Several of my friends are taking golf holidays this summer. They can’t get enough of the sport. When they ask me to play with them, I tell them I’ve never learned how to play. Their reaction is usually somewhere between pity and wonderment.
As long as I can remember, golf has been one of the quintessential guy things to do. And, more than that, golf seems to be viewed as a key skill by executive salesmen–and that is one of my primary jobs as CEO of my company, Corporate Rain International. In fact, I have heard sales folk speak of the golf course in almost reverential tones, as the ideal networking format. I hope this doesn’t make me a partial sales cripple.
Certainly golf seems to be great fun. There is at least a hint of a fanatical, addictive gleam in the eye of golfers I meet. Also, to judge from the number of fund-raising invitations I get involving golf, it seems to be a mainstay of the eleemosynary.
As an outsider looking in on this business sport of golf I have one primary observation: It takes a long time to play. I’m told that the average golf outing is three hours. For me, my time is my most cherished resource as a salesman, as an entrepreneur, and as a human being. Do I spend it teaching my daughter tennis? Do I spend it with my wife? Do I spend it on the endless myriad of tasks I should be doing as head of my company and often don’t get to? Should I spend the time just thinking or winnowing down that Mt. Everest of books that sits by my bed?
I don’t think I’m alone in this calculation. I can see that golf is a wonderful esthetically pleasing sport. I could see myself enjoying it one of these days. But, in terms of a business tool, it doesn’t seem a particularly efficient way of initiating new business.
We’re in an increasingly fast-moving business world. Efficiency in business presentation and connection is paramount. As an observing outsider with his nose pressed to the glass, I find golf quaintly inefficient as a rainmaking tool.
Mark Twain called golf “a good walk spoiled.” Golf, if nothing else, seems to breed wonderful, witty comments. Here are a couple. “Golf is a game where white men can dress up as black pimps and get away with it.” (Robin Williams) Or how ’bout this. “If every golfer in the world, male and female, were laid end to end, I, for one would leave them there.” (Mark Parkinson).
Thanks Mark, Robin, and Mark, et. al.