If, like me, you are one of the new breed of avid women golfers who have played for years you probably get a little tired of the patronizing behavior of some of the male golfers you meet on and off the course. Most of the men are courteous and helpful – but every now and then – there comes one whom you wish would fall in the drink!
As part of a couple who have both been passionate about the game for years, playing regularly both together and with friends, I feel fairly confident in my abilities now and can generally give men a run for their money.
Recently, the firm I work for has begun to look into options for this year’s corporate team building event. I organized the trip last year to a fantastic golf resort in our local area, and was really pleased by its success.
At the time there was a real mixture of men and women golfers in the office, and most of us had played at least a few games before so we were all relaxed enough about the event.
When it came to the day itself everyone really got dug in and enjoyed themselves, and whilst the women were a little inclined to nerves and embarrassment and the men were a little inclined to boisterous competitiveness, good fun was had by all.
Because we were evenly matched with a similar number of each sex we ended up playing in teams with boys against girls. There was all of the expected banter and mild flirting which happens when you have both genders playing together in a sporting occasion, but it all combined to make the day amusing, light-hearted and memorable.
By the end of our corporate golf day we had even landed a really important contract that had been hanging in the balance for a number of months, as we had bonded so well with the clients we brought with us. Now they are one of our company’s closest contacts, working with us exclusively, and we often meet up sociably for after-work drinks.
Due to the success of last year’s trip, my boss and I have been putting some thought into organizing something similar for staff and partners this year.
I know a great golf resort within driving distance which would be perfect for this type of business golf excursion, and have had a chat with their personnel about organizing a fun golfing tournament with clinics to hone our technique and prize-giving at the end of the day.
I really do think that golf is the perfect sport for these types of corporate events, getting everyone involved and breaking down inhibitions and barriers between men and women golfers through team-building and light hearted competition. It is also such fun to get outside into the fresh air and see your colleagues in a completely different light and a more motivating environment.
However, this year something is niggling in the back of my mind which I think may be due to the majority of our staff now being men, with only one or two women golfers left. There is one core group of young guys in particular who have recently joined the team, whose negative, sneering reaction to the idea has been very disappointing.
Their only contributions to discussions have been loutish wisecracks and ignorant remarks demeaning the women golfers in the team, and insinuating that it would be worth coming along if only to watch us struggling on the greens. Much amusement was had after a particularly obnoxious remark about ‘women golfers being as bad as women drivers’ due to our apparent biological lack of spatial awareness.
Whilst we females in the office have determined not to be offended and to take these remarks as silly banter, we are pretty proficient golfers and have decided to prove these male chauvinists wrong.
I’m investing in a few top-up lessons with my fantastic PGA coach over the next few weeks to polish my skills, and I intend to enjoy wiping the smirks off their faces, whilst making sure that our clients enjoy themselves as much as possible.
I was discussing the situation with one of the ladies from my regular women-only golfing group the other day during our after-game drinks. She is a business woman herself and she also participated in a corporate golf event just a few months ago.
We were having a good giggle as she had a very amusing anecdote about her supervisor, a particularly conservative gentleman with rather sexist views, who had been loudly informing the entire office of his amazing golfing prowess over the weeks prior to the event.
My friend is a very good golfer (by men or women-golfers’ standards) and regularly wins all of the ladies trophies in our local course tournaments, so when the day approached she took no time in beating him at every hole and ultimately winning the day. She did all of this with modesty and maturity, and then rather kindly congratulated the gentleman on a good game and offered to give him a few helpful tips to improve his technique.
Needless to say he was suitably chastened but not quite enough of a man to take her up on her offer. It is such a pity that this small minority of oafish men give the majority of male golfers, who are polite and encouraging, a bad name on these types of business golf days.
Luckily we women golfers are capable of remaining cool and calm under pressure, being used to juggling a demanding work life with home and leisure time. Those of us who are mothers are also well-practiced in dealing with toddler tantrums and teenage hysterics, so coping with a few over-zealous colleagues is like a walk in the park!
So ladies, if you are looking for a fresh new alternative to a business lunch and want to organize a corporate day out why not opt for a golf trip? It will give you the opportunity to work out those office politics in a sportsman-like environment, and will invigorate your work place with new vitality and closer relationships. Enjoy!