Your company cell phone rings. The caller ID says it’s The Boss. You answer.
“You want me to do ……whaaatt?”
The dreaded call you knew would come someday. Heavens no, you’re not being fired, laid-off, or demoted. Much worse: The Boss wants you to play golf with clients and you don’t have the first clue as to what to do because you don’t play golf.
“When? Next month?”
You panic and think ‘Why me?’ There is no way you can learn to play golf in a month. Or can you?
Actually, you can become proficient enough if you concentrate on the right aspects of the game and learn some fundamentals…..properly. Now is not the time to ask your brother or your boyfriend or some other friend who brags about how great they play. Chances are they aren’t as good as their claims nor can they teach you, a neophyte, to play.
Here is Part One of a primer to help you play competent business golf in 30 days.
- Taking the First Step: Learn to Play Well, Quickly
This may sound like a difficult undertaking but if you concentrate your skills learning in the proper areas, it could be easier than you think. Many times your business golf invitations will be in the form of team play known as a scramble. If you want to contribute to the team score – and be a hero on any team on which you are asked to play – there are two skills that will go a long way: a good short game and a strong tee shot. Why is that? An excellent short game, especially putting, is hard to beat in any form of competition and secondly, you most likely will be playing from the Forward Tees, which will give your team an advantage on certain holes if you make solid contact with the ball. These two strengths will make you an invaluable asset to your team and will net you return invitations.
Now, a few words about accepting invitations. Generally you’ll want to accept ANY invitation that comes your way to play golf with business associates, potential clients, and bosses IF:
– you have played before and can consistently hit the ball every time you swing
– you feel comfortable playing in the company of men
– you feel comfortable playing in the company of women who may be better players than you
– you have some knowledge of the rules of the game and its etiquette
If not, it is wiser to ask for a Rain Check and re-schedule for a later date when you know you can be a proper golfer. Then, go and become that proper golfer. You cannot procrastinate forever.
So, how do you go about doing this miracle performance and become a decent golfer in 30 days? Very simply: by learning the fundamentals from a qualified teaching professional. Where to go? To find a good teaching professional you can:
– ask your golfing friends for recommendations
– call your state’s professional men’s or women’s golf association or professional organization (PGA of America or LPGA)
– go to your local driving range and watch the pros as they are giving lessons and pick one you believe you could relate to
– go to your local public course and ask who among their staff is a top instructor for women; or try a private club because sometimes the club will allow the pro to teach non-members
– visit a few golf mega stores and inquire about the pros there; many have staff members who are expert club fitters as well and can recommend proper beginner clubs for you to use (Note: Do NOT spend a lot of money on beginner clubs. Your swing will evolve quickly and those clubs will become outdated in no time at all)
Do NOT ask your significant other to teach you, no matter how good or willing the other person might be. It may save you money but it will cost you in other ways, including sanity and matrimonial loss of bliss. If, after you learn the fundamentals and want to take some pointers from your ‘other’ go ahead. At least this way you’ll have some experience under your belt.
When you select an instructor, tell him or her exactly what you want to do and why. If you have a big golf event in 30 or 60 days, say so. Say that you want to concentrate on the two aspects of the game mentioned above, especially the short game techniques. That way, the pro will know exactly what to do. Women are adept at learning the short game, as it does not require a lot of power to execute properly. Driving from the Forward Tees, if you can learn to hit a consistent shot about 150 yards off of a tee, you’ll be in the ‘Driver’s’ seat – pun intended. And, in learning the swing fundamentals enabling you to hit a good drive, you’ll also be learning full swing techniques that will help with all the rest of your shots as well.
Take the time to practice, even if it is as little as 15-30 minutes per day. Grab your putter and a couple of golf balls when you head to work and find a short-napped, level carpet to putt on. Put a coffee cup or glass down and try to sink 5 or 10-footers. Or, put a yardstick on the floor and use it as a guide for your putting stroke. It will teach you the desired ‘straight back – straight through’ stroke. Watch golf tournaments or The Golf Channel. Observation is an excellent teacher……and check out my article, ‘Putting Is Not Rocket Science’.
Part 2 of this series will explain ho to get ready for The Big Day, your business competitive debut.
Most of all, enjoy the journey!