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How To Play Golf With "The Boss" And Move Up The Corporate Ladder

Jul 2, 2008
As more and more business deals are done on the golf course, what do you need to know to play corporate golf? Here are five tips to get you throough a round of golf with your boss.

1. The Invite
The call comes in from their secretary. The boss wants to see you in their office. What did you do now? Believe it or not, your boss asks you if you can make a tee time on Saturday. Whether this question comes from real Boss, a prospective employers or a future in-law, how in the world am I going to get through this?
First make the decision that you will make the best of it.

Begin with a good mind-set and do not panic. Many bosses that play regularly will pay close attention to their playing partner.s actions and how they handle the difficult situations that are found during a round of golf.

2. Getting Prepared
Use the Boy Scout motto and "Be Prepared." Start with the obvious. Make sure your rain gear, clubs, golf shoes and clothes are clean. In addition, grab some extra cash in case the Boss wants a .friendly. wager. John Landsbaum, V.P. of Case Holdings suggests "Without bothering the boss, get accurate directions to the club as well as have a sense of how formal the dress code is." Tiger Woods likes to wear a mock t-shirt however wearing a collared shirt is always a safe bet. Plan to arrive early and have plenty of time to grab a bite to eat or warm up with or with out the boss.

3. Chatter
Just because the boss has asked you to play a round of golf, this does not mean that you are now best buddies. Stay professional and stay away from telling questionable jokes. You know where the line is. Remember, you are building a professional relationship and you need to keep your foot out of your mouth.

On the morning of your tee time, be sure to catch the current headlines from the newspaper, online or the morning news. If the chance to discuss your newest business idea does not come to fruition, do not worry. You are building a professional relationship and your boss will be more willing to listen in the very near future. Keep your topics to general things such as sports and family and stay away from office gossip.

4. The Round of Golf
As far as the betting goes, let The Boss decide the format of the game as well as the size and nature of any bets. The Boss will expect you to know the rules and do not take a mulligan off the first tee unless it's offered to you. Do not go back and replay a ball off the tee if you did not play a provisional golf ball. The right thing to do would be to concede the hole.

What about conceding putts? Try to follow your boss's lead as best you can. However as long as it with in the leather, most will take the gimme. Of course, the $64,000 question is "Should I let the boss win?." "I have always tried to play my best," says Landsbaum. "I have won a couple and lost a couple. It is all about the competition. Successful people love competition."

5. Post Round
Following up is the key to be invited to play another round of golf. "A handwritten note will set you apart," says Landsbaum. Make sure it references something that you liked or appreciated without sounding fake.

Remember; do not assume you are now The Boss. new best friend just because you have played a round of golf together. "It really turns me off more than anything when a subordinate uses golf to prove he or she is in with The Boss," says Landsbaum. "If colleagues ask you about the round of golf, treat it as if it were no big deal," adds Landsbaum.

"In addition, do not discuss The Boss's performance if he or she had a bad round. If The Boss played well, say so. When The Boss starts to talk about his or her game, however, listen up. Or at least pretend to" as he is laughing.
About the Author
Max Johnson of VGS Golf Click for more on office golf or corporate golf. Click for golf instruction books.
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