Golf is for Everyone--Even People who Don't Play
By Robert Carey
As golf is one of my favorite pastimes, it is easy for me to get jazzed about showing meeting planners how it can be used at corporate and association meetings for purposes of teambuilding or simply relaxation.
But I can hear some planners now, saying: "Look, golf is a sport that is time-consuming, labor intensive (you have to practice A LOT to get good), expensive, and basically a 'good ol' boys' sport where women are not made to feel comfortable.
Well, some of those sentiments were never true, and some of them used to be true. But if you still think that way about golf, then you're looking at it far too narrowly. In short: Outside of organized, high-level competition, golf is a game rather than a sport. This is evidenced by the fact that so many resorts emphasize golf as an activity for everyone, and have devised more than a few ways to incorporate golf into meetings such that guests who have never before picked up a golf club can enjoy it.
For instance, who can't play miniature (or "putt-putt") golf? Nobody. So why not use it as the central activity around which a meeting's evening reception takes place? Almost every resort has a practice putting green, and most of them are located within steps of the guest rooms and meeting space at the resort. As a result, the resort's golf shop can easily set up the practice green for a simple and fun group event.
Here's how: Staffers can place obstacles on the practice green to frame paths that players must navigate to get to each hole--an instant miniature golf course. And this game is so low-impact that players can have a drink or an appetizer in their hand as they are playing. And for the hard-core golfers in your crowd, the ability to compete with one another for a few bucks in a side bet makes the event that much more enjoyable. Either way, your entire group is doing something that's pressure-free, and probably laughing their way around the circuit of holes, and doing exactly what you intended--bonding through a common experience that does not feel like work.
Tomorrow, I'll give another example of how to use golf at meetings--and this one involves actually swinging a real club instead of just pushing the ball with a putter. But it, too, can involve every meeting attendee--even those who have never played before.