Golf and Business – Why Golfers Get Ahead

Every year, the Rutgers University Women’s Business Leadership Initiative (WBLI) hosts an end-of-the-year golf outing that takes place on Rutgers’s very own golf course. This year, I was able to attend this outing and get to hear the manager of the golf course, Jill Jerauld, speak.

Jill Jerauld is a golf professional and manager of the Rutgers University Golf Course. An interesting fact about Jill is that she is the only female Professional Golf Association (PGA) member and head golf professional in New Jersey. When asked why she embarked on a five-year process in pursuit of membership in the PGA instead of the Ladies Professional Golf Association, Jill stated that she felt it would increase job prospects. She also went on to talk about her experiences as a female leader in a male dominated industry, and stated that as a woman, she needed to work twice as hard as her male peers to get noticed and even harder to maintain respect and a level of authority. Jill did this with her unique style of leadership, inspiring others to feel and believe that they are an instrumental part in the successes of the team and have valuable contributions, no matter what role they play.

For me, it was very empowering to hear Jill speak about her experiences and what she was able to accomplish with passion and dedication. Jill Jerauld is a female leader running an entire golf course and facility, and for that, I have a lot of respect and admiration for Jill. Having never been on a golf course before or had first-hand experience with it, golf to me was just a leisurely sport or one that professionals like Tiger Woods played. After some de-mything from Jill, however, I learned this is quite far from the truth. Not only did her story inspire me to try a new and surprisingly stress relieving sport for the first time, but I got to take away a few tidbits of useful information about golf and how it affects business.

  1. 80% of business deals are made on the golf court.
  2. Golf is a life-time sport, meaning people of any age, young or old, can play.

After further research, I came across the article “Why Golfers Get Ahead” on The Economist which shares a few interesting concepts about golf and corroborates Jill’s information session on golf. Despite the humorous picture of “businesspeople who plot fraudulent deals between shots”, business and golf are completely different in actuality. Modern golf is a precision club and ball sport which, in 1457 in the first written record of golf, James II banned, declaring it as an unwelcomed distraction to learning archery. Today, modern golf is also a form of corporate entertainment with many useful perks to men and women in business. The article goes on to list why golfers in business get ahead, listing not giving the 65-year-old boss of the company you are trying to make a business deal with a heart attack and using golf as a test of character among the top reasons.

Golf is a useful skill and important networking tool to have in the business world – after all, you never know what doors it could open. In addition to its practicalities, golf is a great stress reliever. Unlike contact sports like football or games that require running like tennis, golf is more leisurely and relaxing. There is no huge expenditure of energy because golf is a precision sport, and watching that tiny white ball soar through the sky can be surprising satisfying. However, one of the downsides of playing golf seriously is that it can get a tad expensive, as it requires necessary golf equipment and suitable fashion. However, playing golf, like most things in life, should be looked at as an investment that hopefully supplies a large return. As sport and tool in business, golf is an investment that I highly recommend and believe that more women in the business world and in general should partake in.

Catherine He

Rutgers University – New Brunswick

Related Article: http://www.economist.com/blogs/gametheory/2011/11/golf-and-business

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