Talking with a good friend at the airport in Vallarta, I was surprised by how a common conversation for me was so amazing and interesting for others. Getting into the topic of golf, I told him what we are doing in Peru, where we are donating our services for the good of the Lima community.
He asked me “What does a golf course contribute to the community,” saying that it only benefits a few because it is elitist.
“Exactly!” I pointed out. That is precisely the point, to break those schemes where golf is only for the elite is our goal as a firm specializing in golf design. The interaction with the Peruvian Golf Federation has given us precisely this opportunity. It would be very extensive to go into all the benefits, however, I will focus on the social side.
The sport of golf, which unfortunately in Mexico is still far from popular, teaches lessons and puts us in situations that, although well instilled and appreciated, become virtues that we take with us into our daily lives.
Golf on the course teaches you to be patient and chivalrous and there are a number of established and understood rules of ethical behavior. Knowing when it is your turn to hit the ball, when to hurry or to take it easy. Keeping silent while your opponent is ready and obviously not stepping on his line or standing on it, shows your human-sportsmanship quality. In fact, it is the only sport that does not require a referee as such. There are judges that the athlete himself, when in a controversial situation, will raise his hand if required. Therefore, the spirit of golf lies in the integrity of each player.
One’s behavior on the course is paramount, even outside of tournaments. How many times have we heard that golf is good for closing deals?
Although having your potential partner captive for 4 hours with all the wine they can drink is one of the reasons, it is not the main or most sensitive one. The real reason to take a potential partner to play is to figure out their behavior during those 4 hours. Golf is going to present them with challenges and celebrations and, sooner or later, bring out your true colors. In other words, you must observe how they react to an adverse situation, to a situation of anger and frustration. You have to observe if he is honest with the game and with himself, if I caught him at the moment he moved the ball by accident or carried it and he doesn’t punish himself, it’s a “red flag” and immediately I ask myself: Why would I want to close a deal with a person who discounted blows, threw his club when he hit the ball badly three times in a row and spoke rudely or disrespectfully to the soft drink vendor out of frustration?
Personally, I take a friend, client, partner or employee to play golf to observe their ethical behavior on the course regardless of how they play.
Golf is a “life tool” and it shows us the typical situation that the ball is not always going to be where we dreamed it would be. How many times in our lives have we been in some place of failure, disappointment, disillusionment because of where life put us, when we really deserve to be in that situation ourselves? The important thing is not where you are in life or where the ball is, but what you are going to do in the next hit or in the next thing in your life. How many times do we not imagine our ball in the air with a perfectly placed “draw” trajectory in the center of the Fairway and then after hitting it we see how it opens up and falls into the rough, into a trap or flat on the hill?! As my good friend Diego Bustos from CNN said in a talk we had: “The only thing we control in a golf game is our reaction to the situation we are in“.
For these and other reasons, we continue to be inspired to collaborate in non-profit projects like in Peru, where soon we will have several generations of all socioeconomic levels practicing a great sport that not only teaches you to compete but to live on and off the court.