Saturday, December 27, 2008

Golf Just for Fun with Family

My niece has been attending Notre Dame and is home for the Christmas holiday. We didn't go shopping to catch Day-After-Christmas sales. Instead, with a break in the weather here in the San Francisco Bay Area, we had a chance to play golf yesterday with my nephew and my Dad. I played horribly. I haven't played in two weeks and, more importantly, I didn't care about my score. It was time for us to just laugh and tease one another when we had bad shots. Want to spend time with your kids in your life? I can't think of a better way to do so than by playing 18 holes together! Here's a picture of us at Spanish Bay earlier this year. Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Cheater On and Off the Course

I've always believed if someone cheats on the golf course, you'll likely discover he or she also cheats off the course. Bernard Madoff, the biggest cheat of the century, appears to have cheated on the course as well, which should come as no surprise. After not playing for a year, he posted an 87 at one of three country clubs that he calls home. Wouldn't we all like to have his game? Check out his scores on CNBC.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Using Golf Off the Course to Build Rapport

I've had two instances where I've used golf to my advantage even without playing golf with the other parties. The first time I used golf to my benefit was at a local pizzeria. The owner-host was always professional during past visits, but never friendly. The other night I started talking about golf with him, and it was like we were long lost friends. At the end of the night, he gave me his business card and told me to call him whenever I wanted to go out and play the course we talked about that evening. It was a surprise, and I look forward to go back to his restaurant.

The latest incident involved getting my car repaired at a local dealership. On Friday, I brought in the car to remedy a same noise I was hearing, but it was never repaired during the previous two visits. I test drove the car with the shop foreman and somehow we ended up talking about golf. When I picked up my car today, not only was the noise repaired, but three other items were also repaired that I didn't complain about. According to the service advisor, the foreman said because my car warranty was about to expire, so he gave it a careful look over.

Okay, I can "feel" the skepticism about car dealers and my repairs. But I think it was a sincere gesture to help me fix my car.

Unlike politics or religion, which can create a bond or an immediate enemy with a stranger, golf doesn't bring up such intense feelings. It's more likely that if you meet a fellow golfer, you'll have a friend and someone who might help you in ways you can't imagine.

Play on!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Wie Makes It!

I've been hard on Michelle Wie because of the decisions that she or, more likely, her parents have made. Today she qualified to play on the LPGA. I congratulate her!

Unlike some decisions they've made, she or her camp made the right decision to not talk to the media all week. The media can be very annoying by asking certain questions (or, as we've seen recently, not asking questions when they should). Whoever decided to shut them out, made the best decision I've seen in a long time. She didn't have to parse her words and could just focus on her game rather than what the press was asking or saying.

In the interviews post-qualifying, she sounds more mature and positive about her future. I hope her time at Stanford and away from the media have given her chance to assess what has worked and what hasn't for her career and confidence. It was encouraging that she was talking about playing on the LPGA tour and the U.S. Women's Open. I hope her dreams of grandeur by making a cut on a PGA tour have been put to rest. She just needs to win and she might be able to do so on the LPGA.

I was surprised by some golf fan's vitriol toward Wie. They complained she shouldn't be getting all of this media attention and she is a has been. She was a media phenomenon and deserved it for her youth, long drives, and her game at one time. She then had a horrible year this year, and had some deserved bad press with withdrawing from Annika's tournament Nonetheless I applaud her efforts in Q-School because she had such pressure and expectations on her to succeed. Thankfully, she did it!

Wie Does It!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Playing Golf with Your Boss

Golf Digest has a short article about what to do if your boss asks you to play a round of golf. It's a pretty good article and echoes many points that I give in my book, On Course for Business--Women and Golf.

I'd like to add a couple of points. First, on that day, you should not be trying to shoot your personal best. If it happens that you play your best round, great (and be gracious about it)! But you shouldn't be so focused on your game that you go into a competitive mode. For me, that means I don't talk as much, and spend a bit more time on reads, etc. If you're playing with your boss, you want to be conversational as much as he or she is, and keep the atmosphere in your group light.

Second, make sure you're on your best behavior. It's not a day to drink alcohol, smoke your cigar, tell jokes, swear, or throw clubs, even if your boss is doing so. Imagine that you're playing golf with your priest or mother that day. Whoever it is that if you did something out of line, you know you'll never get away with it. If your boss is drinking alcohol, and offers you a drink, consider sipping it slowly. Or do what my niece does in college -- she pours some of her drink out when no one is looking.

