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Etiquette on Teeing Off For Business

It has often been said that more business is conducted on the golf course than in the office.  Whether or not that is true is subject to debate.  However, there is no doubt that a significant amount of “business” and business talk is conducted on the golf course.  I’ve conducted a fair amount of it there myself.

The nature of the game of golf gives you so much time with a client, employees, prospects, or even job applicants.  It may be difficult to schedule a “5 hour meeting”, but with golf you’re spending nearly that much time (or longer) with an individual.  Golf is a great way to build relationships and really discover who you are going to or are doing business with.  Here’s some tips on how to conduct yourself on the golf course to insure you build the right relationships.

1.  Choose the Right Course.  If you’re the host, make sure you select a course that is appropriate to    your guests level of play.

2.  Dress Appropriately.T-shirts and tank tops (no matter how hot) are not appropriate for most courses. Dress in nice slacks or shorts with matching golf shirt.  Look sharp without overdoing it.

3.  Set the “Tone” of Play.  Set the tone when you schedule the match. Restate your intentions before you go to the first tee.

4.  Keep the Conversation Casual.  Remember you are out to build relationships first, and sell second. If you try to be too aggressive you not only ruin what could be a good day on the course, but run the risk of your guest wanting to leave early.

5.  Keep your Cell Phone Off.  Focus on your guest.  There is nothing that could be more annoying to your guest than you constantly stopping to take a phone call.  Taking a call could also slow down play and interrupt ones “flow of play”.

6.  Keep Your Cool.  Golf can be a frustrating game, but tossing a club because of a bad shot says a lot about how you might react in a real crisis.  It also says the same about your guest.

7.  Compliment Judiciously.  When someone make a good shot, compliment them.  However, you don’t want to go overboard otherwise your compliments may be taken as patronizing rather than uplifting.

8.  Always Be Gracious.  Help your guest find out-of-bounds balls.  Pick up their clubs and be “quick” to tend the flag.  Don’t make a big issue on the course if you note your guest has violated a rule; kindly make them aware of their violation and move on.

9.  Never, Never, Cheat.  Little things can tell a lot. Keep  an accurate count of your strokes; hit your ball from where it lies (unless your partner agrees that it can be moved). These are some of the “ethical issues” you face on the course that can make or break a relationship.

10. Enjoy the 19th Hole, but Don’t Sink in It.  One too many rounds could lead to disaster. Always maintain control self-control,  and watch that your guests doesn’t become too indulgent.

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