Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Winter Golf

As an avid golfer, this is a tough time of the year for me. Although it's festive because my birthday is in December and Christmas, there's little golf and the professional tours have wrapped up. As a fan of the game, I might follow the Australian Tour and the European Tour, but it's just not the same without Tiger, Phil, Fred and the gals. It was fun to hear about Retief's and Ernie's battle in South Africa though.

So, this winter, I've decided to read some books about golf. One is Golfing with God, which I've enjoyed. The other is The Future of Golf, which has been eye-opening regarding the USGA and the technology war. I'll post reviews of those books in the near future.

I did want to share one story about winter golf though that you might not have seen in local newspaper. It certainly isn't something I want to ever experience while on the fairways.

Near Tokyo, Japan, four golfers were nearly hit by disc-shaped piece of ice. The chunk weighs 4.4 pounds, is 20 inches in diameter, and 6 inches thick. The course isn't near an airport and it's not under a known flight pattern. Golf is hard enough without having to worry about a mysterious chunk of ice hitting you!

Anyway, have a Merry Christmas and a 2006 filled with birdies and pars. Oh yeah, watch out for any flying ice chunks!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Thankful for Golf

Wednesday was a special day because my niece and I, as a twosome, were able to play 18 holes before the start of "Mens' Day." She is 15 and can out drive her aunt by 30 yards, but I don't mind. I love watching her aggressive swing and her determination as she reads our tricky greens. But, after her uphill putt just missed the hole, she declared, "'s tough, Auntie!"

On Thanksgiving Eve, I couldn't resist a lesson on gratitude and humbleness. I explained to her that our lives are anything but tough. I reminded her of the obvious -- we were playing golf at a beautfiul country club on a spring-like winter day with views of the Golden Gate, SF skyline, and were enjoying each other's company. Then, the plethora of loved ones and material things that we are blessed with while many are without. In short time, she got it!

I was especially in a thankful mood as it relates to golf for two reasons. First, on Sunday, while playing with my Dad and friends, I had my second hole-in-one on the same hole that I had my first ace! It was during our club's Turkey Trot tournament and as a team we were grinding to do well. We were playing off of the forward tees and I hit my 6-iron onto the green. It's an uphill hole and a tiered green. We could see it rolling on the green, but didn't know whether it was long or fell off the green and rolled short. After looking for it, I asked my playing partners if they saw my ball. One friend said, "Look in the hole!" which my Dad did and to our surprise there it was.
I was thrilled to share the excitement with my Dad, my Mom, and other relatives and close friends later in the clubhouse.

Then, on Tuesday, a friend invited me to play Monterey Peninsula Country Club near Pebble Beach and the beautiful Pacific Ocean. I've not played Pebble and I'm threatening to take my Dad and Mom there next year -- he's old-fashioned and just can't imagine paying $425 for a round of golf and that's without the lodge fee required to even get a tee time!

I must admit the hospitality was not the most inviting. I suspect because it's a premier private club and guests aren't welcome without being accompanied by a member. After getting over the difficulty of buying my Dad a souvenier, we first went to the driving range, which is one of the nicest and largest that I've seen. Green grass, of course, and there wasn't signage to post the distances to the flags, but range finders behind the stalls.

Newly re-designed, the holes wind through the forest and then you're greeted by the sounds of the waves clapping the beach. It was hard to concentrate on playing well while being distracted by beautiful homes and the vistas. It was a special treat!

It wasn't too long ago that I was very frustrated with my game. I was scoring poorly and just not hitting the ball well. I've improved slightly and then was struck with a bit of good luck with the hole-in-one and a chance to play a beautiful course. I have much to be thankful, and I hope you're having a fabulous Thanksgiving weekend!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

No Whining Allowed in Golf

Terrell Owens' recent comments about wishing he had Brett Favre as QB rather than Donovan McNabb was the last straw. Management has benched Owens for the remainder of the season and he'll likely not play again donning an Eagle on his jersey. His problem with the Eagles started because he wanted to renegotiate his already-lucrative seven-year contract after the first year.

Besides speaking to groups about the game of golf, I'm also an attorney, and a contract is a contract. One party can whine and complain, but the other party doesn't have to renegotiate as the Eagles have shown.

Thanks to T.O., I've discovered another reason why I love the game of golf. Seldom do you hear the golfers on any of the professional tours complain about their take-home pay. Except for company endorsements prevalent in every professional sport, they're not paid for their performance on-the-come or their shots in the past. They're paid for every swing they made, or not paid for every putt they missed.

It's called self-responsibility for your outcome. Perhaps, every sport should adopt the pro golfer's pay scale. For every completed pass thrown, every ball caught, every block made, or every ball hit, you get paid $X amount. Maybe then over-paid athletes will keep their mouths full with humble pie, so they can't say anything to further embarrass themselves and their sports.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Congrats to Annika for her Five-Peat!

On Sunday, Annika won the Mizuno Classic for the fifth consecutive time. She has surpassed Tiger Woods, Gene Sarazen, and Walter Hagen, who have each won four tournaments in a row. Prior to Annika, Laura Davies held the LGPA title for winning the Standard Register Ping tournament four times consecutively from 1994-97.