Playing golf is a great way to deepen your relationship with your boss, but it can backfire. Believe me when I say I've heard stories that my audience members have shared about incredibly stupid behavior with bosses and clients.

P.S. Gents, don't let my book title scare you away from it. I have a chapter in it just for you. I talk about what to do if you're playing with a female business decision-maker. You might change your game a bit when playing with her.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Schwarzenegger's Attempt to Terminate Golf

California is facing a $11 Billion deficit this year. Rather than cut spending dramatically, Governor Schwarzenegger's answer is to put a sales tax on every round of golf at 8.75%. With the economy, drought, and now a possible sales tax, I don't know how much golf course operators can take.

And, as a resident in California, I'm not sure how much longer I can take living in this state. The estimated deficit in two years is $28 Billion. It's amazing how politicians throw around the term "billions" now as if it were just pennies.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Who Should We Thank at Our Course

During a recent business golf event held at Sevillano Links in Northern California, I learned from the Course Superintendent that his staff spends ten minutes on every green fixing ball marks. If they don't fix them first, they'll shave the grass off with the mower and cause a scar on the green. That's three hours spent on doing something that each of us as courteous golfers should be fixing ourselves.

The course maintenance crew is probably the most overlooked, but the most important to our golfing experience. So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, next time you see the staff on the course, at least say hi, if not thanks for their efforts.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The "Go-to-Club"

We all have our favorite club, our "Go-To-Club." There is a new product on the market that men can actually use as their "need-to-go" club. Rather than sauntering into the woods, or to be less obvious, hitting into the woods, to relieve themselves. Men can use the UroClub right in the middle of the fairway.

It's a faux 7-iron, with a wider opening to hold up to half a liter of liquid, and most importantly, a tight-fitting seal. For privacy, a towel attaches to his belt and he can have hands-free relief.

The obvious advantages for men are he saves strokes if he used to hit intentionally into the woods and he can drink more while playing.

Honestly...I think I'd rather have him just go into the woods.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Cranky Creamer

On Friday at Half Moon Bay, Paula Creamer had a bad day. She shot scathing looks at her caddy, jammed her club into her bag, and displayed the worst behavior of any LPGA pro that I've seen.

Then she won the tournament and had tears of joy. I hope part of the reason for the tears wasn't just being sentimental because she won a tournament in front of her local fans. Instead some of those tears should be out of embarrassment for how she acted on the golf course on Friday.

Worst is little girls thinking this is an appropriate way to behave. She apologized to her caddy, but she should also include one to her fans and those who might think of her as a role model. To be clear, I've never held athletes as role models, but unfortunately with our media today kids have no one else to see as potential role models.

Finally, if Creamer can't take responsibility for her bad shots, and instead blames them on her caddy, she has a lot of growing up to do. Let's hope she does it fast.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Use Golf to Build Relationships Especially Now

In these economic unsettling times, it's more important than ever to stay in contact with your clients and prospects. If you know they play golf, it's easy to use golf, e.g. USA's victory in the Ryder Cup, as an opener for your phone call or email.

Even better is if you can spend some face time with them at a professional golf tournament. If you're in the San Francisco Bay Area, we're fortunate to have two opportunities to invite clients and prospects in the near future.

First is the Samsung World Championship in beautiful Half Moon Bay, California. Enjoy scenic Half Moon Bay in early Fall and watch the top 20 female professionals play between October 1st and 5th. The second opportunity is at the Longs Drug Challenge in Danville, California between October 9th and 12th. It'll likely be warmer since Danville is in the East Bay and you can watch a larger field play at Blackhawk Country Club.

Use your passion for golf to build rapport and deepen your business relationships.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Adieu Golf for Women Magazine

I was shocked to read that Golf for Women has folded. I have been featured in GFW several times, including a booklet comprising of my tips from my 72 Secrets for Successful Business Golf.

What started this closure was Susan Reed's announcement that she was resigning as editor of GFW to join O, the Oprah Magazine as editor. Congratulations, Susan, on your new position! Susan, let's work together to get Oprah to turn millions of her female viewers into golfers. Best of luck to you in your new position!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Tiger Faking It

Retief Goosen thought Tiger was faking his pain and trying to create drama at the Open. I've been a fan of Retief's, but this is the most preposterous thing I've ever heard. Tiger doesn't need to fake anything to create drama. His playing in a Major is enough drama as it is. This will be clear to everyone, including Retief, when the next two Majors are played sans Tiger.

