Golf Good for Business

June 26, 2002 ( - Being handy with a golf club is as important a tool for corporate success as an MBA, a new survey found.

The Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide survey, “From the Boardroom to the Back Nine”, also found that how someone behaves on the links says much about their boardroom activities.

Commenting on golf’s importance:

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  • 97% of executives surveyed said that golf with a business associates is a good way to establish a relationship,
  • 92% said golfing is a good way to meet new business contacts,
  • 40% said some of their biggest deals were done on the links

However, fair play on the fairway is questionable. One in five executives said they would take a dive in the name of getting a business deal, a whopping 82% of respondents said they’ve cheated on the links and 10% of executives have called in sick to play golf.

If golf courses have become new deal havens, where on the course do you raise the issue?

  • more than half say strike the deal on the nineteenth hole,
  • while one in five say the back nine is the best place to negotiate

The survey revealed that if a deal starts on the course, it wraps up a few days after the duffers leave the links.

Golf is pretty darned important – at least for the 11% who ranked it higher than sex. Older executives and those with highest incomes were most likely to choose golf over a rumble in the sheets.

The survey included 401 interviews with respondents who were at the vice president or higher level in their organization or had household income over $100,000 annually in senior sales, supervisory, or managerial position.