Golf course etiquette

Carl Williams, founder of Sports & Entertainment, Inc., an L.A.-based company that manages several NBA players, makes time for a round of golf when he’s traveling on business. “I’ll go by myself and get put on with a threesome looking for a fourth person. By the end of the game, you’ve exchanged business cards and numbers.” But there is an art to smoothing the game of golf into business. Consider this:

  • Select the type of course. Some public courses are well managed and groomed, but you may want the privacy and perks of a private club. If you’re not a great player, don’t pick a tough course.
  • Learn all you can about the course before signing up a potential client to play there with you; you don’t want any surprises.
  • Know the rules of the game. Be prepared to play when it’s your turn. As soon as the previously played ball has come to a stop, be ready to swing.
  • Don’t play slow. Four golfers who don’t normally break 100 should finish in four hours or less.
  • Talk only between holes, not between swings, and know what you want to discuss before the game.
  • Suggest a drink in the club afterward, something Williams always does. “It gives you more time to bond with the people you’ve played with,” he says.
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