a "how-not-to" guide for your next business round
GEORGE FULLER By
If possible, never beat your client.
The caveat here is that if your client is
a particularly miserable golfer, actually
losing to them might be bad business,
too. In this circumstance, go ahead and
beat them, but not too badly.
5) Congratulate and applaud your client’s good shots, but don’t look like
6) Win a hole or two so it doesn’t look
like you’re purposely tanking the
2) Never take money from your client
on the golf course, even if you’ve
made the mistake of winning. Pay
for drinks and lunch. And if you are
fortunate enough to have lost all the
bets, pay quickly. Remember: Fast
pay makes fast friends.
7) Don’t drink too much and start flirting with the cart girl...or boy.
8) If you’re keeping the score, when asking what your client shot, always suggest par: “Three wasn’t it, Bobby?”
“someone must say
the word ‘business’
at least once
during the round,
just to satisfy irs
trying to deduct
the day as a
1) Ioften hear people say, “I’m going to take up golf—there’s so much business done on
the golf course.”
I hate to be the one to break it to them,
but business is rarely done on a golf course.
Funny business, maybe. Serious discus-
sions about widget orders or leveraged
buyouts, no. It’s against the rules. Not the
Rules of Golf, as published by the united
States Golf Association or the Royal and
Ancient of St. Andrews, but…you know…the
There’s a lot of “client golf” played, to be
sure. That’s a game in which you lose $20 or
$30 to your client, buy him or her a couple
beers over lunch and hope that the bonding
experience you just shared translates into new
or continuing business.
Someone must say the word “business” at
least once during the round, just to satisfy
IRS regulations when trying to deduct the
day as a business expense, but that’s as far as
it should go. Never, whatever you do, say, “So
Bobby, what can I do to get that widget order
this year?” particularly when Bobby is lining
up his fourth putt for triple-bogey.
Aside from that one cardinal rule—Never
Discuss Business on a Golf Course—there
are a few other rules that need to be followed
when playing client golf:
3) Take them to play someplace nice,
but not too nice. You don’t want
them to think you’re wasting money.
After all, it’s THeIR money. (And if
you’re the one driving to the course,
don’t pick them up in a nicer car
than the one they own.)
9) If you catch your client in a lie—
“Yep, a three Bill.”—watch your back
in business dealings. (See #4 above.)
4) Keep your demeanor civilized. Don’t
swear, throw clubs or complain about
drives 240 yards down the middle. Remember that saying, “eighteen holes
of match or medal play will teach you
more about your foe than will 18 years
of dealing with him across a desk.”
10) On the 18th green, always shake
hands and say, “Great match. I look
forward to playing again sometime,”
even if you have no intention of ever
doing it again sometime, and the only
reason you did in the first place was to
curry favor and get that widget order.
The only business I ever do on a golf
course is monkey business. I highly
recommend it for all.