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How to Play Golf and Make Money


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									by: Suzanne Woo

Although most of us dont get the chance to win a million dollars by playing in the final group on
Sunday, we can still play golf and make lots of money. Unlike most other sports, golf is the
game of business. Men and women across the globe, play the game as both recreation, and as a
way of doing business. From pro tours to recreational golfers worldwide, golf is truly an
international sport.

As a business golf speaker, consultant, and author, I teach business professionals how they can
utilize golf to strengthen their business relationships and increase sales. I discovered the power
of business golf while I was a practicing attorney in San Francisco specializing in commercial
real estate transactions.

Whether talking with clients, or at a networking event, I always felt the rapport level deepened
when the conversation turned to golf. Golfers always seem to enjoy talking about the game,
whether its their own, or the great shot they saw on television by a tour pro.

Here are six tips on how you can play golf and make money. For those of you who play already,
choose one or two and make them a part of your business golf game. If you dont play yet, I hope
theyll inspire you to take up the game.

Golf & Money-Making Tip #1: Schedule Your Golf!

If you dont play golf often, or dont know how to play at all, youre less likely to obtain the
benefits of playing business golf. Its like the lottery. If you dont buy a ticket, youll never win the

One obstacle for many people is that they believe they dont have time to play. If time is an issue
for you, then make it a goal, schedule time in your organizer or PDA for a reasonable number of
rounds of golf or practice sessions you want to have per month. Perhaps you want to play a
business golf round once a month (when weather permits) and spend 30-45 minutes per week at
a driving range.

If you fine-tune your swing during the winter, youll be ready for golf in the spring. One way to
fit golf into your schedule: put a few irons, your 3-wood, and putter in the trunk of your car. The
next time youre stuck in traffic or have time in between appointments, stop at a local golf course
or driving range, and have a practice session. It beats sitting in traffic and getting road rage.

If you dont play golf yet, winter is the best time to learn how to play. Why? Golf professionals at
your local golf course usually have more time for you. During the peak summer days, the
professional is in high demand, with lessons scheduled back-to-back, and will be less inclined or
unable to spend extra time with you. Ask some golfing friends for referrals to a local golf
professional at a covered or indoor driving range. If you take lessons now, youll be ready to hit
the course when everyone else is ready to play.
Its also a good time to read about golf, so you can become familiar with the language, etiquette,
and rules of the game. For an easy-to-read primer on the game, check out my book, On Course
for Business (Wiley). Whether youre a beginner or an experienced golfer, youll find a nugget or
two of information that will help you make your business golf rounds more profitable.

Golf and Money-Making Tip #2: Maximize Your Links on the Links

The beauty of a golf round with clients and prospects is its five hours of soft selling who you are,
your company, and what you know. Each golfer spends only a total of a few minutes actually
hitting the ball. The rest of the time is spent talking and getting to know one anothers
background, personality, and character in a relaxed atmosphere.

Unlike tennis where youre across the net from one another, golf allows you to be with your
playing partners. Golf also provides better relationship-building opportunities because youre not
hitting a shot for your playing partner to miss. If youre playing business golf properly, you
should be thrilled when your client hits a good shot and plays well.

Play more golf with clients, prospects, and referral sources to build and deepen your business

Golf & Money-Making Tip #3: Golf Never Lies

When talking to sales teams about playing business golf, I emphasize the importance of playing
with proper etiquette and adherence to the rules of golf. As noted in Tip #2, youre with your
client and prospect for about five hours. During that time you and your playing partners have a
chance to watch each other in action. They might notice whether you step on a players putting
line, talk while someone is hitting, or inadvertently cheat in some way.

Playing a round of golf should solidify your business relationships. When speak ing to groups, I
ask participants how they feel when they play with someone who plays with poor etiquette or
cheats during a round of golf. Most of them agree that its a turn-off to have to play under those
circumstances, and they do so only to maintain the business. Other business golfers, such as
financial consultants, who are concerned with a clients integrity and reasonableness of
expectations, have said they wont do business with that person if they dont enjoy their round of
golf. And, if they cheat, theyll find another client that they can trust.

To make a positive impression about who you are and the company you work for, play your
business golf rounds with proper etiquette and know the basic rules of golf. You dont want to
sabotage your business relationships when youre trying to solidify them.

Golf & Money-Making Tip #4: Dont Bet with Your Playing Partners

I played a round of golf with three business associates/friends where a small bet for a round of
drinks on the back nine turned ugly. One players fierce competitiveness came out and you could
feel the tension on every tee and green. It was a shock to my friend and me as we felt the change
in personality over a simple bet for drinks.
If youre playing golf for business with clients or prospects, dont suggest a bet. It creates a win-
lose feeling, which isnt what you want during a business golf round. If your playing partner
suggests a wager, and you cant get out of making one, then make it a small wager like drinks or
lunch, rather than hard cash. Regardless of the wager, make sure youre comfortable losing, and
assume youve lost the bet. That way your competitiveness wont come out during the round and
sabotage your relationship-building goal of the round.

Remember your business golf rounds are a time to deepen your relationshipsits not a time to try
to play your best round of golf to beat your playing partners.

Golf & Money-Making Tip #5: Play Golf as a Single

A client told me that she started to sign up for golf tournaments as a single. She was excited
because her technique workedshe got a new client worth about $1 million dollars!

As a single player, she entered a golf tournament, which was sponsored by her trade association
in the credit card industry. She was teamed with three others, and fortuitously shared a cart with
a business owner. While playing together, she learned about his business and his business needs.
As the tournament activities were winding down, she mentioned that she thought her company
had some solutions for him and asked if she could call to talk about it. After a couple of
meetings, she sold him on her services and her company, and they had a dealall thanks to a round
of golf.

Keep in your golf bag a business card holder with a few crisp cards. You never know whom you
might meet on the golf course.

Golf & Money-Making Tip #6: Become a Golf Mentor

If youre an experienced golfer, you might remember when you first started to learn the game.
Did you feel intimidated by it allthe language, the etiquette, the customs, and the lik e? I can
recall my feelings of uncertainty when I first played on a golf course. I didnt know what the
different colored tees meant and which set I was supposed to hit from? How far could I hit the
ball? What did all of the numbers on the scorecard mean? Fortunately, I had some friends who
helped me along the way. They made my first round of golf an enjoyable learning experience
and told me not to worry about my score.

If you have a colleague, a client, a referral source, or someone you think could benefit from
learning how to play golf, volunteer to be his or her golf mentor. You can start with the basics
such as helping him find a golf instructor for swing lessons. You can offer her some tips on the
language, the rules of the game, and how to play with proper etiquette. You might also want to
have a practice session at a driving range, so both of you can work on your swings and putting

Youll solidify your working relationship, and likely learn something new about the game. And,
to thank you for your time and energy, the person youve helped play this great game will likely
thank you with more referrals or business.
See You at the First Tee

I hope youve enjoyed these tips on how you can play golf and make lots of money. Golf truly
provides a unique opportunity to build your business while you get some fresh air and exercise. I
hope to see you at the first tee, or at least to keep in touch with BizGolf E-Tips, my bi-weekly
business golf tips.

If you have any thoughts about these tips (hate 'em, love 'em or have a tip to share), please send
me an email at I welcome any opportunity to chat about golf and business!
Or, to learn more about the business golf services that I provide, visit

This article was posted on March 29, 2005

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