Patrina King is the principal of Patrina King & Associates and founder of Golf Women Mean Business, an Atlanta-based firm that positions women to leverage golf as a tool for strategically developing business relationships. She is also the author of the newly released book 9 Holes 9 Goals. King’s father began teaching her how to play golf when she was only 5 years old and by the time she was 7, she was competitive.
King discussed her insights from her new book and how to learn best practices for doing business on the “green.”
What was the inspiration behind your new book and who is its intended audience?
The book was written for business professionals who are new to golf, both men and women. My goal was to provide valuable insights at each of the nine “holes” to help emerging golfers not only grow their knowledge of the game, but also jettison the intimidation factor so commonly associated with it.
While it’s assumed that seasoned golfers know how to do business on the course, newbies don’t. Naturally, the latter are blowing opportunities; they don’t understand the principles behind doing business on the course. There is definitely an art and science to it. However, when mastered, it can be used to effectively build rapport and maneuver on the course, as well as off of it. That’s what the book teaches. Unfortunately, I have observed firsthand far too many instances of “golfing gone wrong” when there has been a lack knowledge around this point. Suffice it to say, all parties could have benefited from a little insider advice.
Explain what you mean by there being “an art and a science” to doing business on the course?
People can sometimes become “too familiar too soon” when on the course. The truth is that when you’re outside of the office, or other traditionally professional environments, it is both easy and common for conversations to dip into the abyss rather quickly. Science teaches what circumstances welcome a less formal exchange. Art teaches that you must balance being yourself while remaining professional, all in one fell swoop, so to speak.
When playing golf for business, you want to be authentic and let your personality shine through. It lets your partner know that you are human. But, you also must know how far to let the conversation go. That said, you must be able to feel the conversation out, keep the conversation going, and focus on playing golf, simultaneously.
Growing up, my dad would tell me not to be so talkative. So, I didn’t speak much; I just played to win. It wasn’t until much later that I learned the importance of building relationships while playing. The process is really quite fun and sounds far more complicated than it actually is.
What is your best advice for emerging golfers?
Just like with most anything else, intimidation comes from a lack of knowledge, experience, and understanding. Be open to learning more about golf, have fun with it, and by all means, do not let the “nuances” intimidate you! The goal is to simply get out there and “Fish where the fish are swimming.”
In business, your fish are often “swimming” on the golf course, so my advice is to learn how to fish there. The golf course is filled with the same people in your office buildings, your grocery stores, and your children’s sports outings. They just learned how to “fish” sooner than you did. Once you realize that, it’s simply up to you to grab your tackle box and throw your line in the water.