Hello SOTGC Community,
Golf is known as the sport where business deals get done and the art of closing a deal on the golf course is a talent. We could use golf references to inspire you such as “Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get bad breaks from good shots; you get good breaks from bad shots – but you have to play the ball where it lies.”- Bobby Jones. While you might shake your head in agreement with Mr. Jones, but what can we really learn from golf, more specifically the Ryder Cup, that can help us in the office?
The Ryder Cup is a biennial golf competition between 12-man teams from the U.S. and Europe. There are many similarities between the upcoming Ryder Cup and your office. Here’s how you can tee up the conversation in your office.
- It starts at the top. Ryder Cup teams are comprised of a captain (comes up with the strategy), vice captains (helps coach others on the strategy) and players (executes the strategy). The players are chosen by a points system based off of the previous PGA (Professional Golfers’ Association) season. The captains do not play in the competition but act as coaches. In addition to points, the U.S. captain chooses four additional players. The European captain chooses three players. The course is no different than any office where leadership is very important. The team emulates the captain’s attitude, dedication and camaraderie with the crowd. All of these qualities are as important as the skill each player brings.
- Choose your team carefully. Building a project team is very similar to determining the Ryder Cup team. The team is limited by the strength of their weakest member. Captains are able to use their picks to even out the team’s overall skill set and team chemistry. Unlike a typical PGA golf tournament, each player’s score counts toward the team total. While each round is played by an individual, it’s the overall team score that matters.
- Home-field advantage. The location rotates every competition between a European and American golf course of the home team’s choice. Home-field advantage is well just that, an advantage. Similar to when you’re on the road for a big presentation, you’re in unfamiliar territory. It’s no different in the Ryder Cup. The way the two teams pick their locations couldn’t be more different. Team Europe picks theirs based on courses their players are familiar with; courses that are frequently played on the European Tour. The U.S. picks their home course by whether or not it’s a designated Major Championship course. (The Championship happens once a year and a multitude of courses qualify to be a host).
- Shared goal. The Ryder Cup is no different than the Olympics in that as an individual athlete you are representing something bigger than you. The golfers are not paid to play, nor is there a bonus for winning, so there is no financial incentive for participating. Winning, the pride of representing your country and supporting your teammates is the shared goal all Ryder Cup teams have.
- Watch out for the women. In history, golf has very much been a man’s game but that is changing with the continue rise in popularity of the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) and stellar women golfers such as Lydia Ko and Anna Nordqvist. The women have a similarly formatted competition called the Solheim Cup, which takes place in the odd number years or the off years of the Ryder Cup. To date, there has not been a woman golfer in the Ryder Cup but don’t be surprised if someone comes crashing through that glass ceiling soon.
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