Find the advantages of hitting the links

Here's why playing golf will help you make more money

There is no better environment for creating strong business relationships than participating in a four-hour round of golf with colleagues. Take a second and think about the advantages that playing 18 holes presents for a lower-level worker looking to make strides in their career.

For starters, golf allows for long periods of time driving around in a cart with another person. A situation like that provides a truckload of time to make conversation and get to know someone better.

If you are playing with individuals who like to sling around some cash, the game also lends itself to making small (or large) bets that offer the potential for good-natured bonding with teammates (and opponents). And of course, If alcohol should find its way into the hands of golfers during the round, then the atmosphere becomes looser and more open.

There are a broad variety of ways to utilize golf to help further your career, but all of those advantages can become potholes that derail a rising career if not employed correctly. Here are five solid lessons that will have you grabbing your clubs and sharpening your short game to help boost your career.

1) Honesty is the best policy for showing your character

Golf is the sport that people feel most comfortable to cheat at while playing without worrying about being called out for a penalty. But by cheating, amateurs rob themselves of one of the cooler aspects of golf. The sport is the rare game that allows a golfer to compete against themselves while they are battling against someone else.

But when playing with business associates, honesty can be the best policy because it offers bosses insight into your character. As Julian Small, the CEO of the Wentworth Golf Club in London told The Economist, "When you do business with people, you need to know more about them." The only way to know more about a person is to spend time with them where they have a chance to conversate and observe people. Golf offers the perfect venue for that interaction.

Now we all know that little things add up when you are working toward a career goal. Whether it be spending extra time at work or asking for more responsibility, the higher-ups take notice when you commit to your job. So, it may seem like an insignificant thing to cut a stroke here or use your foot wedge to move a ball from behind a tree, but realize that your boss may be sizing you up while you do it.

2) Finding a way to turn the "No" into a "Yes"

Midway through season four of the hit comedy sitcom, The Office, there was an episode titled "Job Fair." In the episode, paper salesman Jim, played by John Krasinski, takes a potential client, Phil, onto the links in the hopes of sealing a new business deal. On top of the hilarious sight gags (at one point Jim's co-worker Andy runs a cart into a sand bunker and is ejected), there is a solid message for all younger associates on their own for the first time.

When Jim attempts to make some headway with the client on switching paper companies, he's turned down quickly. But after watching Phil take six shots to get out of the sand trap, Jim later compliments him on not picking up the ball and quitting. He then tells Phil that just like he didn't quit in the bunker with his wedges, Jim won't stop trying to get his business. And because it is a television show, Jim gets the new contract. But just because the lesson involves some Hollywood magic doesn't mean that using perseverance can't get you what you want.

The great thing about golf is that you don't have to press your point immediately. Throughout the long round, you will have several opportunities to lay the groundwork for a stronger relationship. Perhaps you can't close the deal in one afternoon, but you'll see opportunities, like Jim, to let the client know that you won't stop trying to help them better their business.

3) Everyone wants to talk about themselves

If you are struggling to make a connection with a client or associate, be patient and calm. Nothing strangles conversation more than having someone who is tense or consistently pressing within the group. The golf course provides a haven for informal discussions. No longer are people wearing suits and ties and stuffed into a boardroom. Instead, they are breathing fresh air and wearing clothing that is lightweight and relaxing.

Yashish Dahiya, the CEO of Policybazaar.com, told Entrepreneur India that the golf course was the perfect place for long, casual conversations that were necessary to his business. "The semi-formal set-up of a golf course allows me to interact about several opportunities at length," Dahiya said. "Also, professionals and businessmen alike are more open with the opinions and reviews in this setup in comparison to a boardroom, which can be of great value to any entrepreneurial venture."

Never forget that the majority of people enjoy talking about their life. Maybe they have kids or grandkids or went to a prestigious college. The subjects are limitless for conversation. Yes, it can be hard to crack someone who appears guarded with details of their life, but there is always a conversation to be had that opens the door to broader discussions.

Once you make a connection, then you can find a path to bringing up business. Most people play golf to leave their troubles behind. They want a chunk of time that can relieve stress and bring some joy into their lives. Golf is the outlet that accomplishes those things in most businessmen. If you can learn proper timing, then the club can be a great too for future business.

4) Be open to what a day at the course can bring you

One of the worst mistakes you can make when hitting the links with business on your mind is becoming too narrow with your focus. Perhaps you have the intention of making inroads with a new client, or you are hoping you'll get a chance to talk to your boss about more responsibility, but the day never really works in your favor, and you strike out. Some individuals will look at the day as a bust and simply give up on the numerous opportunities for additional networking. This curveball is why you always have to be open for what a day at the club could bring you.

Most professionals encourage entrepreneurs to relax on the golf course and not push business. Instead, focus on developing the relationships of the people around you. No one can ever claim that their time at the course has been a wasteful use of resources because we can't say definitively that the people we meet won't be close friends or future business partners.

