It is extremely common for people to regale stories of important business deals being done whilst on the golf course, and it is widely acknowledged that golf days can be hugely beneficial to bonding within a team of co-workers or with current and future clients. There are huge potential benefits to be had when playing golf, not only to your physical and mental health, but you will also notice it within your social circle, and potential business opportunities. Taking a meeting, or hosting an event, out of the office in the peaceful confines of nature, allows for deeper and more beneficial relationships.
A typical round of golf will take approximately 4-5 hours, this gives you plenty of time to really get to know your playing partners in an space that is comfortable, serene and completely free from the constraints that surround a typical office based meeting. The fresh air and beautiful scenery make for a wonderfully relaxing environment, and the exercise and competitive nature of the game can bring out characteristics that would not surface in a restrictive office setting. Most people while in this state of mind, will be more open to discuss personal matters, quickly moving past small talk and any barriers they may have subconsciously or unconsciously raised. This makes it the perfect environment to really get to know your client, understand their wants and needs, and allows you to foster trust and subsequently build a long-lasting more fruitful relationship.
As mentioned previously, the hours spent engulfed in nature can really help new and existing relationships to flourish. This can be helpful from a purely sales and business perspective, but it can also be invaluable when it comes to team building and nurturing friendships both new and old. Staff well-being and happiness is incredibly important in today’s world, and it is widely acknowledged that a team with a strong bond produces much better results. A team golf day can be a huge step forward in building the necessary connections needed to establish the values that are essential for a team to be truly successful. People will get to know each other better in a fun, relaxed setting that will encourage them to let their guard down and be comfortable being themselves. They will also awaken their competitive edge, and test themselves in an environment completely different to that of the generic office. This could lead to people playing together of their own accord in the future, better relationships at work and general good feeling amongst staff, all of which are key contributors to building a happy and successful work environment. Of course this all applies to clients as well as colleagues, and it is a well-established fact that ‘people buy from people’. Getting to know someone on a personal level and building deeper connections will ensure you are at the forefront of their mind when the next business opportunity arises.
Anyone who has played golf before will testify to the fact that it provides a stern test of skill, character and self-control. What better way than to really understand someone’s character, whether they be a colleague, business partner or client than to play what is widely regarded as one of the most challenging sports available.
Golf can be incredibly frustrating as it is you and only you that can take responsibility for how you play. One minute you flush a drive down the fairway and feel like Tiger Woods at his peak, the next you hook the ball out of bounds and feel like giving up entirely. The up and down nature of golf really highlights how people manage their temper, deal with situations not going their way and can also be an accurate representation of their honesty.
Often you will see people on the golf course cursing, throwing tantrums and sometimes even clubs! How your clients and partners control themselves when they inevitably hit a bad shot can be a real eye opener to their personality and particularly their susceptibility to crack under pressure. These situations can provide more insight than years of working alongside one another or having meetings in a controlled environment where the boundaries are already well established and easier to stay within. Golf is a sport played wholly on trust with ample opportunity to cheat should someone be so inclined. Whether it be moving your ball out of a bad lie, dropping another ball when yours is lost or simply ‘miscounting’ shots it is another useful insight into someone’s character. Through observation you will be able to tell a lot about your playing partners’ integrity and sportsmanship and it may reveal some key things about them that you may want to bear in mind before entering into a business relationship. It is also worth remembering that you will be under scrutiny as well and your conduct on the course is a strong representation of how you handle yourself outside of a work environment.
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