Winning five times in a row is an awesome feat in any sport. Congrats, Annika!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Congrats to the PGA for Hitting a Billion

The PGA Tour has reached its goal of a "Drive to a Billion." More than 2,000 charities and one million people have been aided by the money raised for charity by the TOUR and its players, tournaments, volunteers, sponsors and fans. The monies are raised from gallery receipts. If you've not been to PGA event, here's another reason to attend. Besides watching great golf, part of the proceeds of your ticket goes to a local charity. It took 67 years to reach a billion. Let's hope it takes less time to reach the next billion!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Knowing the Rules

If you play in tournaments, it's clear that you must know the rules of golf. And, if you don't, then you should ask someone in your foursome what the rules require in your given situation.

Michelle Wie's disqualification is a sad outcome for her inaugural professional event. I'm more dismayed at the interference of the reporter and his timing of his concern with her drop on the day before. I believe Michelle when she says she thought she made a proper drop. Neither her nor her caddie was trying to cheat by dropping the ball a few inches closer to the pin.

No doubt that this event will make her more cautious when taking a drop in future tournaments. But, it certainly is worth considering whether outsiders of the tournament, i.e. fans watching on T.V., reporters, or the gallery, should have any say about the rules during a tournament. I opt that they shouldn't or, if there is concern, it should be voiced at the time of the ruling, not a hole later and certainly not a day later. But, if a player chooses to disqualify him- or herself for an infraction (like David Toms during the British Open), then that's permissible.

Play well and according to the rules of the game!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Range Finders Allowed in Tournaments

The USGA has approved the use of Electronic Distance Measurement (EDM) devices during tournaments effective January 1, 2006. Apparently, the hunt for distance markers will no longer be as ferocious. The official tours, however, will continue to ban the use of those devices during tournament play.

One argument in favor of the EDMs is they help increase the pace of play by 20 to 30 minutes in a round. Thus, the golf course management companies can increase their revenues by having more players on the course.

I've got mixed feelings about EDMs. I have played with course yardage books, carts with GPS on board, and often times, I feel like screaming, "Too much information!" I don't want information overload when I'm about to hit a shot. Since I love to walk, finding a distance marker, and walking off the distance, works fine for me.

I'm old fashioned and the less electronic equipment intrusion on the sanctity of the golf course, the happier I am.

As to increasing speed of play, I am always for that idea. I walk and can play eighteen holes in less than four hours. I'm not sure how much of slow play is due to looking for distances. It seems slow play is caused more by players taking two or more practice swings, not walking quickly off the greens, not deciding the club to use until at their ball, and so forth. Or, for some, it's an inconsiderate attitude of "I paid the green fee and I'll play as fast as I like."

Regardless, if you're playing in a round of business golf with a client, leave the EDM in your bag. Remember, it's relationship building time, not the time to hit the perfect shot, and have your client watching you peer through your EDM most of the round.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Golf in the Bay Area

I'm excited to see San Francisco's Harding Park as this week's venue for the PGA American Express World Championships. The world's top players (sans Els and Goosen) are here and the weather has been beautiful. Who will reign as champion in San Francisco?

Meanwhile, the LPGA players are north of the Bay Area in the gold-country town of Auburn playing in the Long's Championship. Unfortunate about the timing for the ladies in terms of gallery attendance with both being played this weekend.

I played in a golf outing sponsored by a local private bank. First, we had a four-station clinic on our game: woods, pitching, irons, and putting. I learned a lot and then we went off to play an alternating shot, 9-hole tournament. I've spoken at these types of events, and it was fun to partake in one, so I can talk to organizers about the pros and cons from the perspective of an attendee.

For the pros, it was great to have everyone participate in the clinic -- whether a low handicapper or high handicapper -- people who learn together have a common bond that they can always talk about. I also liked the idea of a 9-hole tournament. It only took more than two hours and it was nice change to play in shorter format rather than the usual eighteen holes.

As to cons, as one can imagine, you only get a few minutes with the teaching professionals. Yet, two of them gave me very specific information to help me improve my game. So, the information is there for asking; one just needs to be assertive and ask.

Another con is the format of the tournament which was pretty confusing. I've never played in an alternate shot format. I felt like my tempo was thrown off a little. But, the format made it even more confusing in that the first two shots you alternated hitting between your partner's ball and your own ball. Just too confusing!

Finally, it paired two of us against the field. When playing in a networking event, I like the feeling of camaraderie when I'm part of a foursome.

Overall, it was a great event! I met some very nice people. One gentleman I met had read my book, On Course for Business, and after dinner, he asked me for my autograph and shared how much he enjoyed my book. Indeed I was flattered!

Play well!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Presidents Cup and More

It is great to see the the American team working as a team! They're tied with the International team as they go into the final day of singles matches. It's going to be an exciting day tomorrow and I hope the American guys prevail as the women did in the Solheim Cup. Go USA!

On Thursday, I played in a local Chamber of Commerce tournament and had a great time. I wasn't sure about how well I would play since I was sore from aerating my back yard. To my surprise, I played well. I suspect I did so because I didn't try to hit the ball hard, but took easy swings. The ball was going far and straight unlike my ugly slices of recent rounds.

One thing I had to catch myself from doing was being a stickler about the rules. My team was over par in a team scramble format, yet I was still worried about how many drives each player had hit and whose drive we needed next. My cart partner reminded me that we didn't have a chance to win and just have fun. He was right, yet I would have hated to have won knowing we didn't follow the rules. I like to walk my talk about playing with integrity and according to the rules at all times. Fortunately, we didn't place, but we had a great time.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Go USA!!

