But how will you know if you're ready for the fairway? Are you competent enough to play with clients or others where a good impression is essential? What is appropriate to wear when it's a round of business golf? And should you stick to playing with women only, or can you hold your own with male colleagues?
Nancy Berkley's heard all these questions before as a consultant, author, and expert on women's golf. Her focus - attracting and retaining women in the game - has led her to develop guidelines and tips for golf facilities, pro shops , and golf ranges interested in catering to the needs of women golfers.
A contributor to the women's golf section of Cybergolf.com, Berkley details everything a novice player needs to know when combining golf with business in her article, "Tips for Playing Business Golf."
She points out that men greatly outnumber women at corporate golf events and most courses, and that professional, appropriate, and comfortable golf attire is key to helping a woman feel confident. (Think about what you'll have to do when you place your ball on the tee and you'll get the drift.)
Berkley also goes over when it's appropriate to discuss business, why it's important to play in your comfort zone, and how to determine what that is:
So how good to you have to be for business golf? Here are my guidelines: Most-of-the-time, you should be able toIf you never reach this level, Berkley advises that you play golf with business associates only "if you are invited to a corporate golf event that is advertised as 'fun' and uses a scramble format."
Most important: Take this pace-of-play test on a day when your course is not busy. If you can play nine holes just by yourself and finish the nine holes in 90 minutes or less or 18 holes by yourself in less than three hours, you are good enough to accept most business golf invitations.
- hit a ball about 100 yards off the tee
- hit a middle iron (or hybrid club) at least 75 yards on the fairway
- hit out of a bunker successfully two out of three times
- know how to reach a green when you are 50 yards from the flagstick
- take only one practice swing
- three-putt or less on most greens
- know proper green etiquette, and
- know when to give up and put the ball in your pocket.
It isn't necessary that women play to impress. Competency in the game brings rewards of its own. And once learned, it's a lifelong skill that many of us have more time to perfect as we grow older.
As Susan Reed, Editor of Golf for Women points out:
Women have different expectations when it comes to golf and tend not to be quite as competitive as men. They enjoy the game primarily for social and health reasons, for the opportunity to spend time in an enjoyable activity with friends or loved ones or family members. They like being outdoors and walking. They feel empowered by being able to play a challenging game.
Time is often an issue, especially for women. We hear from many women that they stop playing the game when their children are little, and then take it up again (or take it up for the first time) when the kids and family are self sufficient. Many women pick up the game in their 40s, 50s, 60s.
The beauty of golf is that you can then play it for the next 30 years. We found a 101 year old woman golfer in California. She swore by the game: the health benefits of walking; the social stimulation of being with friends; the mental challenge of keeping score. All things that keep people young.
Golf is a sport that every woman should consider taking up. It's a great business tool; it's a great family experience. Bottom line, it's a great game.