Many deals are made across tables in boardrooms, true. However, oftentimes the boardroom falls second to the golf course in deal-making. Here’s why: According to an informative article from the Economist, the reason why the golf course is where deals are made is because much of a person’s character and practices can be assessed via a four hour game of golf.
During the four hours allotted for a typical golf game, the space for business lies in that, though there is a large allocation of time for the game, little of that time is actually spent hitting the golf ball. Much of the time spent playing golf is actually spent standing, waiting, walking, or riding from hole to hole. This makes for ample time to for business talk.
In addition to the benefit of talk-time, the pacing and very nature of golf allows for the space to assess character. “When you do business with people, you need to know more about them,” says Julian Small, CEO of Wentworth Golf Club. Golf rewards players who remain calm under pressure, never lose their temper, and think strategically—attributes that are all essential in business.
Honesty is another facet of golf that can be critical in deal-making. In golf’s culture, it is essentially easy to cheat by moving your ball when no one is watching. Though this is a huge golfing faux pas, it’s possible. To be known as a cheater in golf is to be considered untrustworthy, and untrustworthy business partners are rarely—if ever—solicited. Honest golfers call themselves out, even when their error goes unnoticed and a fortune is on the line. Be mindful.
In a recent study, it was noted that non-golfing bosses are paid 17% less than their counterparts. This could be attributed to the fact that they are missing out on insight, deals, and business training by avoiding the green.
The game of golf breeds strategic thinking, a cool head, patience, and extreme competitiveness. Practice cultivating these attributes, and you could be simultaneously cultivating your corner office. This isn’t the only way to climb that corporate ladder, but it certainly couldn’t hurt.
Upgrade your business savvy at the Black Enterprise Golf & Tennis Challenge, September 1-4, at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Register now.
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