I awoke this morning watching the 9/11 memorials at Ground Zero and the Pentagon. You can't help but think back about that horrific attack on our country four years ago. From the somber mood on TV, I tuned into the Golf Channel to watch the Solheim Cup and was thrilled to see the USA was leading in several matches. Most notable of the matches was Paula Creamer over Laura Davies. I took her confidence onto the course and played with the best tempo in my swing and putting stroke in quite awhile.

Perhaps the lesson to be learned is watching the best play can help take your game up a level. Congratulations USA!!!

Friday, September 09, 2005

Rules are Rules in Solheim Cup

Did you happen to see the afternoon match with Annika Sorenstam? On the 17th hole, she had what looked like spike marks in her putting line. She asked for a ruling and whether there was any exception if they were indeed spike marks. After a fairly long delay, the Rules Official ruled that they were spike marks. Thus, she would have to putt around the marks as Tiger said when Vijay Singh complained about Phil Mickelson's spike marks.

It was nice to see that rules are rules. Until the USGA changes the rule about not being able to tap down spike marks on putting greens in the Official Rules, there was no reason for Annika to receive an exception and tap down the marks. Neverthless, it was unfortunate that the person who created the spike marks did not tap them down.

So, in your next round, if you happen to create spike marks with a slip or shuffle of your feet on the green, be considerate and tap them down.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Golf in Perspective

After seeing the horrible devastation of Katrina, it's a good lesson for me to remember golf is only a game. It's heart-wrenching to see the loss and suffering. I will play on Sunday and remember how lucky I am to play the great game of golf.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

It's Back, but Too Late for Tournament Play

I'm back from playing the team event. Unfortunately, our team didn't finish first. The good news though is my swing finally is back. I wasn't coming through on my woods and, late Sunday, I finally got that feel back. I also started hitting my irons accurately and crisply. I need to work on my putting, but at least I don't feel so hopelessly confused and frustrated about my game any longer!! It's fun to play hit 'em long and straight again!!!

Today, I played at the Links at Bodega Harbour on the Sonoma coast of California. It was like how I would envision playing in Scotland--thick fog, long grass, and windy. But, it was a delight to play!

I've played with three different playing partners in the last week, and I can't say enough how important it is to be an enjoyable playing partner, especially in your business golf rounds. I played with my dear friend today, but her etiquette is atrocious. She started to complain and whine after the second hole. She is constantly fidgeting when people are about to hit, or she'll sigh just before one putts. I finally told her on the eighteenth green, "Stop moving!" just before I sank my short putt.

It's annoying to play with someone who doesn't care if she disturbs or distracts others. Moreover, when you correct her, she doesn't apologize, but instead gets defensive and angry that you're bothered. I am not blaming her, or anyone else, for my bad shots. I just like simple consideration when I'm about to hit like I extend to others.

Here's a tip: If you're not playing well, keep your frustration to a minimum or, better yet, keep it to yourself. It's grating on your playing partners to hear the constant negativity, especially if you're in the cart together. If you're feeling trapped, take the clubs you need and try to walk to your ball more often. It gives you a chance to relax and breathe in some fresh air!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Back from Tucson, Arizona

I had a great time in beautiful Tucson. I played at The Preserve, which is a challenging course regardless of the temperature (It was in the high 90's). It is picturesque with the mountains serving as backdrop to the course. I played with a friend's "guest" set, and was pleasantly surprised that I could hit the ball fairly well. The bermuda-grass greens though were like putting on velcro. It took me the front nine to figure out the speed and break of those greens. Despite my putting, the round was a confidence booster as I get ready to play on Monday for the club's team. We're tied for first and playing against the team that we're tied with. We control our destiny!

The group that I spoke to had some of the most thoughtful questions I've had in a group. What to do when one person in the foursome is a serious golfer and another is not at all? How should my employee and I decide who plays with the husband and who plays with the wife? I'm going to answer these questions and more in my BizGolf E-Tips.

I send my BizGolf E-Tips on every other Tuesday. To sign up, visit To see an archive of past BizGolf E-Tips, visit You'll get a sense of what I talk about in each issue. They're short and sweet to keep your head in the game of business golf.

While flying to Tucson, I read that Tiger left the PGA Championship on Sunday night because he didn't think Mickelson, Bjorn, Love, and Elkington would all tie his score of two under. Is it me or does this strike you as being strange? He has his own jet. I'm sure he stays in a very comfortable, luxurious home or suite, if not the entire floor, of a first-class hotel. So, what's his hurry to get home? His wife was probably at the tournament with him. This was a Major, not just another ordinary PGA tournament. Lucky for Tiger Mickelson did win it outright, but what would have happened if Tiger made a playoff? I can't help, but think of the phrase, "Haste makes waste."

Play well and hit them straight this weekend!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The Ups and Downs of this Game

I love this game, but it has me flummoxed right now.

I played Sunday and thought my Dad and I are so far back, let's just go have fun and play well. We both played well and ended up winners of second low net. We were thrilled because neither of us expected to come in the money.

I was pleased because my game was much better and I saw hope. Then, I played yesterday and was disappointed with my game again. It truly is a rollercoaster ride of emotions with regard to my game. My partner and I split the points with our opponents and our club is now tied for first with a team from another club. We play against that team on Monday at a course I've not played for nearly eight years.

I don't know what happened yesterday except two possible things. I'm feeling golfed-out. I've played so many rounds of competitive golf in the last three weeks. I think I'm getting sloppy with my mental game and my swing. It makes me only admire more the professionals that play tournament after tournament.

