Playing Golf With the Boss

I’ve encountered this same article on more than one occasion and I read it every time I do. A lot of it is common sense, but there are some nuggets to be found. It’s written by a lady named Lisa Furlong and she gives tips on what to do if invited to play golf with the boss.

1. Invitation
You’ve just been invited to play a round with the boss, don’t panic, get into the right mindset and tell yourself your going to make the most of this great opportunity. Executives who play frequently say they pay close attention to the other golfer’s demeanor under pressure.

“You really don’t want to see someone swearing or throwing a club,” says MGIC Investment Corp. CEO Curt Culver, a 2-handicapper ranked third among Golf Digest’s best CEO golfers in 2006. “Just as bad would be someone who fails to take care of the course, who doesn’t repair ball marks or replace divots. That would make me want to replace that person in my company.” That’s a scary thought… Hey Dave, heard you got fired, what the heck happened?? Oh, nothing much, I forgot to replace my divot on the 13th.. 🙂

2. Preparation
Hit the range a couple times (if you can) before you play to knock some of the rust off your swing. Take some time to check over your gear, ensure clubs, towel and rain gear are clean (not caked with a couple inches of dried mud. go through your golf bag and remove all the accumulated junk. Research the course your playing, ensure you know how to get to the course, being late is inexcusable. Get an idea of how formal the course is and on the day of the round, get out there early, scope out the course, hit some warm up shots so when the boss arrives you are ready to go. Definitely go with a collared shirt and if you wear shorts, ensure they are smart, tailored golf shorts. Shoes should be clean and brushed down, there’s no excuse for poor taste. This is not part of the article, but make sure you’ve got plenty of Tee’s and if it were me, I’d probably spend a little more than usual on golf balls, I imagine if you were to pull some Ti-techs out it might send out the wrong impression 🙂

3. Banter
Your mission of the day is to keep your foot out of your mouth. Prior to the round, read the newspaper cover to cover so your up to date on the news should the topic arise. Don’t talk for the sake of talking, don’t assume you and the boss man are now the best of friends. Unless the boss brings it up, try to avoid discussing work and business, stick to sports, family, etc.. Don’t have too many beers, the last thing you need is your boss seeing you in anyway other than your best.

4. The Game
Let the boss decide the stakes of the match. Don’t take a mulligan off the first tee unless it’s offered, stick to weekend golfer rules. If you lose a ball and don’t hit a provisional, the article says don’t go back and hit another, concede the hole. I don’t agree with that, I think you would drop a ball and take your strokes as you would on any other day. Conceding putts, within the leather is a good rule, but if the boss is shooting them back to you from further away, follow his lead. Do not let the boss win, play your best and win or lose with grace. The round isn’t so much “boss & subbordinate” as it is golfers who love a good round.

5. Follow up
Send the boss a letter (not an email) thanking him for the opportunity and making note of a particular aspect of the day you really enjoyed or appreciated. In today’s E-world, a letter will set you apart.

Just because you’ve had a round of golf together, don’t assume you’re now The Boss’ new best friend. “It’s most important to me that a subordinate doesn’t use golf to prove he or she is in with The Boss,” says Macadam. “This really turns me off more than anything.” If colleagues know about the round and ask about it, “treat it as if it were no big deal,” says Corrigan. “And don’t discuss The Boss’ performance if he or she had a bad round. If The Boss played well, say so. And please, spare your co-workers a hole-by-hole description of your own game.” When The Boss starts to talk about his or her game, however, listen up. Or at least pretend to.

How To Play Golf with the Boss


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  1 comment for “Playing Golf With the Boss

  1. at

    I address this questions in my seminars.

    Yes, most of the process of playing golf with the boss is to use common sense. However, most of the mistakes a person makes when playing golf with the boss is they get nervous or feel pressured which results in talking too much or fidgeting.

    Being a boss and an employee in more rounds of golf than I can remember, I found that most of my employees who played with me felt they needed to play like a professional and as a result made me nervous with their attemps to do something that was impossible for them to do.

    The same went when I played with my Boss. My instinct was I felt I needed to impress upon him/her that I was a better golfer than I really was. Once I relaxed, played my game, played by the rules, listened and not talk too much then they saw me as who I really am.

    Too many people forget that golf is a show of a person’s character and it is natural that all players have different levels of skill. Golf is played to have fun. And everyone should play by the rules and play to win no matter.

    Nothing made me more concerned about my employee’s character than to see them five putt on the last hole so I would win.

    Mr Business Golfs last blog post..What does Mr Business Golf "Do!"?

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