In Retief's defense, he was playing and finished T14 at 5 over. He may not have seen Tiger's grimaces, his limping off the tee box, using his clubs as canes, rather than his weapons.

I've had pain caused by a herniated disc in my neck that made me understand why people commit suicide because of their constant high pain levels. At my worst, if anyone touched any part of my body, I felt excruciating pain. I don't know what pain level Tiger suffered when swinging 130 mph on his leg with two stress fractures in his left tibia and a torn ACL, but I have a feeling it's more than Retief has ever felt, except maybe when he was struck by lightning when he was a kid and has since forgotten the pain.

Retief, a little compassion and an apology to Tiger are appropriate right now.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tiger Out for the Season

Tiger announced today that he's going to have additional knee surgery and is out for the season. Besides suffering from soreness of the knee surgery that he had in April, he also suffered two stress fractures in his left tibia, which was causing him pain during the Open.

Tiger hinted something else was going on when a reporter asked him if the pain was caused by soreness from his surgery or something else. Tiger responded with a big smile, and said, "I know what it is." That told me something else was going on and it wasn't good.

I can't imagine Tiger not playing in the two remaining Majors -- the Open and the PGA Championship. Television networks, the PGA, and millions of golf fans must all be disappointed. Worse yet is for the winners of both Majors. They may always wonder after their victories, what if Tiger was playing? Would I still have won? It's going to be inevitable for them and others to wonder, but to the eventual victors, "Congrats! You won a Major and still beat the field!"

Tiger, thanks for the most memorable US Open, and hope your recovery goes well!

Do you play like Rocco?

Below is my latest BizGolf E-Tip. If you'd like to receive my BizGolf E-Tips, you can subscribe at

Did you watch Rocco Mediate play in the U.S. Open? Rocco gave a lesson on how to build relationships on the golf course.

I always emphasize with my clients that you're not out there to shoot your personal best score when playing in a business golf round. You should be out there building or deepening your business relationships. You're out there to be the gracious host and making sure your clients or prospects are enjoying their time with you on the links.

Rocco was obviously trying to shoot his personal best as he was trying to be the victor of the US Open. But he put on his "happy face" as NBC commentator Roger Maltbie described throughout most of his rounds on Sunday and Monday. By doing so he was almost successful in defeating the best golfer in the world, but he also developed a relationship with the thousands of fan in attendance as well as t.v. viewers. His personality and happy-go-lucky attitude made him a fan favorite over Tiger.

So when you're playing your business golf rounds, remember Rocco and you'll likely play your best round of business golf!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Amazing Victory!

I know people don't like Tiger. I've never understood why, but after today, I don't know how anyone could still not like him. He showed grit and beyond-human determination in playing 91 holes after surgery on his left knee, which was obviously causing him pain every day. Until Thursday, he hadn't even played or walked 18 holes, since his last round at the Majors. Yet he was able to go out and win his 14th Major.

If Rocco had won, I would have been just as pleased. I like his humble demeanor and his happy-go-lucky attitude. He demanded Tiger's respect and certainly made Tiger earn his 14th. Most of the higher-ranked golfers seldom give Tiger the fight that Rocco did today.

One friend complains that Tiger gets all of the lucky breaks. I think you "earn" luck. As a golfer with three holes in one, I would say they were lucky shots, but it took some skill to get the ball near the hole. After the ball lands, though, I concede it's luck if it goes in the hole. The same with Tiger. He's lucky when his chip on 17 goes into the hole, but at least he aimed well to hit the pin and got the bounce into the hole.

Another person says he's a show off and gets too excited when he does well. Get real is what I say. I think his expressions of glee or disbelief equal his focus and determination. He gets to celebrate all he wants when he makes great shots that go in the hole or fall to his knees when he's disappointed in his effort or the outcome. I agree though that cursing on national t.v. is unacceptable.

Perhaps the people who dislike Tiger so vehemently should take a look in the mirror about who they are. To not give Tiger credit for this victory and be sour about him shows more about their bitterness and inability to celebrate someone else's phenomenal efforts.

Congratulations to both Tiger and Rocco for making this the most memorable US Open I've ever watched!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Just What the Doctor Ordered!

According to a study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, golf can correspond to a five-year increase in life expectancy. The study is based on data from 300,000 Swedish golfers.