The other thing is the course that I played was quite boring. Most of the holes look alike. I always had this sense of deja vu. Rather than seeing the layout of each hole and seeing a challenge, I think I got complacent and didn't keep my head in the round.

That's the beauty of this game. I can learn about myself and how I operate. I can get tough when the going gets tough and perhaps even do better when it is tough. And, I can get sloppy and lazy when I'm not challenged and bored.

So, I'm glad to be getting a change of scenary by leaving tomorrow for Arizona. I have a business golf presentation there and will play on Thursday. Then, a practice round on Sunday at the course that my team and I will play on Monday. It will certainly be an exciting round of golf on Monday!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

PGA Championship & My Game

I'm watching the final round of the PGA Championship and amazed at the heat and the difficulty of that course. The greens have hardened and are much faster than they were yesterday morning. As much as I like Phil, I'm worried. He doesn't seem to have that ability to close out a tournament and intimidate the others. Sergio said it best, "I still think 4 under can win this." He certainly doesn't have much confidence in Phil and Davis Love III. I doubt Sergio would have said that if Tiger was in the lead.

As to my game, I played the final round of the Club Championship on Thursday. I played the round with one thing in mind. Could I get my ball striking back? Overall, I'm pleased that I could make better ball contact. I slowed my backswing and worked on my tempo. I also put out of my head my recent struggles and made sure that those memories (rather, nightmares) didn't haunt me. Another thing I did was to just step up to the ball and swing. I let my muscle memory work instead of over thinking. Like in life, my golf swing can suffer from over analysis!

Today, I'm playing the final round of the Mixed Couples Club Championship with my Dad. I'm not even sure where we are in the standings. I just want to play well and have some fun. Then, tomorrow is the second to last match for my club's team play. We're just out of first and tomorrow is important that we play well.

Besides playing well for my partner and team, I'm ready to do so for myself!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

What's with this Game?

I just got off the phone with my Mom and she said she won $27 in mah jong. I was happy for her and replied, "You played m.j. better than I played today!" I am in my worst golf slump at the worst time. Today, I finished the second round of the Club Championship. I'm defending champ and intended to defend my title valiantly. Instead, it's been vitriol and venting. I'm also in the middle of the Mixed Couples Club Championship with my 77-year old father as partner. Last Sunday, I was embarassed that my Dad had a heavy burden with me as his playing partner.

My swing seems to have disappeared. I'm hitting my drives 10-20 yards shorter; my fairway woods aren't crisp. It's just down right frustrating! Thankfully, my entire game hasn't left me; I'm feeling good about my short game.

I had a good practice session this morning and felt good about the upcoming round. But, then I never had it on the course. I could say that my back is giving me problems (which it is) or I've lost some weight (which I have) and my swing just doesn't feel the same, but that doesn't explain how I could have a good practice session this morning.

This Thursday and Sunday are the final rounds of the upcoming Championships, respectively. Then, on Monday, I have a team event representing the Club at a course that I've not played before. I wish I could say that I'm going in with lots of confidence, but I'm clearly not.

Thus, the problem with my game. I've been beaten up on the course recently and I've lost swinging the club with the confidence and the crispness that I usually have. What's the answer to improving my game? I suspect it's forgetting the past several rounds and playing out of my head. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Frustrations with Playing Partners

I need to vent, and I'm sure some of you have had similar experiences. On Sunday and yesterday, I played in two different match play tournaments with two different partners.

The first day I played with a very close friend against two other members of our club. Even though I had a birdie on the second hole, I was rocky on the other five holes. At the seventh tee, my friend declares, "We're four down. This match will end quickly." "That's a great attitude!!" I shot back.

I had no intentions of conceding the match at that point and would never concede a match until it's clear that I've lost. After the seventh hole, it was obvious that I was playing solo against the twosome, although mentally it felt like I was playing against a threesome. I played with such determination and focus that I shot a five-over back nine, which is very good for me.

I understand if my playing partner is not playing well and is frustrated with her game. But, I don't appreciate the give-up attitude. We ultimately lost, but it was not until the 18th hole. Our opponents even graciously recognized we gave them a good fight to the end.

When I'm having an off day, and my playing partners are playing well, I try to help my partners with the logistics of playing. For example, I'll help look for fairway distance markers. I'll keep score, if that would help them concentrate on their game. I'll pull and tend the flag more often, so they don't have to worry about it and can focus on reading their putts. Or, I'll pick up their clubs on the green. I'm still trying to contribute and play well, but I'm also recognizing that my partners are playing better than I am and want to support them in continuing to do so.

Yesterday I had a team play event with another partner. I've never played with her as a partner and she seems to be a nice person. However, on a couple of occasions she did the worst thing possible to me, which is put doubt in my shot. In the first instance, I'm about 65 yards off the green and her ball is on the rough 20-30 feet short of the green. I've taken my practice swing and was set to take my swing when she yells, "Do you need me to mark my ball?" First of all, if I did, I would have asked her. My intent was to sail over her ball and stop the ball near the pin. She should have seen that I was just about to swing and, instead of being helpful, she was being disruptive.

The other time was when I was reading my putt, which was about 15 feet from the pin on the rough with a downhill 5" break right to left. I was visualizing my putt when she used her putter to show me the line 3" on the other side of the hole of the break. Annoyed, I declared, "No way!" and had to back off and start my routine over again. When I did finally putt, it went into the hole for a nice birdie.

