The other day I had the opportunity to go out to lunch with a very prominent, hard-hitting attorney. While I was nervous about having to sit across from him and think of intellectual and witty things to say for an hour, I was excited about the insight he could give me into the legal profession. While we talked about a wide variety of different things, one thing really stood out to me. He was telling me about the process of closing a deal and how exhausted you and the client can be after the long hours you put in. He then told me that the best thing an attorney can do with their client after closing a deal is to take the client to the golf course for some beers. At first I thought nothing of this, but when I sat down at my desk after lunch it hit me. I don’t know how to play golf! This made me wonder if I needed to know how to play golf to succeed in my career and whether learning to play golf was in essence giving in to the so-called stereotype that we have to act like men to succeed.
When I think of golfing I think of Tiger Woods, men in Polo shirts and khaki pants, The Masters, Tiger Woods, EXTREME boredom, and oh, did I mention Tiger Woods? If that doesn’t show you how ignorant I am about golf then I don’t know what will. Basically golf has never been a part of my life and it has never been something that I thought about taking up in my spare time. Now I am second guessing my decision to stay away from the golf course. I can see how being able to take a client out to golf could better serve your relationship than simply taking the client to dinner or lunch. On the golf course there is more free-flowing conversation and there is some ease and relaxation in the environment. I can only imagine how much you can learn about your client in the four hours it takes to golf as compared to the one hour you spend at dinner. So I do see the benefits of knowing how to golf in the professional sense. I don’t, as some women do, think that learning how to play golf is the same as selling out. Sure, golf is manly and is not something that most business women usually do, but I do think that some manly, non-traditional things can be good for a business woman. Why not learn how to golf?
The question I really have is whether or not men like to golf with business women. Would my male client really enjoy spending an entire Saturday afternoon with me on the golf course, or would he prefer that he spend that time with a male? While I would like to think that a man would have just as much fun golfing with a woman, I tend to think that they wouldn’t. I cannot imagine my husband golfing with a female all Saturday afternoon. I know that would not be something he would look forward to, and it is understandable. Would I have more fun shopping with a male or female? Easy – a female (as long as she likes to shop). So if the men don’t like spending time with women on the golf course, is it even worth learning?
It seems to me that learning to golf could never hurt. I do know a few women that golf in their spare time and actually enjoy it. Do you know how to golf and have you found that knowing how to golf helps you in your career? Do you think a woman who learns how to golf is selling out?