In many western world markets, golf is considered almost mandatory for career growth, especially among men. Indeed some contracts of employment obligate senior executives to join posh country clubs and play golf!
The debate as to whether golf as a sport is indeed the “sport of business” is unlikely to end, but it goes without saying that it is much easier to have a wonderful four to five hour long conversation with your boss, mentor or client over a round of golf as opposed to say tennis or badminton of football for that matter.
The very nature of the game of golf allows for long conversations and over an extended period of time. It is hardly conducive to discuss business from opposite sides of a tennis court!
Controversial US leader, President Donald Trump once claimed that his predecessor Barack Obama played more golf than Tiger Woods; but since taking office, he has spent a substantial amount of time on his own golf clubs in Florida and Virginia and is reported to have played way more golf than Mr Obama at this stage of his presidency.
Does Mr Trump conduct business on the golf course?
Earlier this year, when the President hosted Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, they played golf in Florida; the same did not happen when he hosted Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Indeed in China golf and golfers have come under increasing attack from the government with several courses shut down and many government executives fired for playing golf during working hours!
According to Forbes Magazine, women who play golf do really get the corner office. The magazine went on to say that it was important for business executives to schedule time for golf claiming the fresh air and connection with nature inspires business creativity.
Golf as a sport offers the unique opportunity to engage and showcase strategy and practice social skills in numerous ways. Indeed, golf often mimics real life circumstances. Golf teaches patience – it is much harder than it looks, much like entrepreneurship, it is strategic, it demands patience, imagination and creativity, it tests your spirit and resilience, it demands physical fitness and sharp mental focus.
Golfers face many varying elements even when they play the same golf course over and over again; the lie of the land varies, you get different lies each time, the weather is unpredictable, nothing seems to be the same from day to day – very much like business – the environment is always in motion, changing from day to day.
Away from the golf course itself, the often ultra-modern dapper golf clubhouses offer the perfect networking hubs. With their strict dress codes and code of conduct, clubhouses provide the atmosphere to meet hard-to-find C-suite executives, government leadership and business moguls.
So, if you are a young business executive, looking to improve your lot in life, join a golf club, learn the game, be on your best behaviour and watch your career soar! Well that is the theory!