I understand she was trying to be helpful in both instances, but she instead interfered with my concentration and confidence. If there were other instances, I would have said something to her politely, but fortunately there weren't any others.

In summary, when you're playing as partners with others, make sure you're being a partner and not a distraction and annoyance. It will make way for others wanting to play competitively with you again.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Oregon Golf was Beautiful!

I'm back from playing the south course of The Reserve in Hillsboro, Oregon. This former farm town is now Oregon's high-tech area. The Reserve is a slice of green-grass heaven amid the techno craze. Looking at each hole from the tee box was a beautiful site of trees, water hazards, bunkers, and never a home. So unlike courses in Northern California, I felt like I was playing in another world with no congestion or cell phones since they're banned on the course (Hurrah!).

As to the event, it was great to speak to the group. The sponsor wanted me to talk about what you can learn about a person while playing golf together. It was a fun and interactive group and everyone enjoyed learning and sharing their insights about others.

The two gentlemen that I played with were just that...gentlemen!!! They worked together and one offered to ride with me, so I wouldn't be alone in my cart. It was a generous move on their part and I appreciated the gesture. Like the other scramble that I played in and wrote about, we also never hinted at cheating. What a delight to not have to worry about that with your playing partners!

I hit Oregon during their week of fabulous weather. The temperatures were in the high 80's and low 90's. Thankfully, the host ordered large buckets of ice and bottled water throughout the course. I'm not used to that heat, and I could feel a brain haze come over me, so the water and our box lunches were perfect! It's a good reminder for everyone to drink plenty of water during the summer heat.

I hope to return to Oregon for other talks, more golf, or even a possible move!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Tiger Victorious!

Hmm...I know I made a post about Tiger's victory while he was still playing the 16th hole and I had to leave for the airport. I wrote: forget fiance/wife distractions or he's in the slump, Tiger is back with a new swing and another Major victory this year. He makes it look so easy (although those two missed short putts on the front nine made it even closer). Congrats, Tiger!!!!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Balls Are Up!

The British Open Championship has finally started and it's exciting to watch yet another major. Although I've never considered the courses in Scotland as beautiful, St. Andrews is steeped in lore, tradition, and considered the birthplace of the game I love. I've never gotten used to the barren look of the courses and doubt I'd fare well with the wind, pot bunkers, and fast fairways. But, one day I look forward to taking in the ocean air and taking the bounces as I get them at St. Andrews.

This week is filled with talk about Jack Nicklaus and his retirement from the game. As one of the greatest golfers leaves the game another is making her move into playing in the Masters. After nearly missing the cut in the USGA Men's Amateur Public Links, Michelle Wie has moved into the third round. She trounced her first-round match play opponent with a 6 and 5 victory. After missing the cut at the John Deere Classic, she has shown grit.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Weekend Golf Thoughts

Number 60 in women's golf, Marisa Baena, won the HSBC Women's World Match Play, which shows the fun of the match play format. The beauty of match play is one or two bad holes won't knock you out of contention, unlike stroke play. Baena is a first-time winner, who to get to the final match had to beat Candice Kung, who beat #1 women's player, Annika.

It was great to see Jim Furyk win. Clearly it was an emotional victory for Furyk after losing last week and coming back from his wrist surgery. Meanwhile Tiger earns more than $50 million in career earnings while playing on the Tour. That amount pales to the amount he earns as the highest paid athlete in endorsements.

What a fun way to make a living!

Monday, June 27, 2005

It's Not Over Till It's Over

I finished playing yesterday just in time to see the final holes of both the LPGA and PGA tournaments. First, the finish to USGA Ladies Open matched the winner's namesake. Birdie Kim's birdie from the sand was a spectacular shot for the win. She was only trying to make par and finished with a win. It's great to see both Championship winners are relative unknowns and first-time winners.

Then, I watched the PGA tournament with hopes that Jim Furyk would have his first win after his injury. Instead, I watched Padraig Harrington's 65-foot incredible eagle putt for the win. A competitor to the end, Furyk sank his putt slightly off the green for a birdie, but alas one shot off the win.

Watching these finishes should remind us to play until the ball hits the bottom of the last hole! Play well and play often!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The Open Was Indeed an Open

The USGA Open Championship is unlike any other PGA tour event because you don't have to be a member of the PGA or professional to play. The USGA holds qualifying rounds whereby an amateur can earn a place on Thursday.

Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina was the host of this year's Open. I was in awe of the course, especially those greens. I don't know anyone who has played it, but it looks demoralizing even without USGA's difficult pin positions. For regulars of No. 2, their short games must be magnificient.

Magnificient is the word to describe Michael Campbell's final round. A New Zealander who hasn't played regularly on either the European Tour or the PGA had to qualify to play the Open by winning a spot at the first-ever held qualifer in Europe. To win the Open, without winning a PGA Tour event and suffering ups and downs in his career, is what the Open is all about.

Although Tiger was in close pursuit, Campbell and Jason Gore, who also had to qualify, were the feel good stories of the Open.

Monday, June 13, 2005

No Washington, but Plenty of Maryland

I ended up sick on Friday with a fever and stomach flu, so I couldn't go to Seattle for the golf tournament as a guest of MasterCard's. As a result, I got to watch a lot of the McDonald's LPGA Championship and the Booz Allen Classic.

