Throughout the summer months, it seems like every week brings with it another chance to play golf. Not just for fun, but for business.
Whether it be companies inviting customers out for an afternoon on the links, or a charity golf outing attended by representatives from multiple businesses, it seems that "green" takes on an extra meaning in the business world, not just money, but the golf course.
When the question of how much business is actually done on the golf course was posed on the online business directory, LinkedIn, the answers were somewhat surprising.
One businessman said he's actually seen job interviews conducted on the golf course, adding "you can learn a lot about a person by the way they react to a shank, like management skills and poise when things go wrong."
Another executive said golf is a great way to reveal someone's character: "I'd never let my daughter marry someone I hadn't played 18 holes with."
As a non-golfer, I often wondered what business people were really doing away from work at one golf outing after another, after another.
But as I became more and more interested in the game, and more involved in business, the answer became evident on a variety of levels.
Golf, like any sport, reflects life, and that includes professional life. Would you want to do business with someone who throws a temper tantrum on the fifth hole, who cheats on their scorecard or is disrespectful to other golfers?
Integrity, composure, fairness, honesty, humor, focus and planning; these are just some of the attributes of business that you can see in someone's golf game.
Entire books have been written about the art of doing business on the golf course, advising business people on how to behave (whether or not to intentionally lose to a big client, for example) and much more. No doubt, millions of dollars are spent each year throughout the U.S. on business-related golf and golf-related business.
While it may be unlikely that a multi-million dollar business deal will be signed, sealed and delivered on the 18th (or even 19th) hole, the game of golf is still a tool which can lay the groundwork of trust and honor between company and client, colleagues or even rivals.
I no longer wonder what kind of business is being done on the golf course, because I've learned that most success, business and otherwise is the result of good relationships.
Golf has always been considered a game of gentlemen (and women), where courtesy and sportsmanship rule the day. In our new age of business via text message, email, Skype and blogs, it's nice to know that some relationships are still cultivated through friendly competition on freshly-cut grass.
Kellie Goodman Shaffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her column appears on Tuesdays.