Golf season is fast approaching as spring moves northward and with it the opportunity to participate in a business-related golf outing. Etiquette plays an important role on the golf course as well as off of it. In fact the USGA (United States Golf Association) thinks golf etiquette is so important that it titles the first section of its rulebook: Etiquette, Behavior on the Course. The section begins by defining the Spirit of the Game:
“Golf is played, for the most part, without the supervision of a referee or umpire. The game relies on the integrity of the individual to show consideration for other players and to abide by the Rules. All players should conduct themselves in a disciplined manner, demonstrating courtesy and sportsmanship at all times, irrespective of how competitive they may be. This is the spirit of the game of golf.”
Respecting the spirit of the game is integral to being successful in a business golf outing. Decisions about business most likely will not be made on the course, but the four hours on the course will allow the other golfers in the foursome to decide whether or not they will or won’t be interested in working with you. Here are some simple tips to keep your golf etiquette up to par.
1. Slow play is the number one frustration golfers have about other golfers. Be ready to take your shot when it is your turn.
2. Dress appropriately. Golf clubs have their own rules about what is appropriate dress, so if you’re not sure, call the pro shop before arriving and find out the particulars.
3. Be on time. In fact, arrive early so you can get your golf shoes on, check in at the pro shop and warm up before the round. If you can’t be on time for the game, what does that say about your ability to be on time in your business world?
4. Be careful where you stand when others in your group are hitting. This is for safety’s sake as well as out of respect for your partners. Stand to the side and make sure the golfer who is hitting can’t see you out of the corner of his eye, which could distract him.
5. Be sure to thank your host before you leave the course or on the 19th hole, and then send a note or email reiterating your appreciation.
In addition know the common golfing courtesies like fixing divots and repairing ball marks and raking bunkers. Leaving the course in better condition than when you arrived leaves a positive impression about you on the others in your group.