The most successful professional golfer, Tiger Woods once said: “I get to play golf for a living. What more can you ask for, getting paid for doing what you love.”
Indeed, golf is no longer a leisure game but rather a social re-engineering exercise where career businessmen and professionals from different career shades meet to make friends, network; have business contacts and deals done in the quiet lush green golf course.
In the words of advocate Stephen Gikera who recently organised a golf tournament dubbed ‘When Golf meets the Bar; that is a Perfect Practice’, the sport offers an informal and serene environment for players to create and maintain those invaluable relationships that one can depend on for career growth and livelihood.
“Golf is an amazing sport where one develops friendship and even deepens those that already exist,” Gikera told PD Wikendi. “I tend to think about it as a six-hour sale call where people meet at a relaxed environment that effortlessly drives meaningful interactions as the game progresses,” he adds.
Gikera says that the value one gets by joining a golf club and taking time off regularly for a round of golf is huge. “Sparing time to play golf with current and future business contacts affords you an opportunity to show them what kind of a person you are, create lasting interpersonal relationships and, of course, create a relaxed, low stress environment where you can propose and discuss new ideas of mutual benefit.”
This appears to conform to a study appearing in the Economist titled “How Golfers get Ahead”, which apart from opining that a good golfer makes a good business man or woman, it also comes up with interesting statistics about golf. For instance, an estimated 90 per cent of Fortune 500 CEO’s play golf!
Even more interesting is the fact that executives who play golf bring home 17 per cent more on average than those who don’t! Further, 54 per cent of business professionals agree that golf is the ultimate networking sport against only eight per cent who pitched for football. Last, but not least, most golfers agree that, “the way a person plays golf is similar to the way they conduct business affairs.
As a matter of fact, the etiquette of golf encourages consideration for others, honesty and integrity. It’s also one of the few sports where players of different ability, skills and fitness can compete against one another on a level playing field.
According to Royal Nairobi Golf Club captain Charles Omondi golf provides an opportunity to meet captains of industry. “Golf disciplines. It’s all about integrity; you cannot try any mischief.
Any misconduct will get you suspended by the club. So it is a game that tunes one to adhere to rules, something that can be carried to one’s professional life,” said Omondi. “The four to five hours spent with that person or group of persons up your success level in getting that business deal done.”