Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sportsmanship in a Positive Way

In an earlier post, I talked about sportsmanship in a negative way. Typical examples include strategically making a comment to get into your opponent's head or moving in the middle of her swing to distract her. Moves that won't make you new friends, and certainly damage a business relationship if intentionally done to a client or a prospect.

Today we learn a story about sportsmanship in the spirit of fair play. Shawn Crawford, a sprinter in the Olympics, received the silver medal in a race, even though he finished the race in fourth place. The second place runner was disqualified because he ran outside of his lane, as was the third place finisher. Crawford decided because the third-place runner was 10 meters (or nearly 11 yards) ahead of him that he deserved the medal. "He was going to beat me anyway. He didn't impede in anybody's race," explained Crawford.

Crawford received the silver medal during the ceremony. Without calling a press conference, he left the medal for the third-place runner at the runner's hotel. You can imagine his surprise.

An equivalent in golf of such sportsmanship would be to disqualify yourself because you violated a Rule of Golf. I still remember David Toms disqualifying himself from the 2005 British Open because he wasn't sure if he hit a moving ball when he tapped in his putt. Only he knew of the possible violation, yet he took himself out of the tournament.

These are favorable ways of being a competitor, and I wish more people were like that. Crawford and Toms are not playing to win at any cost, including their integrity and honor. They're competing in the game, while doing what's fair and right. I wish more competitors (also politicians and CEOs) would do the same.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Party is On!

Think golf is too quiet and polite? Then you'll want to watch the FBR Open starting today. This is the home of stadium seating surrounding the par-3 #16 hole--the only one of its kind on Tour. It has always been loud, especially when Tiger had a hole-in-one on this hole. But with the new seating, it's going to be thunderous!

We're still Tiger-less, but Phil Mickelson will make his 2009 debut. Here's the schedule so you can follow the action on Sirius or the Golf Channel.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Are your comments gamesmanship or compliments?

Gamesmanship between competitors can occur intentionally or innocently during a round of golf. Among friends, it may be part of the game. If you're playing in a business golf round, however, it could be the cause of some hard feelings, which you want to avoid.

The Wall Street Journal recently had an article entitled, "The Art of Gamesmanship." The writer talks about why golf is conducive to gamesmanship. First, the ball is not moving and is less violent physically. Thus, players are more vulnerable psychologically. Second, the players are in close contact with one another on tees and greens.

The article summarizes four categories of gamesmanship. First, a player gives unwanted tips on a player's swing or stroke. Second, a player deliberately becomes an irritant, such as by talking about controversial topics or by walking slowly when playing with a fast player. Next, the player becomes a physical distraction, such as by standing too close or jangling coins. Finally, a player knowingly gives false information about the course or states "Wow, I really hit that putt" even though the ball is short of the hole.

So be aware of how your comments may be construed as gamesmanship by your business golf playing partners. After you've determined how well someone plays, you can safely say, "Nice shot!" or "Great putt!"

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Pebble Beach is on Sale

I received an email about discounted rates at Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spanish Bay Links, and Spyglass Hill Golf Course. They're offering up to 54% discounts off of green fees and the promotion for Pebble expires on February 7, 2009.

If you live in the Bay Area or are visiting here soon, now is the time to take advantage of these low rates. The weather this week in the Bay Area has been spectacular...70 degrees in January?! While the rest of the country is experiencing global cooling, we've got incredible weather right now.

For more details, check out this PDF and play these famed courses at their lowest rates in a while. Make it a special bonus for a faithful client!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Wedding Bells on the LPGA Tour

The two top female golfers have had wedding announcements over the last few days.

First, four-weeks retired and former #1 LPGA golfer, Annika Sorenstam married Mike McGee over the weekend in Florida. She's mixing business and pleasure as McGee is the managing director for her business brand. He's also been around golf all of his life as his Dad is a former PGA Tour player. If you'd like to see a gallery of photos, visit Annika makes a beautiful bride.

