Golf for many of us is a very serious addiction. We have to have our regular fix!
Come rain or shine, business meetings or trade exhibitions, we will make all the excuses needed to arrange that very crucial meeting which just happens to clash.
That is our ‘speak’ for sod it I am going to play a round of golf anyway.
Here in Thailand a lot of business is conducted on the golf course and in some companies, it is seen as an actual asset if you can play golf.
There are corporate tournaments, amateur tournaments, club tournaments, Pro Ams, weekday shotguns, expat clubs and night golf, all where you can do some serious networking.
Expat golf is huge particularly here in Asia, and in Bangkok they have several clubs. Perhaps the biggest is called the Wanderers, who have over 300 members and play shotguns every weekend.
The Asian Tour visits Thailand several times a year along with the LPGA. It’s amazing how many places on the tournament’s Pro Am are not taken up by the local prime minister or the CEO of the main sponsors. One enterprising travel agent managed to arrange for 20 of his clients to play in a recent Pro Am, an experience they are unlikely to forget.
Eithad Airways recently ran a very successful Corporate Golf Tournament in several countries, with all the individual winners flying business class to Abu Dhabi to play in the grand final at the Yas Links course. Surprisingly the eventual winners for 2010 came from the Bangkok round.
Many of the hospitality industry also use golf to act as networking events. You have a chance for four of you to mix work with pleasure over 4-5 hours on the course, followed by a slap up meal a few beers and some speeches and awards thrown in too. The Hyatt group had their own get together recently down at the Banyan Golf Club in Hua Hin and the winner flew to Dubai and stayed at the Park Hyatt and played the wonderful Dubai Creek and Golf Club as well.
I would much rather spend a day at the golf course assisted by a smiling Thai Caddie, than stuck in a ballroom listening to the CFO of some company telling us how brilliant they are.
Perhaps instead of that company outing to the next big horse race, why not suggest to your CEO, that you should take some clients over to Thailand for a week’s worth of golf and networking.
But one tip to remember.
It is better to let your clients win, just by a whisker, and then you stand a chance of winning that new order. You may also get a pat on the back from your Managing Director who may even utter those immortal words…’Jones, we’ve got those Korean buyers in town and all they want to do is play golf. I don’t suppose you could….’