The death rate among golfers is 40% lower than the rest of the population, which equates to five extra years. Cited reasons for the health benefits include being outdoors for four to five hours, walking at a fast pace (i.e., get out of your carts), playing into an old age, and experiencing positive social and psychological aspects of the game.

Here's more good news: Have a low handicap and you'll have the lowest death rate!

Next time your boss, spouse, or friend, complains about your playing golf, you now know what to say: I'm following Dr.'s orders!

Go out and add to your life expectancy this weekend!!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Do you have this unpleasant habit?

I've played golf with two men who both spat on the greens while those of us in the foursome were lining up our putts.

I suspect it is a bad habit for both men, but it's really not pleasant to be around. Neither was a tobacco chewer, so I'm not sure the reason for their doing so. Perhaps you recall when professional golfer, Sergio Garcia, spat into the hole in disgust after missing his putt. I believe the PGA fined him for it and he half-heartedly apologized. If this is one of your habits, try to refrain especially during a business golf round.

Also if you know any women in the S.F. Bay Area who would like to learn how to play and have a fun day, with wine-tasting after golf, please let her know about the Women in Golf events that I'll be holding in June. The events will be held at Mather Golf Course (Sacramento), Callippe Preserve Golf (Pleasanton), Crystal Springs Golf Course (Burlingame), and Foxtail Golf Club (Rohnert Park). To learn more about the events, visit It'll be a fun way to learn game!

Friday, May 02, 2008

2009 US Women's Open Course Preview

I traveled quite a bit last month, and one stop was at the Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem, PA, which is the home of the former Bethlehem Steel.

I played the Old Course, which will be the venue of the 2009 US Women's Open. The Old Course is the oldest and one of three courses along with the Grace Course and the Weyhill Course.

As you can see from the pictures, it's a traditional course, which I prefer. The fairways are pretty wide, but I suspect as the leaves grow in the fairways will appear narrower. The greens were pretty fast, even as they were recovering from being punched and sanded. I can only imagine the stimpmeter reading when the ladies take on the Old Course in the Open.

I saw some of the holes of the other two courses and can only imagine the difficulty of the Weyhill Course. Besides the difficult layout, it would be fun to play on a course originally built because Mr. Eugene Grace, the founder of Saucon Valley, forbade women from playing on it. Today women can play it if they're up for the challenge.

Saucon Valley even has its own guest house, The Weyhill Guest House, which is quaint and built in 1788.

I've been fortunate to have played SF Country Club, Medinah Country Club, and Pebble Beach thus far. I now add Saucon Valley and would be honored to play any and all again.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Are You in Control on the Course?

Did you see the tennis player who hit himself several times on the head with his racquet and caused his forehead to bleed? Or maybe you saw Woody Austin several years ago hit himself with his putter grip so many times that it caused the shaft to bend?

I can understand being competitive and wanting to do your best. But if a person loses so much control to cause himself or herself pain or an injury, then there is definitely an anger problem. I doubt if one can play better either with the resulting headache.

As amateurs and business golfers, we need to keep our composure on the course and never let our anger about our poor play be on display. Throwing a club or a stream of profanity is out of line, especially when playing with a client.

On a lighter note, The Masters, the first PGA major, starts this Thursday. It's my favorite tournament and even though I'll be in Bethlehem, PA, I'll make sure to watch most of it. Check out the t.v. and online schedules on Will Tiger win the first Major on the start of the Grand Slam, or will Phil pull it out off? Make sure to follow the action!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Michelle Wie In Contention After 1st Round

Michelle Wie is currently tied for ninth in the Fields Open after her first round. There are more ladies playing, but it's great to see a negative number by her name. For too long we've seen plus numbers by her name in the standings.

I've always been a fan of hers, but not of some of her decisions, such as playing in men's tournaments, withdrawing from Annika's tournament, and her lack of remorse when Annika thought she behaved ungratefully. I hope Leadbetter has got her (and her father?) on track so she'll be a winner on the LPGA soon.

As to the men, Tiger is on his way to the third round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship and will be playing Aaron Baddeley next. Phil got knocked out by Stuart Appleby, but Vijay is still in contention. Lots of great golf to be played and let's see if Tiger can win three in a row.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tiger Does It Again & Two-Putter Sergio

When I turned on the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, Tiger was two down with five or six holes to play. With the t.v. on mute and working on a new project, I saw he was three down with four or five to play, and thought the talk about winning every tournament he plays in this year is history. After working some more and looking up at the t.v., I saw he was tied at 16. Then, I had to go out, so I taped the rest of the match.

