By Elizabeth Ghaffari, Women in the Boardroom Executive Council Member and Founder of Champion Boards | Women in the Boardroom


It's Not JUST About Golf

By Elizabeth Ghaffari, Women in the Boardroom Executive Council Member and Founder of Champion Boards

Researchers seemed focused, almost to an extreme, on whether the chief explanatory reason behind men’s success in business, compared to women, is or is not about GOLF.

It’s NOT just golf! It’s all the things it takes to “play” golf. Take a look.

Where do men spend their money in order to “play” golf? Men buy books and magazines that inform them how to have a better swing in order to perform better on the green. Women buy magazines in order to buy clothes that make them look good on the course. Men pay for coaches to improve their swing and correct their putt. Women may pay a coach, but only a few ambitious women focus on their putt as opposed to HIS putt. Men even wager among themselves in competition to incentivize themselves. How many women do you know who would actually put cold hard cash on herself to win?

Men develop wide and diverse networks of “partners” from among their professional colleagues. These are men with whom they enjoy spending large quantities of time talking about business, shared enthusiasms, and joking about various “games.” Women talk about clothes, shoes, babies, children, and all the indignities of life. When was the last time you heard a great joke from a woman? She may have “a friend” or two, but does she build a “network” of friends with similar business interests? Would she be able to call up a friend and invite her to play a round of nine this coming weekend or would she have to schedule an appointment four weeks out, with a high probability that the friend would cancel at the last minute because she had a family crisis that nobody else could possibly handle?

Men talk about business ideas and opportunities on the golf course. Have you ever overhead conversations among women? Are the topics opportunities? Ideas? Or are the topics negative kvetching about something or another? Misery-sharing?

At least we are beginning to see a substantive increase in the number of young women playing golf under the auspices of the Ladies’ Professional Golf Association (LPGA). Thanks to the groundbreaking work of a handful of women – just over six decades ago – women around the globe can now learn to compete and enjoy the game.

But, then — when there was a surge in the number of international players from Korea in the late 2000’s – did LPGA women open their arms to communicate and collaborate with the global players for the benefit of the sport? Or did women golfers demand that Korean women “learn the language” before they would play nice with them? Rather than help them get the training they needed, the first reaction of the LPGA leadership was to keep them “out of the network.” Fortunately, somebody wised up.

There are many other “sports networks” where women can “learn the game” of competition, today – golf, tennis, soccer, softball, to name a few. Women don’t just have to wait to be included in men’s networks. What they do need to do, however, is build better, more collaborative and supportive networks among women – whether in sport, in organizations, or in business.

It’s not just about golf. It IS all about how women work together to build great teams that in turn make up effective and powerful networks.

Reproduced with permission:

The opinions and experiences expressed by the author or subjects do not necessarily reflect those of Women in the Boardroom.


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