is learning golf important?

I can take golf classes at my college as part of my curriculum, but honestly, golf looks pretty damn boring. How important is it to learn golf for business? And considering I wouldn't really have access to golf courses at home to practice, do you guys think it's worth just learning the basics of the game at college? The class is going to class about two months, three times a week, so I'm obviously not gonna come out as a pro, but hopefully I will know how to play at least a bit.

Comments (17)

Jul 12, 2015

No.

Jul 12, 2015

Really? Because even in my internship, there have been some times when it would have been useful.

At what point in your career does it become consistently important?

Jul 12, 2015

Will it potentially be beneficial to know the game at some point in a 30+ year finance career? Yes. Will it help for a year or two in IB? Doubtful (and that impact will be almost nonexistent, if any at all).
One big caveat is that it also depends on ability. If you're trying to use golf to network, build relationships and "do deals on the golf course", then get good at the sport. Anyone who is going to want to meet you to talk business on the course is likely going to enjoy playing and at least be semi-decent (maybe 10-17 handicap). If you're a 20+, then its not a very enjoyable experience for anyone in the group.
That said, a 2 month golf class in college will not help you play a full round. I would hold off and get into the sport if you develop a genuine interest or have time and access to facilities to improve your game (later in life). Otherwise you run the risk of telling people you play golf (after a 2 month class in college), they invite you to play a round and you hack your way through the course - that will likely leave a bad impression on whoever invited you

Jul 13, 2015
SomeKindOfAbstraction:

Will it potentially be beneficial to know the game at some point in a 30+ year finance career? Yes. Will it help for a year or two in IB? Doubtful (and that impact will be almost nonexistent, if any at all).
One big caveat is that it also depends on ability. If you're trying to use golf to network, build relationships and "do deals on the golf course", then get good at the sport. Anyone who is going to want to meet you to talk business on the course is likely going to enjoy playing and at least be semi-decent (maybe 10-17 handicap). If you're a 20+, then its not a very enjoyable experience for anyone in the group.
That said, a 2 month golf class in college will not help you play a full round. I would hold off and get into the sport if you develop a genuine interest or have time and access to facilities to improve your game (later in life). Otherwise you run the risk of telling people you play golf (after a 2 month class in college), they invite you to play a round and you hack your way through the course - that will likely leave a bad impression on whoever invited you

This.

Golf can come in useful but it's not something you should play simply because it can be helpful in business. It takes a long time and lots of hours to get good then it takes consistent practice and play to stay good so if you don't actually like it you'd be spending a lot of time (and money) for years doing something you don't like. And like abstractions saying above, it's probably worse to suck and go out golfing with guys who are good than it is just to not go.

I would say go and do the college course though. It'll give you a taste of golf and it'll be free (as free as free phys ed courses can be when you pay $60k/yr for college). You can see if you like it and continue playing (there's nearly always a way to hit some balls no matter where you are) or figure out you don't like it and don't play again.

Jul 13, 2015

I'm two weeks into my full time IB gig and I'm playing with my coworkers this weekend. While not everyone is a great golfer, being able to make some good shots and look like you enjoy something that takes patience, skill, and hard work will build you some valuable rapport.

Jul 13, 2015

this forum never disappoints

Jul 17, 2015

Thanks everyone.

Best Response
Jul 17, 2015

Actually I think you'd be shocked how little talking goes on during a round of golf, esp if you are walking. Even in a cart, you might have a half hour total of conversation. But beyond that you are waiting for people to hit, or hitting, and you better not be talking/yelling across the course during that time.

Playing is for building rapport and having fun, not for 'doing deals' in my opinion. The driving range is actually much better because it's OK to talk during a swing and more casual. Lots of guys play squash which you can talk a bit more during because it's fucking loud as all hell in there.

if you like it then you shoulda put a banana on it

    • 2
Jul 17, 2015

I guess the bottom line is that yes, it always helps and if you're a serious golfer you have instant rapport with many people - it's helped me a ton in that regard.

If you work in business, you should be able to handle a round of golf - noone expects you to be great, just play fast (see my post for beginners).

I think more of the business talk would happen at the bar/dinner after the round. But during the round, it's hard enough to focus on the game - getting substantial work done on a banking deal or negotiations I think would be really tough. Golf for us was the escape from all of that, we wouldn't talk much shop on the course, just little status updates more or less.

At the more senior levels, the point is to entertain potential clients, so again you talk little shop and just BS and have fun, that's the most important thing. But I don't think much actually gets locked up on the course in banking, maybe in sales it's different.

if you like it then you shoulda put a banana on it

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Jul 17, 2015

If you're in New York and you're in the finance industry in a non-relationship building job (aka not sales, PWM maybe, etc) then golfing is really really not a big deal. I tried to take up golf for business purposes but realized like 2 weeks into trying to golf regularly that not only did I not like it, but forcing myself to learn wasn't even useful. Now squash or tennis... at least when your boss knows you're good and he needs someone to play against you'll be that guy. Works wonders. That's not to say people don't get out of the city and go play a round of golf, but it's just much less practical than the movies make you think if you're in finance.

Jul 17, 2015
BlackHat:

If you're in New York and you're in the finance industry in a non-relationship building job (aka not sales, PWM maybe, etc) then golfing is really really not a big deal. I tried to take up golf for business purposes but realized like 2 weeks into trying to golf regularly that not only did I not like it, but forcing myself to learn wasn't even useful. Now squash or tennis... at least when your boss knows you're good and he needs someone to play against you'll be that guy. Works wonders. That's not to say people don't get out of the city and go play a round of golf, but it's just much less practical than the movies make you think if you're in finance.

I've noticed the tennis thing, but it seems like only the older folks though, who would never consider letting a young runt play at their country club, ha ha. But good to know none-the-less. Again a pro-squash in NYC vote... really got to take it up again. If I remember right, it's a fantastic workout too.

Where do you play usually? Also, where do you usually play tennis? It's hard to find an easily accessible public court that isn't packed all the time. And I don't know where any of the private clubs are either (not to mention, they probably cost the earth).

Jul 17, 2015

is smoking cigars a hobby?

Jul 17, 2015
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