It’s time to tee it up, ladies! Too many women are left out of boardrooms and corner offices across America because they don’t play golf. This may sound extreme, but I’m not kidding.
Think about it. Have you ever been asked to play in a work golf outing and politely declined? You validated your decision by saying that you “had too much going on” and could stand some quiet time in the office when everyone else was out on the links.
What you don’t realize is that you just missed out on five to eight hours of quality time with your bosses, colleagues and clients. When do you have meetings that last that long? When have you ever sat with your boss for seven hours? If you think about it like that, you can’t afford to miss out on an opportunity like this again.
The next time this happens, I implore you to say YES. Here’s why:
You don’t have to be good. You don’t even need to be kind of good. You don’t have to wear a perfectly coordinated preppy outfit. You don’t have to know the rules. You don’t have to own the latest equipment. You do, however, need to bring the following to your day on the links: a polo shirt and an appropriate set of shorts or golf skirt (read: nothing too short), a set of clubs (you can rent them at most golf courses so don’t fret), golf balls (easily purchase in the course pro shop), the wherewithal to pick up when you’re playing slowly, and a positive attitude.
Like many things in life, your golfing experience will be determined by your attitude and expectations. This is difficult for highly successful people to grasp because golf is a game of conundrums. For example, a stationary target should be simple to hit, and swinging harder should yield a longer shot. A good attitude will guarantee that you have a great day even if you couldn’t hit the ball in the air or hit it over the water. Golf is a difficult game in the beginning, which is why I recommend that people take lessons from a PGA or LPGA professional. If lessons aren’t an option right away, you can still say yes to whoever is beckoning you to join their foursome.
Corporate golf outings are commonly played in a scramble format. A “scramble” means that everyone hits a drive, then you all drop your golf ball to hit your second shot from a selected favorable location, and so on. This serves as a “no-pressure” opportunity for those who are less golf-inclined. You could be the person who sinks the putt that saves the team. YOU could be the hero in the foursome! You will never know if you sit in your office responding to e-mails all afternoon.
The best part about a golf outing is that (1) you usually get a prize of some sort for participating, and especially (2) the outing is typically followed by lunch or dinner depending on the time that you tee off. After a day on the links, this is the perfect time to unwind and relive the glory that you felt from the putt you made on No. 17. It’s also a perfect way to spend some more quality time with your group and network with others. People immediately have common ground. You can finally chat with that person that you always see at the copier because you can talk about golf! You never know, your playing partner may promote you to partner eventually — all because you made that putt!
The big thing is to have fun, enjoy the fresh air with the people around you, and keep up with the group ahead of you. To keep up the pace of play (a hot button for most golfers), pick up your golf ball if you’ve hit it more than eight times and drop it on the green. You don’t have to keep score, but be honest, as too many people sink themselves in business dealings by cheating on the golf course. If you cheat on the golf course, there’s a certainty that you can’t be trusted in more important ventures.
Here’s a little secret that all of you beginners out there must remember: We all started out with golf once, too. It was just as maddening for us as it may be for you. If you’ve whiffed the ball 90 times, we’ve whiffed it 990 times. You hit it in the water hazard. Well, there are about 10 dozen of my old golf balls in the lake at my home course. At one point, hitting it over the water was such a task that I started stocking my golf bag with range balls (I don’t endorse stealing range balls).
It’s my sincerest hope that you say YES to your next golfing opportunity. And prepare to say YES to your next promotion!
Katie Brophy is the women’s golf coach at Georgetown University. a graduate of Notre Dame with a degree in sociology, was a four-time National Golf Coach Association Scholar-Athlete, a two-time team captain and MVP at Notre Dame. She earned her master’s degree at Indiana and then finished her course work for her Ph.D. in human performance.
John Keyser is the founder and principal of Common Sense Leadership. He works with executives helping them develop organizational cultures that will produce outstanding financial results year after year, and a striving for continuous improvement, theirs and their team’s. His contact information is [email protected] and 202-236-2800.