The Book

People do business with individuals they like, trust, admire and respect. That’s why golf is such an important business tool. It’s not about the deals you make while you’re on the course — it’s about the relationships you build that can lead to deals. In one round of golf, you’re able to establish a solid relational foundation.

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Back On Course
Drive Business Performance Through Golf

By Connie Charles and Dave Bisbee

Foreword – By Bill Hughes, Master Professional, PGA of America, and General Manager, TPC Sawgrass – The golf course is the place to build relationships in life and in the world of business. And the future of golf and business together has never been more exciting.


A sample of what is in each chapter follows:

Chapter 1Why Golf is a Big Deal – Golf has been around for centuries in one form or another. It gained popularity in Scotland as a royal indulgence and evolved into a spectator sport with competitions among people with skill. Today the game is enjoyed by anyone who is interested enough to pick up a club and practice. To give you a little perspective as to why the game matters, consider this: The golf industry generates more than $76 billion annually. The PGA Tour will pay out more than $350 million in prize money in 2015 and set new records in charitable contributions in 2014 by donating over $140 million through PGA Tour charities. No other professional sports organization even comes close. Golf influences real estate values, contributes to travel and tourism, and generates millions of dollars in tax revenues for communities with golf courses. 
 

Chapter 2 – The Undeniable Link: Golf and Business – It used to be said that golf was something you played when you reached a certain income or revenue level. Today that theory is reversed. Golf is a clear business tool that will empower you to reach a certain income or revenue level. It is not a boondoggle but a strategic tool for business success. A golf game comes closer than any other sport or team-building exercise to testing a person’s adaptability and drive for success by challenging people to perform tasks of varying difficulty under constantly changing conditions, just like a typical workplace. It’s a game that realistically imitates the corporate environment which is one reason why it a great place to do business. Often used for deal making, checking out a candidate for a job, networking, and, most of all, building solid relationships with people with whom you want to do business.
 

Chapter 3Corporate Power Tools for Success – The starting point for success in any endeavor is you. Knowing who you are and how to manage yourself is your most powerful tool. A lot of time and money is spent on making sure you have the right equipment in your bag to play your best. This could be potentially wasted if you don’t learn to manage your actions and emotions. There are three more “clubs” you can add to your bag that will make a difference in how effective you are in managing yourself and your ability to build relationships with those in your foursome.

Chapter 4  – Your Secret Weapon: what the golf game can reveal – How do you recognize and read the signals that emerge during a round with a current or potential business associate? There are ways of “reading the tea leaves,” from the time you meet at the golf cart until you celebrate at the 19th hole. For in- depth data, two tools come in handy: imapmygolfgame.com and imapmyteam.com. These will enable you to interpret the personalities of the people you’re golfing with so you’re able to more quickly build a bond with them. Additionally, know how to begin interpreting the signals whether you have the data or not.

Chapter 5  – Master The Five-Hour Meeting – “The Five-Hour Meeting” is how we describe the total experience of planning and executing a round of golf with a business objective. Just think about it: When do you get the chance to have the attention of a decision-maker, prospect or associate for five minutes, let alone five hours? The golf course presents that opportunity like no other activity. It puts you in a position to solidify key relationships, uncover new opportunities and observe behaviors in a very different environment than the office or boardroom — but only if you know how to manage the experience. This chapter is meant to give you the skills you need to keep you out of the rough.

 

Chapter 6 – The Business Case For Corporate Investment In Golf – It’s important for corporations to continue supporting golf through activities such corporate sponsorship, charitable outreach, team development, and the use of golf as part of a business strategy and culture. Strategically, the benefits can be as direct as the reason a deal got done. Culturally, the tenets of the game resonate with most companies’ mission statements: honesty, integrity, discipline and perseverance. How does an organization incorporate golf into its business strategy, and how does it measure the ROI?
 

Chapter 7 – Competing On A Global Scale – Business and golf success often require going outside national borders to compete. Understanding competitive motivators that can be linked to cultures could make a difference in whether or not you win. Why does the U.S. continue to relinquish the Ryder Cup? Scientific data demonstrates that Americans measure differently in a competitiveness score than many other countries. How do other nations compare, and how can you overcome this challenge in your own organization to stay ahead of global competition in business?
 

Chapter 8 – Assess Your Own Skill – We are often asked whether skill matters when it comes to business golf. The answer is yes and no. It depends on the kind of golf experience you intend to use as part of your strategy. You certainly don’t need to be a scratch handicap (a very good golfer) to be able to play and be effective as the host. You should, however, be prepared to put in some work with a professional instructor to develop solid mechanics. The investment will pay dividends and help you leverage the game to its fullest extent. What is your business golf handicap, and how do you improve it?

