February 8th,2014

New season 2014, and “Let the show begin”

~~I will be at Lighthouse Golf Course on the 1st of March to open the golf course for our members and as the temperatures predicted for March will be 4C to 5C degrees warmer than normal in the south- east region, golf is once again on our minds. As the Master’s at Augusta—perhaps the premiere golf tournament in 2014—starts in April and hopefully an Australian will win it again. I feel that 2014 will be again a very busy year at our golf club. The other day, in an interview with a national newspaper, 2011 US Open champion Rory McIllroy was briefly embarrassed when his phone rang, an awkward moment on a course where handheld devices are strictly forbidden. However, it’s a good reminder, for all of us. Dear members please keep phones on silence when playing golf tournaments in 2014.Many of our members who are taking the golf clubs out of the closet for the first time this year,please realize how important etiquette and good manners are to the game.
The story is that more deals are struck on the golf course than in any other venue. But if you want to be a walking cliché, I humbly offer a few pieces of advice for 2014.
1. Take Lessons
Face it: You have issues with your golf swing. Luckily, it’s not necessarily a life sentence. Living in the Balkans, where golf is a seasonal pursuit, you need all the help you can get when the snow melts. Starting the season by hitting two thousand balls on the range will not improve a flawed swing. So take a couple of lessons from Demis Papillon Golf Academy, but avoid the Golf Instructor who gives you 30 things to remember on your backswing. Don’t combine golf and business until you’re playing competently. Otherwise, your clients will rightly assume you’re a foolish person.
2. Follow the Rules
A couple of years ago, I read about professional golfer Camilio Villegas being accessed a penalty for removing some debris from around his ball before taking his shot. He seemed genuinely surprised at having broken the rules. What’s shocking is that he didn’t know the rules. You don’t have to be the rule-book Nazi (I can give a few names from our golf club in this department) , however take some time to read it before the season starts. You’ll be amazed at what you’ve forgotten—or never knew.
3. Observe Dress Codes
One of the best things about business golf is to invite  client’s or colleague’s to play at your golf club for the first time.Please tell them Not to show up in cargo shorts and  vintage Beck tee shirt.Tell them to call the pro shop and ask about the dress code.We do have Pga Tour players like Dustin Johnson or Bubba Watson who are good golf fashion icons: conservative but with a little individual flair. Forget the lime green or cranberry red ensembles. It works for Rickie Fowler. It doesn’t work for you.
4. Play Fair
I am trying to tell my members for years, “golf is self-policing”; “There are no referees, umpires, or line judges”. Just you and your conscience. If your client sees you kicking your ball out of the rough for a better lie, do you think he’ll consider you a go-getter who doesn’t let anything stand in his way—or a lying, self-deceiving sleaze? Mmm. I was playing once a Pro-Am in California and my partner was  the Deacon from University of Notre Dame.I remember him saying, “It’s too bad Demi that the ethics of golf don’t apply to business”.
5. Observe the Etiquette of the Game
Golf etiquette requires a couple of volumes to detail, from determining driving order to conceding a putt. It boils down to erring on the side of good manners. You don’t throw your briefcase across the boardroom when a deal goes sour (if you still have a briefcase), so throwing your clubs and cursing when you overshoot the green is going to tell your business golf partner that you’re a bad-tempered, tantrum-throwing moron—just the kind of business connection to avoid. Accept failures with grace and victories with HUMILITY.
6. Don’t Bet on It
My Teacher imparted two pearls of wisdom when he introduced me to the golf game. Firstly he said; “never play against anyone, just yourself”. Secondly, “if you get frustrated, just enjoy the view”. Tournaments are one thing, but putting too competitive an edge on a business golf game can get ugly. You really want to have to watch someone you’re hoping to do business with resentfully write out a check to you in the clubhouse? Conversely, are you willing to trash all sense of honor by five-putting the last hole so your client can walk away with 100 Lei richer? If your answers are yes, I suggest you take up trout fishing with dynamite.
7. Know When to Talk Business
One of the oldest maxims of the game is to never talk business the first time you play with a new colleague or client. Pushing your business agenda when you’re supposed to be enjoying leisure time is unseemly. When business does enter into things, observe these four points I give you: First, never discuss business before the third hole; second, never after the 15th hole; third, never when someone is preparing to shoot; and fourth, never on the green. Personally, I advise my members to walk the golf course—not just for the exercise, but for the stroll between shots that actually gives them and their partner time for a leisurely chat.
8. Play Golf Club Tournaments
Yes,play the golf club tournaments or the local tournaments for charity,they are possibly the best venue for networking ever devised. If run well, they’re also usually a hell of a lot of fun. Also, at the end of the weekend, you’ve helped raise money to help someone’s life other than your own.See you around Lighthouse Golf Course and Good Luck in our golf club tournaments in 2014.
Golf is a passion, an obsession, a romance, a nice acquaintanceship with trees, sand, and water.