Does Golf Help in the Business World?

By Robert Lee
Avid golfer Donald Trump maintains golf has helped his business career.
Avid golfer Donald Trump maintains golf has helped his business career.

Playing golf may not help you become the next Donald Trump, but it could help you in the business world. That's an opinion held by Drake University, which in 2012 offered a class, "Golf: For Business and Life." Students enrolling in the class learned about golf and also heard local business leaders speak about the importance of golf as a business tool.

Making Deals

Trump, who made a fortune in real estate, told that he closes many deals on the golf course. Trump found that playing golf gave him access to people he might not have met otherwise. He said he met Terry Lundgren, then the head of Macy's, on the golf course, and forged many other important business relationships while playing golf. Trump maintains playing golf with business associates helps you learn about their honesty and temperament. He suggests that knowledge can help during business negotiations.


Taking golf lessons and buying a set of clubs won't lead to business deals dropping in your lap. Business titans such as Trump have access to private country clubs, where they may be more likely to bump into the president of a major department store chain. However, you can make important contacts by playing in charitable golf events. For example, a golf outing to support a local children's hospital might attract doctors and hospital administrators -- a perfect place for a pharmaceuticals sales person to make important new contacts. A golf event sponsored by a local bar association could offer similar benefits for a paralegal looking for work.


Sandy Thomas, a former professional golfer on women's tours, maintains that playing golf definitely helps in the business world. She insists that it is so important that women entrepreneurs who do not play golf should include taking golf lessons as part of their business plans. She points out that playing golf gives women an opportunity to socialize with male counterparts away from the office in a casual setting. That could lead to a stronger professional relationship as well as business deals. The same opportunities are available to men who play the game.

Getting Started

Trump told that he started playing golf while in college. He said he and friends played at Cobbs Creek Golf Course, a public course in Philadelphia. You can get started in golf the same way. Many public golf courses offer clinics for beginners and can arrange one-on-one lessons with a PGA-certified golf pro. Public courses may also offer information on joining local golf leagues through which you can network with potential business associates.

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