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.