By Christopher Schonberger
Even though Small Businessman Magazine tells us that Chili’s is the new golf course (thank you, Michael Scott), golf is still corporate America’s favorite pastime. From weekend outings with the boss or a client to the annual company tournament, the ability to lay up a nice approach shot
(or at least act the part on the links) can help you stand out more than a spreadsheet ever would.
A lot of recent grads enter the workplace full of confidence. “I’m so smart and better at computers than any of these dinosaurs,” they think to themselves. But little do they know, old men are incredible at golfing, and as soon as the annual round robin tourney rolls around that youthful swagger will quickly wear off.
Business golf is a far cry from hitting up the driving range with a six pack, and it can be intimidating for people with limited experience. Learning how to actually play golf will take some time and may require taking lessons or enlisting the aid of a friend. But learning how to not look like a joker is pretty simple—we’ve compiled a quick primer to get you ready for the various sand traps and water hazards of corporate golfing.
[Note: If you really think the notion of you swinging a club at a tiny ball is a recipe for disaster, consider volunteering at the company tournament . At least you’re still out there, in the mix and part of the team.]
Golf is a gentleman’s sport, and as such, proper etiquette is as important as being able to wallop a drive 300 yards down the fairway. For the most part, bosses and colleagues will forgive a four putt, but an egregious faux pas could follow you back to the office. Here are a few fundamentals to brush up on before hitting the clubhouse.
Dressing the Part
Golf attire should be kept conservative on your first outing, but there’s no need to go overboard. A pair of khaki pants and a tucked-in polo shirt are always a good starting point. Think “sports casual,” but remember that you’re not Tiger Woods and it’s not your place to flaunt tradition. Hats should be worn forward and ideally feature the name of some New England town like “Newport, Rhode Island.” If you don’t have golf spikes, a reasonable pair of running shoes will suffice.