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Mixing business with leisure

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Local business leaders use golf to get work done and relax from daily pressures

Joshua Specht
jspecht@bossierpress.com

Golf isn’t merely a leisure sport, it can be the deal maker of the modern business — the spot where deals get done.

A multiple hour-long sales call, a round of golf with a business associate is a good business tool because you spend most of your golf game talking, giving an opportunity to be more personal than sitting in a conference room.

With fresh air to breathe, some exercise involved, some time spent in nature, and even some meditation if you count focussing attention on a little white ball as a meditation technique, it’s a natural stress reliever.

And moreover, the gamesmanship appeals to the decision makers.

“I play golf to be competitive,” said Justin Davis, a local firefighter.

Relationships develop and bonds are made. You want to play with decision-makers, not the golfers who can shoot the lowest scores. A major tip is to gauge the personality of your partner and determine how intense he or she is about the game.

If you decide to play a match, use the handicap system to establish even ground. Or play a scramble so you can help each other out.

“I like playing scramble because I suck,”said Paul Johnson, Hertz parking and braking servicer.

Advice to consider: don’t discuss business before the 5th hole or after the 15th hole.

Like golf itself, you’re in this for the long haul. Look for a good result, not meaning score. Before the round, think about what you hope to get out of the day, outlining your goals and how you plan to meet them.

It’s a vital component to business golf, as key to good performance as a pre-shot routine. Don’t feel like you have to have everything wrapped up by the end of the round.

Your first priority is making sure your playing partner has fun. Spare the formalities, unless they’re called for. Finally, make sure that you invite the client back to play another round. This will make you seem like a bond was made.

Beyond getting deals done, golf has an opposite side to it — relief from the working world.

A participant warms up with practice drives before  the Bossier Chamber Annual Golf Classic “Around the World in 18 Holes” held at Stonebridge Golf Club in Bossier City Thursday.
A participant warms up with practice drives before the Bossier Chamber Annual Golf Classic “Around the World in 18 Holes” held at Stonebridge Golf Club in Bossier City Thursday.

May business people who use it as a tool, as other members of the working world, use the sport as a good stress reliever.

“ I play golf to relieve stress and just get away and have a good time,” said Johnson.

Johnson, who has been playing golf since he was 10-years-old, said the sport give him a respite.

“It relaxes me and takes a lot off of my mind. Golf is a good deal maker and stress breaker,” he said.