Chapter 9 – The Mental Mulligan – Even with the best preparation, things can still go wrong. How you handle the unexpected says a lot about you and your ability to manage yourself when the going gets tough. A “Mental Mulligan” is a strategy for managing personal stress so you don’t lose your cool and wrap a club around a tree when your tee shot hits the water. This ability to stay in control when the wheels fall off can be the best reason why people would want to do business with you. The Business Golf Master can use the same techniques to save a playing partner from disaster during a round. The Turn moving from strategy to tactics


The first part of this book has been all about the strategy. Now let’s take a tactical look at how you use golf to conduct business — and why this is important to your success.

Chapter 10 – How To Set Up The Golf Date – You’ve learned the value of establishing your personal golf handicap. Now understand how you determine and use your business golf handicap. How do you get the most out of this golf opportunity? First do a little research on your clients. Find out their level of skill and experience, whether they have a favorite course in the area, whether they have their own equipment including clubs and shoes. Don’t take anything for granted. We can relate a number of horror stories of good intentions gone wrong. It helps to have your own “home” club where you’re already known. You should also keep a checklist of what goes into your golf bag to ensure a successful day.

Chapter 11 – Rules Of “The Game” – Back in the beginning of the game, there were 13 original rules. A friend (who happens to be a lawyer) says lawyers started playing golf and the result is the 32 rules of golf, not to mention the hundreds of official decisions on the rules of golf that are part of the game today. Let’s look at which ones are the most important for you to know and follow in a business setting. We’ll also discuss the most common mistakes and how can you avoid them.

Chapter 12 – Etiquette Of The Game – Golf is steeped in tradition. When you trace it back to its roots, it was a game played by ladies and gentlemen. If you are somewhat new to the game, many of the elements of how to dress, how to behave, where to stand and other factors can be a bit overwhelming. What are the most important Dos and Don’ts for the golf course in a business setting? What are the consequences of not following golf protocol? Knowing how to handle yourself and the situation, even when your client doesn’t follow the same rules, can make all the difference.

 

Chapter 13 – What If You’re Playing With A Rookie? – When someone is new to the game, it can actually give you an opportunity to establish a unique bond with your client as you become that individual’s private guide to the game. What do you do and how do you handle yourself if your client is a golf novice? Should you give pointers? Or do you suggest a different kind of golf activity for clients who are not as comfortable with golf as others?

Chapter 14 – The Forward Tees: For Women Only – It’s no secret that women are still playing catch- up in the quest for economic equality and the power that goes with it. It’s time for women to recognize that a path to the boardroom may be a cart path. Breaking into this society is now possible for women who learn to master the experience from tee to green. It’s important to know not only the rules of the game but the unwritten rules that will ensure success for women who want to use golf as a way to advance their careers, capture new business or just be able to join in the corporate outing instead of staying by the pool.

Chapter 15 – Golf Alternatives – There are all kinds of other golf-related activities you can use to keep your golf relationship alive with clients. Those include attending tournaments as spectators, playing in charity events, hosting parties to watch golf events on TV, visiting the driving range, attending golf- themed entertainment facilities and other situations. Let’s look at the rules that apply here and how they are the same or different than the rules on the course.

Chapter16 – The Last Putt – As you hear that ball drop into the 18th hole, it’s time to reap the benefits of the round. What are the things you can do as you move off the green to make sure you make it to the 19th hole? Keep things from getting awkward or from losing your guest by knowing the right protocol for closing out the game, taking care of the clubs or tipping the caddies and club staff. What you need to do to finish the round? Add up your score and assess your results. How did you fare against business golf par? How do you cultivate the relationship? What are the rules of engagement, including the Dos and Don’ts?

Chapter 17 – The 19th Hole – Finally, it’s time to talk about business. You’ve learned to manage your way through 18 holes, where you’ve built the foundation for a great relationship with your customer. Now it’s time to move the business relationship to a new level. How do you handle it? Who buys the drinks? Do you consume alcohol or have a meal, and what are the rules for that? Where do you sit? What are the challenges to watch out for? What opportunities should you not miss?

Chapter 18 – The Follow-Through – Even though your round of golf may be over, some of the most important work is still to be done. You should take the time to evaluate the day while the experience is still fresh in your mind. Were there things you learned that will help you cultivate more business? Did you make a commitment to follow up? Is there anything you need to work on with your own performance as a business golfer to improve the next experience to reinforce and expand your relationship with your customer or client? Now it’s time to reap the benefits of the game after you’re off the course.

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