The Business OF Golf -“Six Deadly Sins” Part I

By Allen Bonk

Part II of Game Day. Today we’re going to discuss the first three of what I call…”The Six Deadly Sins.” These are the behaviors that some of us ‘think’ are okay but if you really value your client and the growing relationship, you’ll heed my guidance.

There are many ways to jeopardize and ruin potential deals on the golf course. Hopefully through what you’ve learned so far in the past segments, I can help you eliminate most of them. What we don’t want to do is unwittingly damage the relationship, because of some seemingly insignificant (to you) habit or lifestyle choice.

There are six distinct areas we need to cover here:  gambling/betting, smoking, drinking, swearing, chewing tobacco and gender based chauvinism. I’ll cover the first three in this segment and the last three next time.

Gambling or Betting:
There are all kinds of ways to ‘bet’ on the golf course.  Some call it ‘fun,’ some call it ‘tradition.’ I call it ‘dangerous’…at least until you’ve developed a real relationship with your client! I can’t stress this enough.  There are many advocates of ‘Business Golf’ that will tell you ‘gambling is just fine’ and that it adds an element of ‘challenge and competition’ to the round.

My position is that in ‘Business Golf’ it is just not a good practice to get into.  Even the most innocent of bets can turn ugly if they don’t go in the right person’s favor.  Look at it this way; someone always loses in a betting game.  Don’t forget that. Do you really want your client’s parting memories to be of him or her handing over the $20 they lost to you in the bet?
Again my recommendation is not to do it.  If you absolutely must bet then do it gracefully and in small amounts.  Also ensure that you remember to pay off any debts at the 18th hole.  Nothing will be viewed more distastefully than if your playing partner/s need to remind you to “pay up.”

Smoking:
Is only acceptable if your client smokes.  There is nothing worse than being around a smoker if you don’t smoke.  Don’t for a moment assume its ‘ok because you’re outside.’  It’s not and smoking is one of those things that can be an instant deal breaker.  If you smoke, sorry but unless you want to risk the business and the relationship, don’t do it around your guest, (not even within visible range) unless he or she is a smoker and lights up first.

Oh, and cigars fall into the same category by the way.

Drinking:
There’s a saying that goes something like this, “More deals are lost in the drink than are golf balls.” Many players still think it’s cool to have a beer on every other hole or 2 or 3 at the turn. My advice to you is to refrain. No matter how much you may want to, no matter how tempting it may be and no matter if your guest has one, we suggest you refrain.

Again, you need to view this day as not just a day on the golf course but as a presentation of you, your company and your professionalism.  Would you order at beer at lunch if you were meeting a potential client for the first time?  Probably not but if you see nothing wrong with that then you need to rethink your strategy there as well.

In our main Quantum Business Golf Program there is a module I teach on nutrition. A big part of why you may lose focus and energy on the back nine is that all too often we’re lured into that beer and hot dog at the turn.  The low nutritional value in those foods causes a sugar crash. Don’t get caught in that trap.  Have a quality sports drink instead or something that will replace your electrolytes and is not full of empty carbs.

In addition it’s all too easy to have more than one and that can be a disaster waiting to happen, never mind the challenges of driving after the round.  Remember that saying, “More deals are lost in the drink than are golf balls.”

Well, that’s it for this segment. My goal here is to simply educate and help you avoid some of the more critical pitfalls that I’ve seen all too often out there. Till next time, “Hit em’ straight and far!”

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