Why Golf is a Top Networking Tool
By Kris Hart
Golfers love to talk about golf, and it’s often described as an addiction or a passion.
It’s no secret then that golf is a very popular sport in America — according to the National Golf Foundation, over 40 million played both on and off-course. Golf's popularity is especially prevalent in business communities. No matter what industry you are in, there is a good chance your company or management at the company are involved with the game of golf in some fashion.
If you are looking for a secret weapon to building connections in your job, networking through golf is the way to go. Here’s why:
It's a great interview topic
If you are interviewing for a new job and the hiring manager is a golfer, you are already at a huge advantage. If golf is brought up at all, there’s a chance you will be talking about the game for 75 percent of the interview. Whether your experience working in golf, playing the game, or even just talking about your favorite golf courses, discussing the game is a great way to build a relationship with a hiring manager you are meeting for the first time. If you are trying to get a golf job, it is especially important to know your stuff and be able to talk about the game in an intelligent way.
Upper management tends to play golf
Many CEOs, executives and senior leadership team members play golf. If you are looking to move up internally at your company, you need to be prepared if the CEO asks you out to play golf. Better yet, if you are a really good player, the chance you get invited out to play golf more often will be much higher since people always want to bring a “ringer” to the golf tournament to better their chances of winning. There is no better way to get management’s attention than spending 4-5 hours together on a golf course. Don’t believe me? Check out this list of CEOs who play golf.
Use golf to market your skills
If you are working in sales, marketing or need to network across your industry, there is a good chance that you will be asked to either attend or support a charity golf tournament. In those roles, your ability to build relationships and connect personally with the client is imperative to your success and growth of sales. If you can play, talk golf, and create a rapport with your clients about their golf game versus just the new carpet you are trying to sell them, the better chances are that you can close the deal.
Create long-lasting friendships
Some of my best friendships and lifetime stories have happened on the golf course. Golf brings people together unlike any other sport. Rich or poor. Young or old. Anyone can play golf together and enjoy the benefits of the game. Golf has especially been important for me to develop friendships with mentors who have taught me a lot about business and life in general. If I did not golf, I would never have been lucky enough to meet some very prominent people who have been important to me in growing my career.
If you are a golfer, I am sure you can relate to what I am saying above. If you are not a golfer, it’s never too late to start. As a newbie to the game, you should get involved in a group clinic at a local course with a PGA Professional. Once you start playing, I am sure you will be surprised by how many different networking opportunities start coming to you because of golf.
If you are a golfer who wants to network, I’m always looking to connect with other golfers through Linkedin. Connect with me here.
Kris Hart is the Senior Director of Growth and Ventures for the PGA of America.