By Dr. Patrick J. Montana
USGTF Level IV Member and National Course Director
U.S. Golf Managers Association
Golf is a powerful business and social tool.
The interest in integrating one’s golf skills in business and one’s business skills in golf has grown significantly in recent years. There is a reciprocal relationship.
If you can improve your productivity on the golf course, it’s going to help your business and, likewise, if you can improve your productivity in business, it’s going to help your golf game. Any careerminded individual who has taken advantage of the game’s business benefits can easily explain why.
One of my former students who is CEO of his own Manhattan-based law firm commented, “I think the thing about golf is that you have a captive audience for four hours. It’s networking. People are more likely to give you business if they know you.”
Another student said, “It’s definitely helped with my management skills and strategic thinking. After each shot you take, you have to prepare for the next one.”
This year I developed and implemented a three credit elective course requested by the students enrolled in the Executive MBA program at Fordham University. The major objective of the course was to provide them with an understanding of golf as a business tool as well as to teach them how to play golf or improve their golf game.
During the course, I taught them how to develop and apply a results-oriented management system to their business and golf game.
In a recent Wall Street Journal cover story, reporter/golf columnist John Paul Newport wrote, “Golf and business are similar in a lot of ways, according to both business people and professional players. Both, for example, require a lot of discipline, they say.” He quotes Tiger Woods as saying, “Strategy and patience, they go hand and hand in both cases,” when asked about connections between the two. “It’s a question of when to be aggressive and when not to be aggressive, when to be conservative, and that’s done through experience.”
There are many similarities in management and golf as well as in teaching management and golf. Both require strategic thinking, planning, execution, control, evaluation and feedback.
Let me begin by stating that at the heart of a system of managing for results is managing expectations. More often than not, managing expectations seems to be the missing link in business practice. However, it occurs seldomly in golf because everyone knows what is expected. There is an agreed upon standard of performance – namely, par.
Standards of performance in management have one major purpose and that is to develop your people. You may use them for merit, promotion, transfer and compensation purposes, but primarily as a manager you want to develop your staff to meet expectations. I might illustrate this point by the game of golf.
Par on the golf course is the standard of performance for a professional golfer. Now you can go out all by yourself in the morning, or join three other people in a happy foursome, and when you come in from #18, you know – no matter what the comments are – you know immediately whether you are a good golfer or whether you need development. As golf teaching professionals, we know what our students need to develop to become better golfers.
The standard of performance for a job should be as clear as par on a golf course, at least to the extent language will allow.
In order to develop a system of managing for results which negotiates performance contracts through managing expectations, it is important to step back and review or learn the purpose of management and the management process and to break down the process to see how a results-oriented management system fits into the process.
In addition to learning this system of managing for results, during the golf club management certification course students hear from practicing golf club managers and professionals about customer relations and customer service, golf facility operations, merchandising operations, food and beverage, tournament management, golf club financial management, ownership management, turf management operations, golf instructional operations, and even learn about today’s modern golf equipment.
If you’re thinking about a career in golf club or golf resort management, you may want to consider enrolling in a United States Golf Managers Association certification course and increase your employment opportunities in this growing global field.
For further information, please check out our website at www.USGolfManagersAssociation.com.