Keep up with everyone’s game
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Other Stuff to Know - 10
Business Golf
For some organizations, playing golf together with one’s business associates, including your “boss”, is an important part of building good working relationships. If you do not golf, then diplomatically decline any invitations to do so.
Follow these ground rules when you are invited for a game of golf:
  • Arrive well in advance so you have lots of time to change, get your clubs organized, and find out where you are to meet.
  • When you are the host, have everything arranged and paid for in advance, including the caddies and carts.
  • Do not dress in a sloppy or too casual manner. Wear a polo shirt with a collar as opposed to a T-shirt. Call the club ahead of time to find out its dress code when you are uncertain about what to wear.
  • Show up with clubs, a golf bag and golf shoes that are all clean.
  • Forget about bringing your cellphone, BlackBerry or pager with you. If you do, turn them off until after the game.
  • Bring some cash in case players want to bet on the rounds. If you are a beginner, do not let yourself get talked into big bets.
  • Let your guests or boss tee off first on the starting hole.
  • Keep quiet and still when someone is taking his or her turn, including putting. Refrain from offering any unsolicited golf tips.
  • Keep up with everyone’s game. Do not take more than two practice swings for any stroke.
  • Avoid stepping in the path of another player’s putt on the green.
  • Do not lose your temper, curse loudly or throw your clubs when you have a poor shot.
  • When you are keeping score, do not cheat.
  • Play your best game and do not worry about who wins.
  • Offer to buy everyone drinks after the game if you are at a club where you can do so.
Minimize any discussion of business matters on your part. Golfing is not a good time to attempt to negotiate a deal. The purpose of a game of business golf is for everyone to enjoy themselves and to get to know each other better. If you are golfing with your boss or customers, try to find out beforehand what are their principal non-work passions, interests, community involvements and hobbies so you can get them talking about what they care most about.
How persons conduct themselves on the golf course reveals a great deal about their character and sense of sportsmanship. The impression you make on your golfing partners will definitely influence their interest in doing business with you in the future.
I have a confession to make — I agree with Mark Twain who said, “Golf is a long walk spoiled.” The last time I golfed was when I lost 12 balls in the first nine holes of playing at Stanford as a freshman. I had a heart-to-heart discussion with myself on the course that concluded with, “Steele, you can’t afford this game.”

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