The day has finally come, you have a prospective client or partnership that would make a big impact in your business. You do some research and find out that this individual has a passion for golf. What better way to solidify your deal than over a round of business golf? However, before you pack that golf bag, there are a few things you need to know about the 10 unspoken rules of business golf. 

Unlike other sports using referees or umpires, golf relies heavily on the integrity of the individual players. It is especially important to abide by the rules and guidelines of the game while mixing golf and business. You may not win the round, but by following the official rules as well as these unspoken rules of business golf, you will be more likely to win over your potential client. Here are the rules of business golf:

Follow the Golf Dress Code

We advise you do an online search of the course you will be playing at ahead of time. This is to make certain of your knowledge of the dress code. There are slight differences in code between public and private courses, however the general guidelines tend to be collared shirts and khakis. Keep in mind that this meeting is also for business, so leave behind some of your more interesting patterns and flamboyant socks at home.

Timeliness is Key

Just as you would for any other business meeting, you should arrive to the course at least 15 minutes prior to your tee time. This is not only for your own party’s benefit. Promptness is considered courteous to other parties around you. You do not want to leave your group waiting to start their round. Arriving early allows you to get in a few warm up swings. Alongside this, you’ll have time to meet up with your entire party prior to your start time. Being late for any business meeting is unacceptable. Business golf meetings are no different.

Balance Between Business and Pleasure

Although the purpose of this outing is business, it is possible to over sell yourself or your company. You should find a balance between talking business and casual conversation. This is a perfect opportunity to genuinely build a great relationship with this client or partner. Which in turn enhances customer loyalty and will pay dividends in the end. Take a chance to ask about hobbies, vacation destinations or even favorite dinner locations. 

Be Mindful of Others

Demonstrating good golf etiquette speaks to your character. This ultimately will show you do business as well. Be respectful when others are putting by staying still and keeping quiet. Also, keep in mind that your party is not the only one on the course. It’s important to not yell, play loud music or make a disturbance on the course. 

Be Respectful of the Course

It is very likely that you will create a divot. A divot is created by taking up grass and dirt with the swing of your club. Everyone hacks at the ground from time to time while golfing. It only takes a moment to place that chunk back into its original spot for the next group. Fixing your divots not only demonstrates respect for the course, but also good manners. 

Don’t Be Cutthroat in Your Game

Being overly competitive in business golf is a huge no-no. Always offer your potential client a mulligan, or do over, for any out-of-bounds shot – including water shots. Business golf is about just that, business. It is not meant to be practice to becoming a better golfer. If you’re not playing well, don’t become visibly frustrated. Make a joke about your game and move on! Be mindful that the intention is to leave a great impression with your client.

Limit Your Drinking

Just like a business dinner, it is acceptable to consume alcohol while playing with a client. However you should keep in mind that you are still conducting business. It is extremely unacceptable to get drunk on the course while golfing with a client. Negotiating a deal or trying to win over a client requires your wits. Keep them about you.

Pick Up the Tab

If you invited your client out to golf; it is only polite to pay for the round. If you decide to partake in cocktails or a few snacks on the course, offer to buy the round for yourself and the client. This tip may seem obvious, but offering to pay is a highly appreciated gesture. Lastly, be sure to tip the cart girls!

Avoid Utilizing Caddies

It may seem convenient to use a caddy while golfing, but some clients may feel reluctant to talk important or sensitive business matters in front of individuals that are not a part of your party. Carry your own clubs or rent a golf cart to make the round a more intimate time. Many times, it’s best to follow the lead on what the potential client or partner wants to do.

Shake Hands

Sportsmanlike conduct is always a good business practice. It is very telling for if you’ll be a good business partner or not. After the round has concluded, be sure to shake your potential client’s hand. Thank them for their time, and possibly their business, with this simple gesture. A handshake goes a long way.

Following these 10 unspoken rules of business golf may not ensure you win the round, but it will ensure a successful outing is had by both yourself and your client. Have more tips or rules for business golf that we left out? Be sure to let us here at Paymentsmith know!