Second, the current #1 LPGA golfer, Lorena Ochoa, announced her engagement to the CEO of AeroMexico. They plan to marry in December.

Congratulations to both!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

PGA Tour Has Started

Today is the second-day of the start of the 2009 season of the PGA Tour in beautiful Maui, Hawaii. At the Mercedes-Benz Championship, the 33 winners of tournaments last year will be playing, except, of course, Tiger. Unfortunately, he'll be out until February or March.

When I talk about using golf to build and strengthen business relationship, I don't just include playing with clients and colleagues, but also talking about what's going on with the PGA Tour. Golfers typically follow weekly tournaments, but especially the four Majors: The Masters, the U.S. Open, the (British) Open, and the PGA Championship. Here's a list of the PGA Tour tournaments for this year. Bookmark it, and include a bookmark for the PGA Tour's or the Golf Channel's Web site, so you can follow the Tour easily.

You'll definitely will want to watch the tournament when Tiger returns to playing. I'm sure everyone, including even his competitors, are excited to see how Tiger will do on his return. Will he be as good or even better? I can't wait to see!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Play Golf and Lose Your Hearing?

A British medical report suggests players who use the new generation of thin-faced titanium drivers are at a risk of losing their hearing. Apparently the loud cracking noise of the club hitting the ball may produce sufficient sound to induce temporary or even permanent cochlear damage in susceptible individuals.

The good news is this report is based on only one 55-year old golfer. They don't say how often he plays or what club he uses, but there is one equipment manufacturer whose driver does make a very loud, annoying tinny sound when striking the ball. I couldn't hit that club no matter how much more distance I'd get from using it. One of my equipment buying tips is if you don't like the sound that your club makes when you hit a good shot with it, then you should replace it. The game is hard enough without you not liking some aspect of your clubs and feeling good about them.

The report even suggests using ear plugs when playing golf, but I can't see anyone doing that. Besides looking a bit silly, I can't be bothered to take ear plugs in and out when trying to talk to other players in my group. And, I'd want to hear other players who might be screaming, "Fore!" if a ball is coming my way.

I say we put our hearing at risk, and play as much golf in 2009 as we possibly can! How about you? Have you planned and budgeted for how many business golf rounds you want to play this year? Put it in your calendar, and start collecting a list of potential golf partners--clients, prospects, and referral sources--for you in 2009.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Happy New Year!!

I hope you've had a great Holiday Season, and you're excited to start 2009. I certainly am as I've got a fun, high-end event and other product launches planned for my business this year.

I know the people in the supposed know say the economy will be bleak, etc. But I'm not buying into their negative outlook. In fact, I think playing business golf will become even more important. When the economy is tumultuous, a successful business person has to be out there building, maintaining, and strengthening their business relationships. Playing a round of golf, or even just a session at the driving range, can help do that.

On New Year's Day, I played my first round of business golf this year with my publicist. We played at a course that I've played several times, and this was my first time since it was "re-designed." It was such a disappointment and I've never seen a renovation ruin a course like I have with this course.

The "new and improved" greens reminded me of holes you'd find at a miniature golf course. The horizontal line on this green is a four foot high trough. Since it was a blind shot to the green, you'd think it was the safest to aim for the middle of the green, but it would have put you in the trough.

The ball in this picture is in a depression on the green that was about five feet wide and two feet deep. My publicist said it used to have "chocolate drops" in it, which he describes as deep, thick rough where you couldn't find your ball if it was in it. I've never seen a depression like this on a golf hole.

Several holes were re-routed and the course designer took interesting and challenging holes and made them into boring Vanilla holes. I can't imagine having this designer touch another course after what he displayed. Worst news is my Club has already paid him $60-70K to design a Master Plan for my course. Needless to say, I'm not pleased.

If weather permits, get out there and play, or at least hit balls at an indoor or heated driving range!