What Golf Tells Me About You

As the 2018 Masters come to a close, Jason Hatch, an Account Executive in our Minneapolis branch, reflects on what you can learn about a person from their golf game.

Having grown up on the golf course, the game has molded my personality in various ways. Golf is known as the “gentleman’s game,” and is quite different from other sports. In my career as a sales professional, I have taken clients, coworkers, managers, and prospects to the golf course. Through these experiences, I have realized that I can learn important facts about someone just by spending four hours with them on the course.

Golf has a way of exposing weaknesses. For example, I discover whether or not you have a temper. You are by yourself, with no teammates to back you up or pick up slack when a mistake is made.  This can lead to frustration, anger, cursing, and sometimes even club breaking. I have witnessed all of the above, and cannot stress enough how much respect I have for players who remain calm and collected when adversity arises.

A competitive nature is also easy to spot. When you engage in sport, you will discover quickly if your opponents enjoy competition or are simply there to have fun. I am the type who attempts to figure out the game and stakes before we arrive at the first tee. I both live for and feed off friendly competition. I don’t dislike those that feel differently, but it is a valuable point of reference when evaluating someone’s character.

When spending four hours with someone, you will also discover whether or not this person gravitates toward introversion or extroversion. It helps when getting to know a prospect or client to understand their level of personal preferred engagement. You can learn quite a bit about them and their personal life if you spend time together on the golf course.

There is something in golf referred to as the “gimme,” or an “agreement” between two players who cannot putt. Knowing the right circumstances in which to give an opponent a putt can create friction in a round of golf. I respect those who try their best and appreciate when given a freebee. I cannot stand, however, when someone expects a freebee and becomes upset when they don’t get it. I prefer my team members to want to earn it! I suppose that’s the competitor in me.

Finally, integrity is uncovered through a golf game. Cheating occurs, whether it’s small (propping up a ball in the rough) or large (writing down a 5 instead of a 6). Regardless, those who behave in this way are looked at differently both on and off the course. Someone willing to cheat when the stakes do not matter all that much is a person I’d keep a close eye on when stakes are high. Don’t develop a reputation for untrustworthiness either on the golf course or in your professional life.

The game of golf often reveals character. If you want to get to know a professional colleague, I encourage you to play a round of golf with them. Share a cart and observe them both as a player and as a person. You may be surprised at the friend connection, professional and personal, that may develop!