Admit it: golf is an acquired taste, and it’s easy to feel out of your comfort zone at a golf club when you’re not used to it.
It may seem old fashioned, but it’s still a go-to activity for some businesspeople. You can’t avoid it forever, so here are some tips to get the best experience possible out of your day on the green.
Do your homework.
This does not mean become an expert golfer overnight. That just isn’t realistic. But you should look up some tutorials so you don’t look ridiculous when you swing the club. Learn some basic terms, too, so you know what it means when there’s a dogleg left/right, the difference between tee, fairway, green and rough, and some basic etiquette.
If you’re short on time, focus your practice on putting. It’s the hardest part.
Eat first and wear sunscreen.
Golf is a long game and can take several hours if you’re playing all 18 holes. You can bring a drink on the course, but there probably won’t be substantial food until you reach the “19th hole”. Having to go golfing is challenging enough without also dealing with a growling stomach.
You’ll be in the sun for a long time, so wear a hat and sunscreen up so you don’t roast.
Dress the part.
Be yourself, but respect the host and the club by wearing golf attire. Yes, there are special shoes. Do yourself a favor and invest in a few golf shirts with your company logo on them. Look up the club’s dress code in advance so you don’t get caught in an uncomfortable situation.
Befriend the caddy.
If you have a minute to talk to the caddy unheard before you start, let them know you have no idea what you’re doing and let them know that advice is appreciated. Tip in advance. They know which club you should use when, how hard you should swing, and where you should aim. If your caddy is on your side, he or she can take a lot of the guesswork out of the day.
Don’t try to be Tiger Woods.
If you’re not good at golf, don’t try to pretend you are, and don’t be too self-deprecating. Your style on the course reflects your professionalism off the course. You showed up, and you respected the game and the host. You were prepared and composed and represented yourself well.
What matters most isn’t a great golf score, but a confident and resilient outlook. Tell them you don’t have much experience with golf in the beginning, then don’t mention it again and just do your best.