Here in Houston, the best months to play golf tend to be March/April/May and September/October. Spring is here and Corporate/Charity Golf is back!
In a world of impersonal business communication filled with faxes, cell phones, voice mail, and e-mail, the development of personal relationships has become more valuable than ever. Understanding the benefits golf can provide in business can give you a competitive edge as a round of golf offers an opportunity to build a personal relationship with business clients or colleagues by spending 4-5 hours in a relaxed setting with people who otherwise can be difficult to reach on the phone.
Golf and business have become inseparable for many business executives and many believe playing golf is a good way to make new business contacts.
Many also believe that the way a person plays golf is very similar to how he/she conducts business affairs:
*The practices in golf usually parallel those in business.
*Golf gives you time to get to know a person’s true character.
*Golf is an ethical game, like business.
*Golf and business demonstrate the same level of competitiveness.
Golf is a game that combines physical skill with mental stamina. To succeed in this sport, you need to develop confidence in your playing ability and your place on the golf course. Doing this isn’t any different than applying the discipline needed to succeed in business. However, this game is steeped in tradition. The social skills you exhibit can be just as important as the physical skills you develop. Knowledge of the basic rules of golf and an understanding of appropriate social behavior and etiquette are essential.
Understanding the following will help you to become a knowledgeable, courteous, and enjoyable fellow competitor.
Call the golf shop and get the following information:
*club and course policies
*dress code for golf and dining
*locker room availability and procedures
Establish location and time to meet.
DOLLARS AND SENSE
*If you plan on paying for everyone, arrive early and take care of it.
*Bring enough cash or have a check/credit card to pay for your round and incidentals—many private clubs do not even take cash while many public courses may only take cash—so be prepared to write your host/hostess a check if necessary.
*Make sure you have enough singles to tip bag handlers and locker room attendants. Caddies also require a tip at the end of the round, check with the golf shop for the appropriate amount.
ARRIVAL AT THE COURSE
*Punctuality: arrive at the course well in advance of your tee time
*Register: in the golf shop and take care of necessary items
ON THE FIRST TEE
*Reminder: Your tee time is the time the first player in your group tees off. Make sure you have all essential supplies (scorecard, pencil, tees, golf balls). Most times, there will be a starter at the first tee to advise you when it is appropriate to tee off.
ORDER OF PLAY
*On the first tee: decided by players in the group
*On the fairway and green: the person farthest from the hole hits first and so on
*On the tees of remaining holes: the player with the lowest score from the previous hole hits first and so on
ON THE TEE
*Be ready to hit
*Avoid taking numerous practice swings
*Quiet on the tee—refrain from talking and moving while others are hitting
*Pay attention to other player’s shots—it creates a friendly atmosphere by complimenting good shots and helping to locate errant shots
IN THE FAIRWAY
*Farthest from the hole hits first—be ready
*Decide on yardage and club selection quickly—avoid waiting until it’s your turn to begin the process—in most instances you can decide while you wait
*Take care of all divots
*Avoid taking numerous practice swings
IN THE WOODS, WATER, OR OTHER UNDESIRABLE PLACES
*Take another ball with you to drop
*Avoid looking for a ball longer than 2 minutes
*Help look for lost balls
*Resist hitting impossible shots
ON THE GREEN
*Farthest from the hole goes first
*Closest to the hole tends the flag for other players upon request
*Mark your golf ball
*Avoid stepping on the line of another player’s putt
*Line is defined as the area between the ball and the hole
*Stand where you will be the least noticeable—make sure your shadow does not interfere with any putt
*Be quiet and do not move during all putts
*First player to roll the ball into the hole is in charge of the flagstick—replace it after all players have holed out
*Repair your ball mark
*Avoid stepping on the hole or digging the ball out of the cup with your putter—it ruins the hole
*Once everyone has holed out, move quickly off the green—keep an eye out for clubs left greenside
*Record your scores on the way to the next hole
*Different courses have different policies
*Obey all cart rules and follow all cart signs
*Determine if you can drive the cart on the course or if you must remain on the cart path
*Keep all carts behind all players and well clear of all tees, greens, bunkers, and other hazards
*Never leave the carts in front of the green—park carts behind the green in the direction of the next tee