By pressing your associates or potential clients into business talk, you run the risk of alienating them quickly. So instead of shooting for the quick sale, play the long game when you find yourself in a group on the golf course. Build relationships and seek mentors that can help guide your career. By doing this, you assure that the business will one day take care of itself.

5) Know what you are doing on the course

It may seem like an obvious thing, but all of the business acumen and training in the world won't help you if you are a moron on the golf course. Remember, other golfers will always excuse a man that plays golf poorly, but they won't tolerate a player who doesn't know what the hell they are doing on the links.

Obvious things to avoid include being loud, drinking too much, and dressing inappropriately. But you also need to make sure that you know the unwritten rules of the game of golf. You can really ruin a day at the course by hitting out of turn, standing on someone's putting line or making noise while someone is trying to hit the golf ball. Always be ready to hit your shot and if you lose a golf ball, don't spend twenty minutes looking for it.

If you decide to play for money and you are fortunate to win, don't celebrate or boast about your winnings, especially if you took money from your boss or a client. Instead, take that money and buy drinks for the group, or if the haul is big enough, kick in for dinner. Believe me, the money will come back to you ten-fold if you can close a sale later on with the client.

Conclusion

The golf course can be a great place to further your career and deepen relationships that could lead to promotions and new experiences. These benefits only happen if you use your time at the golf course wisely. Relax and enjoy the day, while always keeping your eye on the prize that awaits you if you handle your business the right way.


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The national media can't help themselves when it comes to the Astros. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Barely two weeks after the Houston Astros drew millions (upon hundreds of thousands) to a downtown victory parade, ESPN’s Jeff Passan posted an exclusive, “behind-the-scenes” look Tuesday at the “turmoil” surrounding the Astros.

Passan said there was confusion and disarray – from players to coaches to the front office – trying to figure out what was going on with the, oh yeah, World Series champions.

Passan described the Astros organization as “chaotic,” filled with intrigue with one “Hall of Fame advisor with a reputation for yelling at people” and others questioning the direction of team leadership. Bottom line: the Astros were in crisis in 2022.

“Is the team that reached six American League Championship Series, four World Series and won a pair of championships in the last half-dozen seasons really considering pivoting from the analytics-heavy approach that built the team into a monster? Without (James) Click, who will shepherd the team forward? And is the answer to that question perhaps the person (owner Jim Crane) already at the center of the front-office dysfunction?”

What the hell is this guy talking about?

Of course the Astros have decisions to make to stay on top in 2023 and beyond. But they’re first place problems. There are 29 other MLB teams that wished they were as dysfunctional as the Houston Astros.

Nothing succeeds like success, and the person at the center of the Astros alleged dysfunction seems to be making all the right moves.

“Analytics-heavy approach?” Take a look at Dusty Baker in the Astros dugout. How often do you see him hypnotized staring at an iPad Pro? Wasn’t that cranky fan’s complaint, that Baker made some perplexing decisions based on his gut instead of Click’s algorithms? The Astros won 106 regular-season games and roared through the post-season taking no prisoners.

If that’s turmoil – give me turmoil

Obviously there were conflicts between general manager Click and owner Crane. And now Click is gone. This isn’t the first time a boss extended best wishes to a former employee in their future endeavors. That’s just what a MLB general manager is, an employee. While this is the first time in almost 75 years that the GM of a World Series champion was shown the door, it happened this time.

Squabbles happen in the workplace. Not everybody likes their boss. Did Passan like Mr. ESPN when he apologized for a snarky off-color remark he made about MLB owners on a company podcast? Did Pam Beesly like Michael Scott when she found out he was dating her mother – and he promised to continue dating her “even harder?” This is why we have HR departments.

Sometimes it’s better for both parties when the employee, even a high-up general manager, moves on to a place where he or she (Miami has a female gm, Kim Ng, the first) is more comfortable.

Do not worry for Click. He will be snapped up by a team before teams head to spring training. He’s highly respected and has a track record of winning.

And absolutely do not cry for the Astros. They are loaded now with tens of millions to spare for free agents. What veteran wouldn’t want to play for the Astros where they can capture a World Series ring and play for an owner willing to spend money, with an experienced players-manager, supported by adoring fans in a beautiful air conditioned ballpark in a state with no income tax?

This is a team that lost All-Stars Gerrit Cole, George Springer, Carlos Correa, Charlie Morton and other starters in recent years and just won the World Series. The said goodbye to a shortstop who wanted $35 million a year, replaced him with a 24-year-old rookie (not a kid, he just looks like one) who played barely more than one season’s worth of minor league ball and wound up winning the World Series MVP, a Gold Glove and a shift working the drive-thru window at Raining Cane’s.

The Astros have an excellent promotions department, comparatively reasonable ticket prices, food that gets better every year, close-by street parking, and a terrific broadcast crew.

And a tight-knit group of players who are running out of fingers for championship rings.

Yeah, turmoil.

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