Golf: Does it Benefit Women in Business Like it Does for Men?
Shortly after I graduated from college, my father told me that I should start playing golf because the most powerful deals are made on the golf course.
While my father had a set of used, dusty golf clubs in the garage for years, I had never known him to play — but he was right. I just couldn’t process that at the moment.
A Forbes article published a few years back found that 90% of all CEOs play golf and those. CEOs who did play golf earned 17% more money than those who didn’t.
As it relates to men, those numbers aren’t surprising to me, but as a woman it makes you think. Never having seen women, especially black women play golf, I was subconsciously conditioned into believing that women didn’t play golf. Almost as if we weren’t allowed to do so. I accepted the fact that this was just another private group that I wasn’t welcome to join, regardless of my ability to play.
In elementary school I was literally the only black student. I was the only black girl on my softball teams in middle and high school. There were a handful of black students in our high school. I’m among the minority of attorneys in the legal profession as only 5% of lawyers are black.
I’ve been a minority, often times a double minority, my entire life in many circumstances. At the same time, I’m very appreciative of my upbringing and experiences which has undoubtedly positively influenced my life’s trajectory.
Nevertheless, golf was never a consideration for me as a hobby because I had no desire to be the only woman or black person in a group when I was off the clock. I didn’t want to have to constantly prove my mere existence or fight for yet another seat at someone else’s table.
At the same time though, that was the purpose, right? Keep women off the golf course if we weren’t in a subservient role.
Many women aren’t having that anymore though. According to the aforementioned Forbes article, 20% of golfers are female. That still makes golf a male-dominated sport, but it’s changing.
There are an increasing number of organizations that support and teach girls and women how to play golf.
I recently took my first introduction group lesson and step onto a golf course through and event hosted by the Women’s League of the Atlanta Black Chambers. The number of black women who endeavored to learn golf for the first time as adults warmed my heart.
Moreover, the event speaker, Oneda Castillo, a black woman who experienced a tremendous amount of success in the world of golf and the LPGA, was nothing less than awesome and inspiring.
So, the question is, should more women engage in golf for more professional opportunities?
Well, there’s a good argument that we should, including data suggesting that 50% of female executives say “being able to talk about golf allows them to be more successful.”
But why is that?
Because when you play golf with someone or a group of players, you have the opportunity to engage with them on a more intimate level. That’s part of networking which is vital for career success and to thrive as an entrepreneur.
Ultimately, if you are a woman who wants to be a part of those exclusive conversations at the country club, then it may be time to invest in some lessons, a set of clubs, and comfortable golf attire.
If you’re looking for a new hobby, then this is the perfect sport as it can be part of your “work-life balance” personally & professionally. Additionally, golf and the walking involved is light to moderate exercise, you get some good natural vitamin D, you’re exposed to a world of potential business, personal relationships are built, and it helps expand your professional network.
It’s time for women to up our miniature golf skills and master the golf course where those million dollar deals are being made.
Question: If you are a woman who has never played golf, are you willing to learn?
ABOUT Tamika Michelle Johnson
Tamika Michelle Johnson is an Attorney, Magazine Publisher, Entrepreneur, Host, Wife, Mother, Daughter, and more, and like so many other high-achieving professionals, she juggles a lot.
As a Work-Life Balance Strategist, Tamika shares techniques to achieve a healthy professional and personal work-life balance in business, work, self-care, health, and relationships, which allows you to continue to perform at an optimal level in all areas of your life.
To explore more, visit: www.TamikaMichelleJohnson.com for additional information
- “Golfers Make Better Business Executives,” Forbes Magazine (https://www.forbes.com/sites/kristidosh/2016/05/16/golfers-make-better-business-executives/amp/)
- “ABA Profile of the Legal Profession: Diversity and Well-Being,” 2Civility (https://www.2civility.org/aba-profile-of-the-legal-profession-diversity-and-well-being/)
Brenda Lai and Anna Breaux