First, Annika is amazing and arguably the best and most consistent golfer of both tours. She won the LPGA Championship three consecutive times and is on her way to the Grand Slam. I was pleased to see how well Michelle Wie played as she finished a solid second to Annika.

As to the Booz Allen Classic, we saw an example of improper etiquette from Rory Sabbatini while playing with Ben Crane. On the 17th hole, the twosome was put on the clock for slow play. Self admonishing is Crane for his slow play, but on the Tour, if you're on the clock ten times in the season, you are fined. Sabbatini is a notoriously fast player and was annoyed with Crane's slow play and presumably being on the clock. So, on the 17th green, Sabbatini putted out of turn (i.e., he putted when Crane was further from the hole), and then walked to the 18th tee and hit his drive leaving Crane to putt out on the 17th green.

There are a couple of lessons for business golfers. First, if you're slow, you need to figure out a way to speed up without interfering with your game. Whether it's determining your distance as you walk up to your ball and knowing which club to hit, or taking one practice swing only. Slow play is annoying to faster players and the rest of the field. Although faster players need to control their emotions and behave appropriately around slower players, playing slowly will not win you golf friends.

Second, be mindful of who you invite to your foursome and pairing of your group. On the Tour, players have no control on who they're playing with during the tournament. It depends on the scores shot the day before and the pairings are determined by the standings. But, if you have some say in pairings of your group or a tournament, don' t pair a slow player with a very fast player. Players may develop not so pleasant feelings about one another and your intended goal of building business relationships may be defeated.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Practice, Practice, Practice

If you watched the third round of the Memorial, you saw camera shots of Tiger on the driving range after he finished playing 18 holes. He didn't just have one large bag of balls; he had four large bags! I don't practice as much as I should, but I did last week. Although I didn't hit four large bags, I could tell the difference in my confidence of my swing and in my new clubs. So, a mantra that I know I would certainly benefit from is practice, practice, practice.

Perhaps you subscribe to my BizGolf E-Tips <>, and saw my latest suggestion for playing business golf is to invite a client or prospect to a practice session at the driving range. You'll still have relationship-building time and both of you will get some much needed practice.

I'm off to Seattle, Washington as a guest of MasterCard's where I will be playing Washington National Golf Club. It sounds like a tough course, but I hope to enjoy the beautiful scenary of the Pacific Northwest and time with new friends.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Tiger Never Gives Up

Tiger recently made a comment about his 142-consecutive cuts made in his diary. He says, "Mostly, the streak represents good execution down the stretch or good, old-fashioned luck." Instead of "or," I would have used "and." His streak is definitely good execution on his part and in one of my earlier posts I talked about having luck when playing golf. It's nice to see that a player of his caliber can admit to having some lucky bounces now and then.

His other thought was, "You never know what can happen if you keep trying." That's a great reminder for us in whatever endeavor we are in. Whether it's getting ten no's when cold calling or trying to beat your personal best golf score, keep trying and you will get a different result. It might not be the one that you want, but it'll be one that you can learn from.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

No Cheating Here!

Yesterday I had a great time playing in a scramble. The woman who invited me is a bank vice president and included in our foursome was her husband and a member of the country club that they are all members of. As a fundraiser for a local college, they, of course, sold mulligans and raffle tickets.

We each had two mulligans for the entire round. It was such a delight to play with this foursome because there was never a hint of cheating with the mulligans. I've played in others where some of the other players were a little generous with how they used their mulligans, and even though I said something about it, it still happened.

With my foursome yesterday, we kept count of the mulligans and when we were out of them, we were out. On our 17th hole, we could have used a mulligan because we ended up shooting a bogey on that hole. But, there was never any question and we took the bogey on our card.

In a business golf round, I'm less apt to call someone when they're cheating whether out of ignorance or intentional. I keep a mental note of it though. But, in a tournament, I don't want to be a winner when I know there was cheating. We didn't win yesterday, but it felt good to know that our two under was legit. Although we didn't win in golf, two of us won some nice raffle prizes--enough of them for each of us to take something home. So we each left as a winner, most importantly, with our integrity intact.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Golf Leads to Leads

On Friday, I played in my club's team event with two other players I had not previously known from another club. Even though I had laryngitis, I was still able to talk some during the round. Eventually, the conversation turned to what type of work I do, and I shared that, besides being an attorney, I speak to corporations and associations about using golf to develop and enhance business relationships and to increase sales.

By the time we had lunch with four others, my voice was almost gone, so I didn't say much. When the conversation turned to someone's work schedule, one of my opponents excitedly said, "Listen to what she does!" as she pointed to me. Despite the lack of my usual strong speaker's voice, I shared what I did. As two women asked if I'd be interested in referrals to two different major corporatons in the area, I thought even without my voice, golf is a great networking tool!

Get out on the course! You never know who you will meet whether for friendship or a business relationship.

Friday, May 13, 2005

A Streak to the End

Tiger failed to make his 143rd consecutive cut today at the EDS Byron Nelson Championship. It's a hard number to even comprehend. Tiger played in 142 consecutive PGA tournaments and made the cut to play on the weekend in each of them. Given the struggles with his swing over the last couple of years, that's a testament to his mental perseverance and will to win. When will someone break Tiger's record? I doubt it'll be in my lifetime, if ever.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Byron Nelson - The Legend Lives On

Ninety-three years young, Lord Byron, as he is known, is hosting this week's tournament. He commands the presence of Tiger, Phil, Retief, Earnie, and Vijay as if his tournament was a major. And, each player pays homage to him at his throne just off the 18th green. Sixty years ago, Lord Byron won eleven straight PGA tour tournaments and eighteen tournaments in that year. He deserves every player's respect as a living legend in the game we love. Watch this tournament as the fate of the #1 golfer in the world is again at stake!

