Now that you have accepted an invitation to play business golf and have taken the prerequisite swing instructions and lessons on ball striking, there are other necessary preparations before you play. Remember that from the moment you drive up to the club or course where you’ll play until the moment you leave, your mannerisms, behavior, and appearance will be noticed and evaluated not only by your playing partners but from course personnel and other golfers or club members as well. You never know who is watching……and when.
– Make sure you get proper directions to the location so you’ll arrive no later than ½ hour before your tee time. An hour before is optimal. You’d be amazed at how many people show up late because they thought they knew where the golf course was. Many course names can sound similar, such as Boulder Creek, Boulder Lakes, and Boulder Pointe. It is a good idea to look up a club on its website, which often you can guess is www.clubname.com. Use a search engine such as Dogpile or Google if that doesn’t work. The website will give some useful information on the course as well as the facility. Get phone numbers as well, both to the pro shop and the club itself, in case of an emergency. Many websites have a course history and a hole by hole summary and you could Wow your partners with the inside scoop on course tidbits or hidden hazards not openly apparent. Don’t be shy and introduce yourself to the Club Pro or Director of Golf (whose name you found on the club website), letting him or her know it is your first time there and you are looking forward to the experience.
– Have your equipment clean and in good repair. Do not show up for a day of business golf with filthy clubs, a ragged bag that is sun-faded, and clubs without headcovers.
– Make sure you have some new golf balls – and ladies, do NOT use pink or pastel colored golf balls. I know the golf shop sales people may convince you it is the ‘latest’ thing but the guys will notice and not take you very seriously unless, of course, you beat them.
– Wear shorts, a golf skirt, or slacks with pockets. It is amazing how often women wear clothes that are lacking this basic need for golf. Put tees, coins or ball markers, and a divot repair tool in your pocket. Nothing is more annoying than a golfer who is always fishing around in the cart or their bag for provisions such as these and is never ready to play.
– Be prepared to bet. Have some cash on you in case you are on the losing end. Don’t sacrifice your reputation by not paying up on a bet but do not bet more than you can afford to lose. Don’t be bullied into taking a bet that is too much money for your comfort zone because you will play worse worrying about it. Many games are played for $2 – $5 Nassaus and still offer enough drama and stomach knots for the foursome. More on this in a later piece, ‘The Art of the Bet’.
– Carry your change of clothes and/or shoes in garment bags and shoe bags as you’ll have to carry these to the locker room in front of who knows whom. Normally, a valet or the cart/club personnel won’t do these things.
– Put a bunch of dollar bills or even $5 bills in your pocket for tipping purposes; tip the locker room attendant $2-$5, the person who cleans your clubs at the end of the round $3-$5, and if applicable, the valet $2-$5. Women have the reputation of being – shall we say – frugal, so do not let that myth continue. The next time you are invited to play at this particular club, they’ll remember you with great fondness.
Coming soon: Part 3, which deals with Conversational Topics.