as a professional golfer, not as senior vice president and managing director for Chubb & Son Inc., one of the country’s most successful property and casualty insurance companies. And that doesn’t even begin to explain how much Sy Green loves golf.
Green, 55, carries an 11 handicap and plays at least twice a week. He is keenly competitive, although he won’t admit it if you ask him. And like a growing number of other African Americans, he understands and appreciates that golf is a common denominator for many successful businessmen. “Golf makes for a way of warming up a situation where you have strangers involved,” he says. “It creates a kind of comfort level. If you
figure that in a round of golf, including lunch and a drink afterward, you’re engaged with a person for a minimum of five to six hours. You can learn a lot about a person, their business and how they’re going to react in a lot of different circumstances. I encourage my staff to learn golf, particularly the female employees. Golf is just a quicker, easier way to build relationships.”
And not just business relationships. Green followed up his original golf date with Kim by marrying her six years later. She says the first gift he gave her was a set of clubs. And wouldn’t you know it, the second gift he gave her was another set of clubs. He still golfs regularly with Kim and their four-year-old daughter, Jessica, who has become quite a Tiger Woods fan. And, albeit to a lesser degree, Green also tees it up with 30-year-old son Jason and 25-year-old daughter Jennifer.
When Green isn’t golfing, he’s putting in 12-hour days exploring opportunities in other markets for Chubb and Son, Inc. He has been with the company since graduating from Mount Union College in Ohio in 1964, advancing from management trainee to branch manager to eastern region manager to vice president and ultimately senior vice president. Throughout his climb to the top, golf has been a mainstay. “I try and play a good game but I don’t necessarily go out to beat my customer,” he says “You don’t try to win at all costs. If you do that, you win the battle and lose the war. And that’s not the intent.”
Not every woman lives for the day when she can beat her husband in golf. Besides, most know that the male ego couldn’t handle it. Kim Green could care less. She’s determined to beat the pants off her husband, Sy, one of these days and she guarantees the whole world will know about it when she does.
The senior vice president of Manhattan-based Aon Risk Services figures she’s at least two years away from “putting” her husband to shame. She has beaten him on individual holes before, but he’s always come back to win the complete round. This year, though, she plans to work extensively on her game, including her fourth consecutive trip to the BE/Pepsi Golf & Tennis Challenge.
That’s but one of