Monday, May 09, 2005

More than Just a Pretty Swing!

Vijay Singh won again yesterday in a playoff against Sergio Garcia and Jim Furyk. He's not my favorite Tour player, but I certainly respect his game.

Someone I know insists that the player with the best technical swing will win because his swing won't fail him. I think that it is an inane comment. First of all, having a technically-correct golf swing discounts the fact that playing well in this game also means having a good short game.

In addition, saying someone has a good swing and, therefore, will likely win the tournament is like saying the candidate who was selected for the job got the position he was the best looking. It discounts one's experience, confidence-level, intimidation-factor, and a host of other factors.

I think it's possible to have the most technically correct swing and not win in pressure situations. Perhaps the player gets the yips or tenses up, and he isn't able to come through with the proper swing. According to the CBS commentator, Vijay has a hundred books on the mental side of the game. It's no surprise given how he handles the pressure in each tournament.

Besides, would I mind having an unconventional swing, like Jim Furyk? It can't be too bad. He's in the top one-half of one percent of all golfers in the world and has won twenty million on the Tour.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Soar with the Eagles

In the New York Times, an article talked about how Tiger Woods and Annika Sorenstam have become good friends. It's fitting that the best players in our lifetime on their respective tours can talk about golf, the pressures of their success, and life in general.

When I speak to groups, I always encourage beginners to find players of slightly more advanced skills. I have often noticed that my game is lifted to another level when I play with golfers that are better players than I am. Whether it's watching the tempo of their swings, or picking up on their confidence levels, it just seems to happen.

It's not to say that I don't want to play with players that aren't as good as I am. They can be fun to play with simply because of their personalities. I just don't want beginners to think they have to play with only beginners. Instead, they need to soar with the golf eagles, and improve their games!

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Major Letdown

I've spoken to some friends about how watching a golf tournament isn't as much fun when Tiger, Retief, Ernie, Phil, and Vijay aren't playing in the tournament together. Well, this weekend Vijay is playing in Houston at the Shell Open, while Ernie and Retief are in China at the Johnny Walker Tournament

Even if it's not a major, again, if the members of your sphere of influence follow golf, then you should as well. One highlight of this weekend is Vijay's election into the Hall of Fame. Last weekend it was Darrell Clarke's $700 plaid trousers and his double-bogey on the 18th hole. But, with a wife at home who is a survivor of cancer, he was a class act when talking about his loss. He suggested that he only lost a golf tournament and that there's more to life.

Remember that when you play your next round of golf, especially in a business golf round. No matter our score or how we play in a given day, it's only a game for us--it's not how we make a living.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

My Masters Thoughts

The Masters is my favorite tournament. On Monday, a friend and I were e-mailing about Tiger's victory. The friend said Tiger was lucky and DiMarco should have won. Given his lead going into the third round, it looked like DiMarco would win, and I would have been very happy if he had won. But, to claim that Tiger's victory was luck struck me as being unfair and odd. First, unfair because Tiger had to come back from as much as a seven-stroke deficit. He pulled it off on Sunday morning to even take the lead going into the final round.

And, odd because Tiger's chip shot on the 16th green was fabulous. First, Tiger had to read the green, hit the ball, and then it had to drop in. I don't know how many players (pro or amateur) could have made that shot. Sure there is a modicum of luck that it went in, but it isn't like Tiger skulled it or hit it fat, and the ball happened to land where it did, so it would take the break, and then go in. Tiger had the imagination and skill to pull that shot off.

Besides, isn't some luck (serendipity, providence, or whatever you want to call it) always a factor in a person's success? I think even Donald Trump would say luck is some part of his success mixed with his vision, hard work, persistence, and focus on achieveing his goals.

To have luck, you have to put yourself in a position to receive it. So, maybe it's luck Tiger's chip went in, but he put himself in a position to chip it in. And, if you have a long putt, at least you hit the ball on the green, read the break, and then stroked the ball well, so it went into the hole.

I'm not ever one to kick a gift horse in the mouth. I've had my breaks on the golf course for which I'm grateful and will admit to. But, to chalk Tiger's victory to just luck is bad form and, a frightening thought, perhaps even a method of attracting a share of one's own bad luck.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Rained Out Again!

As long as I've been a golfer, which is 15 years now, I have never seen the PGA season inundated with rain. Last week's tournament was rain delayed with a Monday start, and now the Masters has been struck with the same fate.

Be patient and try to see some of the tournament. It's the most revered tournament on the PGA schedule. Despite the recent controversies, it's still my favorite Major filled with lore, tradition, and beauty.

Remember, keep in the conversation and watch this tournament. Your golfing clients and prospects will definitely be talking about it, especially Tiger's putt into the water. Ouch!

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Dittos and What If They Cheat?

In my last posting, I asked the rain to go away for the last tournament. We're asking for the same as the Players Championship has also been rain delayed. At least the ladies are playing in their first major with Annika tied for the lead.

On another note, a professional golfer this week asked the PGA to check Tiger's driver to see if it conformed to the PGA's rules regarding equipment specs. He was watching the Ford Tournament and couldn't believe Tiger could out drive Phil by 20-25 yards. Well, Tiger can and does with his new Nike driver, which is legal according to the PGA.