*Be award of others hitting—stop and let them hit
SPEED OF PLAY/SAFE PLAY
*New golfers are always welcome if they are not seen to be holding up the play of others on the golf course
*While a player should not feel rushed, it is important to maintain a steady pace of play—keep up with the group ahead and allow the group waiting behind you to play through if there is an opening in front of you
*Don’t be embarrassed to pick up your ball before the hole is completed—it is better to start again on the next hole and more enjoyable for you and your fellow competitors, especially in a scramble event
*Remain a safe distance from your fellow competitor when either you or they are swinging—it is best to stand motionless and in full view of the person striking the ball
*Never hit the ball until all of the players in the group ahead of you are out of range
*You must shout “fore” if you think your ball could strike another player anywhere on the golf course
APPROPRIATE GOLF ATTIRE
*Best bet is to dress conservatively—golf is a game of great tradition and dress is an integral part—many courses have specific dress codes but generally:
*Appropriate: collared shirts, slacks, bermuda length shorts, golf shoes with soft-spikes, sweaters, vests
*Inappropriate: denim, short shorts, tank tops tennis attire, non-golf shoes, lycra, gym shorts, sweats, jogging outfits
Select golf clubs (with the help of your PGA or LPGA Professionals) that are right for you. You will typically have a maximum of 14 clubs: 4 woods with headcovers, 9 irons, and a putter, but you can play with less! The lower the number on the club, the lower and farther you will hit the ball. The higher numbered clubs will create higher trajectory and shorter distance. Other items you should carry in your golf bag:
*glove, tees, divot repair tool, golf balls, towel, sunscreen, bug repellant, hat/visor, rain jacket/suit, aspirin, Band-Aids, umbrella
COMMON CORPORATE GOLF GAMES
*Scramble: all players tee off and then each player in the group hits from the location of the best shot
*Best Ball: each player plays their own ball throughout the round and the best score of the group on each hole is recorded as the team score
*Birdie: a score of one shot under par for the hole
*Bite: quick stopping action of the ball on a green
*Bogey: a score of one shot over par for the hole
*Bunker: a prepared area of ground filled with sand
*Eagle: a score of 2 under par for the hole
*Fat: striking the ground with your club before you hit the ball
*Fore: a cry of warning issued when it appears that a struck ball could be a danger to another individual
*Gimme: your opponent concedes a putt—the stroke must still be counted even though not executed
*Gross: the actual number of strokes taken in a round
*Handicap: an equalizing system that allows player of varying skills to compete with each other
*Hazard: an area filled with sand or water
*Hook: for a right handed player, a ball that curves from right to left
*Index: a number indicative of a player’s skill level—it is used to compute the player’s handicap on a specific course
*Marker: an object used to identify the precise location of a ball on the putting green
*Mulligan: in friendly matches, a player may have an opportunity to re-hit a shot
*19th Hole: an idiom for a place to convene after a round of golf
*OB: out of bounds
*Par: the score you should make; allowing two strokes on the putting green
*Slice: for a right handed player, a ball that curves left to right
*Thin: when a club strikes only the top portion of the ball, causing lower than desired trajectory
*Trajectory: the loft and flight pattern of the ball
*Whiff: a stroke that completely misses the ball but must be counted towards your score
You do not need to be a “great golfer” to combine business and pleasure on the golf course. Be a “great person” to golf with and you, as well as your fellow corporate golfers, will enjoy playing this great game we all love so much.
“Never hurry, never worry, and always remember to smell the flowers along the way.” –Walter Hagn
LPGA Master Professional/PGA Honorary Director Deb Vangellow holds both a BA and a Master Of Science Degree in Health/Physical Education/Coaching and Educational Leadership/Psychology from the University of Northern Iowa and Miami (Ohio) respectively. She currently is the Director Of Instruction at Riverbend Country Club in Houston, Texas. Deb is the 2012 LPGA National Teacher Of The Year, an LPGA, Golf Digest Woman, and Golf For Women “Top 50” Teacher, a Golf Digest and GOLF Magazine “Top Regional/Best in State” Teacher”, a US KIDS GOLF “Top 50 Master Kids Teacher” and a GRAA “Elite Top Growth Of The Game Professional”. She serves as the National President of the LPGA Teaching And Club Professionals and is a longtime lead instructor in the LPGA Global Education Program in the U.S. and Asia. An educator/coach who offers wellness based developmental programming integrated into her “student centered” philosophy; Deb can be reached at online at www.debvangellowgolf.com.
By: Deb Vangellow, LPGA Master Professional