Anxious to watch the rest of the match, to my surprise (though I really shouldn't be by now), I see Tiger won 1 up. He can sink putts (of any distance) when he needs them better than any Tour player I've seen. His intimidation factor is also too much for most players, veterans and relative newbies, like J.B. Holmes, alike. I look forward to seeing if Tiger can make it three tournaments in a row. After his come back today, he looks unstoppable.

Everyone who follows golf knows Sergio struggles with his putting. Just like Phil put two drivers in his bag at the Masters, Sergio put two putters in his bag today--his belly putter and his short putter. It worked for him today as he goes onto his next match. Since putting is 50% or more of our score, why not?

What will we see next in golfers' bags? What will be the Tiger antidote? Whether two drivers or two putters, everyone on Tour is still searching.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Do You Hate Slow Play Too?

Slow play. Two dreaded words in the golf industry. For players, it ruins their tempo and timing. For golf courses, it hurts their bottom line.

Yesterday I waited between almost every shot. I watched the group in front and saw several reasons for slow play. First, one player would place his bag in front of the green rather than on the side of the green of the next tee. You should never need to walk (or drive a cart) backwards. It's really common sense and saves you a few steps if you're walking, but most importantly it speeds play.

The other reason for slow play is simply lack of consideration. If you know you're behind the group in front of you and see the foursome waiting behind you, it would be helpful to walk off the green a little quicker or walk at a slightly faster pace up the fairway.

Finally, one player wasn't too realistic about how far he could hit the ball. Some of us have visions of grandeur that we can hit a shot next to the pin with the longest club in our bag. But when you're consistently missing the shot left or right of the green and woefully short, then a reality check is needed. If it's safe to hit your shot, then do so, and prepare to yell "Fore!" if you did indeed hit the best shot of your life. To wait beyond what's realistic, however, just holds up the field.

Incorporate these few tips and help the pace of play problem on many golf courses. You'll likely play better and enjoy your round of golf more!

Friday, February 08, 2008

How Not to Use Business Golf

Did you watch the Dubai Desert Classic on Sunday where Tiger won his second tournament of this year? You might have seen one of the professionals, Henrik Stenson, hit his approach shot into the water. He then took his club and slammed it into his golf bag, hard enough to tip it over, except he caught it before it dropped to the ground.

I understand being competitive and wanting to do your best, especially for a professional where every lost shot is money and a possible drop in ranking as a professional. But, if you're playing business golf, you are presumably wanting to strengthen your relationship with your clients, prospects, and others. This means acting in a way that doesn't surprise or offend your playing partners. A business golf round is not the time to try to shoot your personal best round, so be careful in how you react to your missed shots. Throwing your clubs or hitting your bag with your club may turn your playing partners off and hurt your business relationships instead of improving them as you intended.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Tiger Having Fun

Check out this video of Tiger having fun with some folks. Would love to have him join me on the tee any day.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Happy 2008!

The New Year has started and the PGA has already played its first tournament. It was an exciting finish at the Mercedes-Benz Championship at beautiful Kapalua Resort in Maui. I hope yesterday's four-hole playoff between up and coming Daniel Chopra and veteran Steve Stricker is indicative of future exciting finishes in this year's PGA.

I had a great year of golf in 2007! Some highlights include playing Pebble Beach with Sally Dodge, LPGA Master of Pebble, playing with Jerome Bettis and Kordell Stewart in Atlanta, GA, and winning a four-ball tournament with my partner against women of all three golf associations in Northern California.

Thus far, I have started this year with a round of golf at Spanish Bay. I played with my Dad, my favorite niece, and my favorite nephew. Birdied two par-3s which was exciting, but made a mess of some other holes. It would help if pin placement info. was given to the players, but for some odd reason the folks at Spanish Bay don't give any. Perhaps, they want players to hire caddies, but to speed play, it would help.

My golf wishes for the year include playing more often with friendly folks at a better pace of play, avoiding people who ask me ridiculous requests, such as not driving my ball when a golfer is about to hit his second shot in the fairway because the sound of my driver disturbs him (yes, I really was asked this and no, I didn't hit anywhere near him), and, finally, to continue to share the virtues of playing golf at speaking events throughout the country.

Hope you will enjoy a great year of golf this year!