Many of the very best ideas stem their simplicity. Men have seemingly always benefited from the ability to get a lot of business done on the golf course and it’s been a running joke for decades where you can find most CEOs when they’re not in the office. There is a stat that a whopping 90 per cent of Fortune 500 CEOs play golf and 80 per cent of executives say playing golf enables them to establish new business relationships.
But what about women? Women play golf and women work in business but very rarely do we hear about how the two can mix. Now, though, we have a new and vibrant community – Women In Golf and Business – which is a concept borne from years working in golf.
“This has been something that I’ve been passionate about for quite some time, throughout my career and being involved with various corporate golfing events, I’ve seen the benefits from a professional and a relationship-building perspective that golf can bring. And I’ve always wanted to encourage and support more women within business to gain the professional benefits that can come with the game,” explains founder and PGA Fellow Professional Nicky Lawrenson.
Lawrenson has played and coached the game at all levels and it was through her time spent within the corporate environments that it was clear that women were in the minority and hence Women In Golf and Business was born. The idea, as the catchline explains, is to ‘Empower, inspire, collaborate’ via unique networking events, golf and business training programmes along with an online portal where you can either subscribe for free or enjoy a premium membership.
The latter allows you to take advantage of discounted access to monthly networking events, get access to live webinars and a member’s business directory, be part of an annual golf and networking day and enjoy preferential green fee rates at exclusive venue partners across the UK, the likes of which include Bowood, Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort, Frilford Heath, Kingswood Golf & Country Club and Horsley Lodge.
And, as the name of the company suggests, it’s not all about the golf.
“You don’t have to be an established golfer. If you’re completely new to the game that’s great, we welcome all abilities. The idea is to encourage and support women, building confidence to embrace the benefits of the game both from a professional, personal and well-being perspective.
“The recently launched ‘Game Changer for your Business’ is a unique golf and business training programme that blends the skills of experienced golf professionals and business leadership coaches. I co-deliver these events with Jeanette Harris who is a highly-skilled leadership and life coach for professionals, passionate about enabling women to progress, flourish and make a positive impact within the corporate environment.
“Once the women have taken the leap to be part of the environment they have really enjoyed it and they’ve made some good connections among other like-minded business women and the feedback has been really positive. In terms of the golf it has so many relatable elements and how that can transfer into the workplace; whether that is overcoming a fear of failure or combating any limiting beliefs that may be impacting performance, those skills are very transferable.
“We also recently exhibited at the Karren Brady Women in Business & Tech Expo at Excel, London and had some fantastic feedback. The event was attended by businesswomen and companies from across the UK and included representation from Dell, Amazon and Goldman Sachs.
The whole ethos of the business is that golf can be an intimidating arena and they’re working hard towards breaking down any barriers and to simply make it feel as welcoming as possible. Women are still in the minority, on the golf course and in business, and they’re creating an environment that will help to shift that along.
Kirsty Duck is an HR consultant at face2faceHR – her previous experience of the game was crazy golf.
“I felt rather nervous about attending a Women in Golf and Business (WIGB) event. I’m a woman, I’m in business but I’ve only ever played crazy golf in a hockey style. I didn’t need to worry. I had the most wonderful day with a small group of like-minded people being skillfully guided by the coaches. After reading their bios I felt rather privileged to be spending time with them. We looked at how the world of sport, well-being and performance mindset are uniquely intertwined. It was a great balance of time learning, talking, sharing experiences and most importantly getting outside and perfecting our golf skills. I can now hit a golf ball with my dignity remaining in tact!” she explained.
Caia Slater is the founder of partnering2excel, a small expert HR consultancy and her experience was similarly beneficial.
“Not only did I make some new golf friends, Nicky’s talk and coaching session gave me the opportunity to reflect on the positive experiences playing golf has given me throughout my career to date. The ability to play golf has enabled me to build relationships quickly and expand my network effortlessly, while having fun.
“As a working mum with two children under 12 and a golf-mad husband, playing golf is also providing a fantastic way of bringing our family together. It enables us to spend time together, helping our children to build the skills, patience and confidence to play, while enjoying lots of fresh air and exercise, away from technology…what could be better than that!”
The good news, hopefully, is that women’s sport is on upward curve at the moment. There’s more TV coverage, more column inches and in general more awareness. The key now is to keep that going and build on it.
“Other successes help each sport regardless of what sport it is, there is a bigger and better spotlight on women’s sport these days and it is definitely improving and we all need to continue that positive momentum. Golf is definitely on a positive trajectory and there is lots more potential for that to continue to grow.
“We use the golf course as a way to breathe fresh air into personal development, transferable skills, relationship building, as well as our lungs, while providing a platform for both newcomers to the game and established golfers to embrace the professional, personal and well-being benefits of golf. The dynamics on the golf course can be very different to the workplace and so much good stuff can come from that.”
The company only launched last year but there are some big plans for 2023 and beyond. They have introduced the game-changing programme that has been designed to accommodate bespoke options for companies, plus an expanding collaboration with exclusive venue partners, immersive week long overseas business leadership retreats are also in the pipeline for the New Year.
As we’ve all known for years golf can be good for business – and that now includes women too.
For more information on Women In Golf and Business click here
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