Ten Top Tips you need to Succeed in Business Golf

Every golfer has, at one point or another, dreamed of playing a round of golf on company money for work purposes. It’s the perfect mixture of work and pleasure. Some lucky people actually get to play business golf – but playing business golf and playing business golf well are two completely different things. We’ve written a list of ten tips to help you succeed both on and off the course.

  1. Etiquette – etiquette is a big part of golf, and an even bigger part of business golf. You should always strive to show your professional side on the course when playing business golf as it’s still a formal occasion, despite the more casual setting. Kicking your ball out of a bad spot, bending the rules or knocking a shot off your score might make you seem like a better player, but if you get found out it will only result in a lack of trust – a fundamental component of business

  2. Business etiquette - respect a 3-hole buffer and don’t talk about business before the 3rd hole or after the 15th. You should also wait for it to come up naturally – don’t force the subject

  3. Dress code- playing golf with clients will give you the chance to play different courses, and it’s important to make sure you’re dressed for the course – there’s nothing more unprofessional than turning up in the wrong clothes and either having to change or go home. Find out what the dress code is before you get to the club and dress accordingly

  4. Tees – let the person you’re playing with choose the tees you play from. This allows them to dictate the competitiveness of the game and how it will be played, rather than having to play from tees you’ve decided which they might not be comfortable with

  5. Gameplay – “Don’t feel like being a great golfer is a necessity to taking part in business golf” says the Business Golf Network. Whilst it might be great to have the round of your life, your playing partner (more than likely) won’t be expecting you to be the next undiscovered Tiger Woods. Play honestly, and don’t make any apologies for your play

  6. Pace of play – nobody likes a slow player. Most people will play quickly enough and it won’t be an issue, but make sure you’re not the person taking ten minutes to hit a shot and holding up the rest of the course

  7. Keep calm – as well as slow play, watch out for tempers when it doesn’t go to plan. Although you might get away with the odd piece of choice language when playing with friends, swearing blind in-front of a potential client won’t show off your best side

  8. On the green – as well as the usual etiquette of the game – keeping your shadow off your partner’s putting line, not moving during a shot, tending the flag etc. – don’t be mean with the gimmes. It’s an act of trust and can help with speed of play

  9. Winning – should you win or lose a game of business golf? Neither – you should simply play fairly. Some clients/opponents will be much more competitive than others, but it’s more important to play to the best of your ability than it is to win or lose. Intentionally hitting a bad shot, missing an easy putt or obviously playing badly will be potentially insulting to a client, and will work against you (unless your partner is incredibly competitive and a sore loser)

  10. The 19th hole - as tempting as it might be to have a drink, don’t have one unless the person you’re playing with does. You’ve made it all the way to the end of the game without showing yourself up – don’t fall at the final hurdle

  11. What do you think?

    We recently conducted a survey to find out how many of our fans play business golf, and what they think of it. We found that only 32% of respondents play business golf as part of their work culture [and] of these people; a shocking 61% didn’t think enough was being done to encourage women to play. As we discussed in a previous blog post, not enough women play business golf, and the lack of inclusion of women is a major answer cited in explaining the low numbers of female players
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    Final tips

    Along with etiquette, there are some tips to remember when you’re networking with potential clients. James Andrew, Equipment Buyer at OnlineGolf, has some top tips for when you’re on the course with a client:
    • Meetings on the course are a great way of building relationships as it’s generally a neutral environment
    • It’s important to make all clients feel important (whatever level of business you do with them) to help with negotiations
    • Try to think like a consumer, take personal emotion out of it and just think commercially

Do you play business golf? What would your tips be?