who cannot be trusted to stay focused on the business they say they are in. There is no way around it. Cellphones are the silver bullet that kills dead a business deal. Cellphones do not have a place in a round of business golf. Again, another reason why many business people do not like or want to learn to play golf.
The second biggest mistake someone can make during a round of business golf is to get drunk. Oh, I realize that part of the outing is to show everyone a good time and to kick back and relax. A tip of the flask or a cold one near the end of the round does hurt. But loading the coolers with beer before the tee time and refilling them every six holes does not make for a very interesting after golf session.
Getting drunk shows a total lack of control and also shows a character trait not becoming to a business executive..or anyone for that manor. As I mentioned, golf is not, and has never been, a sterile environment. That is what makes golf the best business tool. Just do the drinking like everything else that is doing in business golf..drink cordially.
The Number 3 mistake..which could be moving up close to number one in many people’s polls..is the use of tobacco products during a round of golf. I use the term tobacco products to cover Cigar smoking, chewing tobacco and dipping snuff.
It is very unfortunate cigar smoking, chewing tobacco and the dipping of snuff during a round of golf have been sensationalized and made popular by celebrities and touring golf professionals.
This very unhealthy activity has now moved from the recreational golf arena to the Business Golf venue. Again, someone who uses these products is showing their guest or host a huge lack of self respect and inconsideration for others which is a character trait unbecoming of someone who is trying to develop new business. Many of the men who take part of this ritual do not take golf very seriously which reflects exactly how they would treat a business arrangement.
If you want to bury your chance of doing business or staying in business, with someone you play golf with then use any of these items during a round of business golf. Remember, what differentiates a round of recreational golf and a round of business golf is business golf has a business purpose. This is why it is very important to make that clear when the invitation is made.
The proper etiquette for determining if any of these items above are accepted during the round of golf is to ask if they are permissible. However, again be ready to be told “No”. How you accept that answer will also tell a lot about you.
As host, the end of the round needs to be planned out as detailed as the beginning. Getting the golf clubs secured and offering a 10 to 15 minute break to check messages at the office before the scheduled ‘Sit Down’ after golf session begins should be part of the cool down after the round.
Once all that is taken care of it is now time for the part of Business Golf that is totally business. I’ll be back shortly to run down the…