Global Edition

Understanding The Business Of Golf

12.24am 16th January 2012 - Management Topics

New research from Genworth Financial, Official Statistics Partner of The European Tour, has revealed that the traditional cliché of business deals being signed and sealed on the golf course does not paint an entirely accurate picture, as the parallel worlds of business and golf have far more in common than one might expect.

Genworth conducted research with businessmen participating at five Pro-Am tournaments across Europe, which showed that after helping build relationships (68%) and facilitating business conversations (37%), the key benefits highlighted were assisting self-coaching and improvement, teaching patience, relieving stress and providing another challenge away from the office.

Key findings included:

Bob Brannock, CEO and President, Lifestyle Protection at Genworth commented, “In business we often look to sport as a means of giving us a perspective into how high performance can be achieved and sustained. Unlike many sports, elite golfers have to adapt their game to changing courses, conditions and competition which is pretty similar to today’s ever changing business environment. It is also one of the few sports where the coach is not able to provide any feedback during play putting the emphasis back on the player to have the mental strength and self-awareness to make the necessary corrections.”

Genworth also commissioned research into the psychological side of professional European golf, which highlighted the parallels between professional golf and the business world. The Genworth Pro Caddy Report identified several common characteristics such as changing conditions, the role played by opponents, the importance of self-belief and the setting of goals, as well as the need to deal with day experiences or performances swiftly in order to move forward.

The report revealed that despite playing at the highest level, over half (51%) of European Tour professionals felt that their performance was below plan. In addition, 48% of players who believed they were performing poorly were predominantly focusing on past performances and contaminating their mental state for the next tournament.

Dr Karl Morris, Sports Psychologist and Mind Coach to recent major winners Darren Clarke, Graeme McDowell, Louis Oosthuizen and Char Schwartzel, said of the findings: “Both professional golfers and business executives often fall into the same traps. When setting goals for the year we tend to focus on the end outcome goal, whether that is tournaments won or a sales target. If you measure success purely on the outcome you may end up being disappointed even though you might have performed well. More emphasis should be given to ensuring the correct processes are in place.

“When dealing with poor performances, many professional golfers fail to address their feelings of disappointment and hence allow these feelings to impact their future performance. Similarly in the business world, taking disappointment home with you affects family and social life, which starts a vicious circle and affects your work life in turn. Writing down your thoughts is a much better idea than dwelling on them – analyse what was good, what was not and how you can improve.”

Genworth Financial

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