Planning to play business golf with clients, colleagues or, gulp, the boss? Take our advice.
The EWGA San Diego chapter invited me to their spring 2014 kickoff at the beautiful Rancho Bernardo Inn, and of course when they told me there’d be golf, I was booking my flight and planning a keynote of business golf etiquette tips.
It was a lively, energetic crowd of women, most of whom admitted they were indeed golf sluts who would play anywhere, anytime, with anyone. The theme of the day: “We’ve come a long way, baby.” I suggested we could go even farther, and use golf to take us there.
I challenged the women to step out of their comfort zones — join the chapter if they hadn’t already, sign up for the championship if they never had entered, venture out to a golf course to play as a single, and, most important, get in on the office golf game with the guys.
AND THEN I SHARED MY BUSINESS GOLF ETIQUETTE DO’S AND DON’TS.
- DO: Get up early enough to put on your makeup and fit the office golf dress code so you look professional.
- DO: Join in on the day’s wagers, even if you don’t quite understand them.
- DO: Above all, be sure to stay for the 19th hole, and be prepared to buy a round if you somehow won those wagers you didn’t understand
- DON’T: Never apologize. Nobody cares about your game. They only care about their own game. They care about whether you keep up. They might be interested in how you handle adversity if your game goes south. But they don’t really care about your game.
- DON’T: Never ever take out a water ball.
Now, this last bit of advice was greeted with puzzlement with some of the newer players who weren’t sure what I meant by “water ball.” They thought I was recommending that they never pick a ball out of a pond. I meant that when you come to a hole with a water hazard, do not reach into your bag for a beat-up golf ball you hope to lose. It looks pessimistic, negative and fearful — all qualities you do not want to project in the workplace.
Besides, if you plan to make a sacrifice to the golf goddesses, it seems to me the resulting karma might be better if you make it a shiny, sparkly sacrifice, not a battered one.