10 Tips for Better Business Golf
Fair or not, business gets done on the golf course, and if you cannot play then you are missing out on potential opportunities. Recently, I have been working with a number of people who have a specific goal: learn to play business golf. Here are my top 10 ways to get up to speed, and some course strategies to allow you to feel comfortable playing golf in a business environment.
1) Check your ego at the door: Golf is a hard game and mercy is not in the rulebook. Learning any new skill will be challenging so go easy on yourself. The first step in making your round less frustrating is to set some realistic expectations and remember, in terms of score, it is not totally in your control.
2) Make some time to practice: You have undoubtedly heard that it takes 10,000 hours to find expertise at any skill. Fortunately, you are not trying to find expertise, rather just some basic competence. Research shows that you can get past the steepest part of the learning curve in only 20 hours. In other words, with 20 hours of practice, you can gain the skills to keep the ball in play, have some fun, and not interrupt the flow of the business part of your round.
3) Smart, focused practice is the key: Hitting bucket after bucket of balls may be fun, but it is not very productive. I find that it is better to focus what I call the “heartbeat of the golf swing” which is centered around swinging from waist high to waist high. If you can do this with rhythm and balance then you will have the heartbeat of the golf swing. At the range, this means using a pitching wedge, then 9, then 8 up through your fairway woods to hit waist high to waist high shots where your don’t change your rhythm. If you do this correctly, you will have an incredibly repeatable swing that will go straight and be the foundation for everything else. Once you feel comfortable swinging all of you clubs in this manner you can begin to implement ¾ swings and full swing. If at any point your swing starts to fall apart, go back to your waist high to waist high swing until your confidence is back.
4) Always aim at the center of the green: While pin seeking shots are good for the Pro’s they are the quickest way to big numbers for beginning golfers. 2 or 3 putting most greens is relatively easy so your #1 goal should be to get on the green with as few strokes as possible with the least amount of risk. One way to do this is to use the club with less loft, ie a 9 iron instead of a 56 degree wedge. By taking more club you can swing easier and mis-hits will have a better chance to get close to or on the green.
5) Have a strategy: Even if you have not played that much golf, a good strategy can keep you scoring in the 90’s and allow you comfortably play with anyone in the foursome. First off, bogies are your friend which means you should plan on using that extra stroke. Rather than thinking about a 220 yard drive and 170 yard approach shot you can think about three 130 yard shots. While it is unrealistic to not hit driver, you need to consider where NOT to miss any shot. Adam wrote a whole post on “the quickest way to stop making double bogies” which lays out this strategy in more detail.
6) Play fast but don’t rush: No one likes to play with someone who takes forever or who insists on putting out for a quadruple bogie. It is totally acceptable to pick up your ball if you are going to make a big number and say something like “I am gonna take a break on this hole”. Then head to green and tend the pin and cheer on your partners. On the other hand, golf is not a race and you should be comfortable in taking your time. If you chunk a chip shot it is ok to get a different club and take a practice swing. It is better to take an extra few seconds and make a good shot than rush to another poor shot.
7) Remember it is golf not the office: Just because you are playing business golf does not mean you have to talk business. Enjoy the day, the business will come naturally.
8) Don’t dress like a chump: Leave the cargo shorts at home. Just like the office, you should plan out your wardrobe and make sure it is golf appropriate. If you really want to step up your game, check out all of our apparel advice.
9) Last minute tips: Ok, so you have not picked up a club in 18 months and you have to play this week. A few keys
- Never wear a brand new pair of shoes, a blister is the quickest way to ruin the day.
- Take your turn at putting the pin back in
- Bring a dozen balls, tees and golf glove
- Buy the first round from the cart girl
10: Tell them about Three Guys Golf: The easiest way to let everyone in your foursome know you are connected to some of the best golf writers (and biggest bullshitters) in the business is to tell them about Three Guys Golf!