So, what do you do if you're playing a business golf round and your guest is cheating? First, don't automatically assume that the person is cheating. He or she may simply not know the rules of golf, since we're not required to learn them before we can play like in other countries. Yes, some countries make golfers take playing, rules, and etiquette tests before they can get their "driver's license" to play on the course. The idea is to prevent cheating and five-hour rounds. Doesn't seem like a bad idea for us to have the same! I hate slow play.

But, back to playing with a "cheater." If your guest is a new player, then he's not likely cheating, but just ignorant of the rules. If she is a single digit, has played for 20 years, then you can probably conclude she knows the rules and is cheating for some reason. You should definitely take note! When I'm considering to do business with people, I want to make sure they're not dishonest. In a round of golf, you'll get valuable information about your playing partners. Is this just competitiveness gone too far, and/or a major flaw in her business ethics? If you decide to still do some business with her, then armed with this information, you can be more careful. Thanks to your round of golf together, you'll at least be able to protect yourself better!

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

The PGA Tour seems to have had more rain delays as the race for #1 golfer in the world tightens. The Bay Hill Invitational has been delayed with Vijay Singh, Ernie Els and Retief Goosen taking aim at Tiger. If you live in a weather delayed area where playing golf hasn't become a thought yet, start preparing your game. Check your equipment. Do you need new grips? New shoe spikes? Practice putting in your living room or office, and start thinking about your game! And, don't miss Michelle Wie and Annika going at each other in the Safeway tournament this weekend!

Monday, March 14, 2005

Even Vijay Misses 3 Foot Putts

Vijay uncharacteristically missed a three-foot putt to continue the playoff against Padraig Harrington in the Honda Classic. If Vijay, who practices hours in a day, and can miss a three footer, then we certainly can't get down on ourselves when we do so. To our relief, our missed putts don't cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars.

I played in a scramble this weekend with my niece, father, and friend and had a great time. You can spot the leaders in foursomes by who takes charge in deciding which drive to use, and other characteristics of players.

If you're new to golf, scrambles are the perfect venue for you as you start playing business golf outings. Let the long-ball hitters hit their drives, and you can help with your short game, which you should practice before you play in the tournament. Just make sure you play with proper etiquette, know the rules, and are a fun playing partner!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

A Great Tournament

Sunday's final pairing between Tiger and Phil lived up to what everyone expected. It was the most exciting final round that I've seen in a long time. I can't wait to see another tournament with the top ranked players again.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Tiger vs. Phil!

This is the showdown we've been waiting to see. A chance to beat Tiger versus Tiger's chance to reclaim the #1 ranking in the world. Watch this tournament, so you can stay in the conversation. And, if you didn't see Tiger's shot to the 16th par-4 hole on Saturday, you missed a shot that was as much fun to watch as it was for Tiger to hit. Course management? Not for Tiger!

Friday, February 25, 2005

Drive for show, putt for dough!

Tiger's loss in match play today is a testament to that popular saying in golf. Tiger outdrove his opponent, but couldn't sink his putts. So, when clients ask me how good of a golfer do they have to be in order to play golf for business, I repeat that saying.

If you can make consistent ball contact, regardless of the distance of your shots, you can play business golf. But, before doing so, you MUST learn to play with proper business golf etiquette and with a knowledge of the basic rules. As you'd expect, those two topics are covered in my book, On Course for Business. Or, if you have a question about them, please write a comment.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Stay in the Conversation

If you use golf to build rapport with your clients, then it's a good idea to follow the news about the professinal tournaments being played. So, if a client talks about what's going on, you'll be able to stay in the conversation.

The World Golf Championship - Accenture Match Play Championship starts today in Carlsbad, California. It's a match play format, which is different than the stroke play tournaments that we usually see on the weekends, so I thought I'd talk about it.

In stroke play, the player with the lowest score wins the tournament. In match play, two players compete against one another. The player who wins the most holes (by having the lowest score on a hole) is the winner of the match. Then, he goes on to play against another opponent.

If you see Tiger with the score of say "5 & 4" that means he had won five holes with only four holes to play, so he won the match. Scoring will be referred to by the number of the holes that the player has won or lost. So, if Tiger is one up with four to play, that means he's leading in the match by one hole and there are four holes to play. If he's one down with five to play, then he's losing by one hole with five holes to play. If the players have the score, then the hole is halved.

By the way, Tiger is the two-time defending champion of this tournament.

As to the LPGA, its first tournament of the year is in Hawaii at the SBS Open. Michelle Wie is playing as an amateur, so this tournament will be in the news.

If your clients watch the Champion Tour, then you might want to keep up with that tour as well. You can get the latest about all of the tours at

Enjoy the great golf in the coming days!

Welcome to Business Golf Blog

Hi, my name is Suzanne Woo, founder and president of BizGolf Dynamics at As a sought-after speaker, author of On Course for Business (Wiley), and consultant, I speak to organizations and work with individuals on using golf to develop and enhance business relationships. I have a unique blend of business savvy as a California real estate attorney and a passion for the game of golf.

I've created this blog, so we can talk about how you use, or want to use, golf for your business success. I want to hear stories on how you used golf to woo a prospect, and even horror stories on "what not to do" during a business golf round. If you have questions about golf etiquette or how play golf for business in general, let's hear those too!