It is no secret that playing golf is a key to creating successful business relationships. Men have enjoyed this privilege for decades but, up until recently, women weren’t included. If they were, it was perhaps reluctantly so. In another column, we’ll explore some specifics of what the golf industry can do to welcome women more fully, but for now, here’s an opportunity available to kick-start any golfer on that strategic path toward business golf: the Second Annual Collegiate AM Great Golf Escape at the Grand Lucayan Golf and Beach Resort in Freeport, Bahamas, Feb. 3-8
This concept, which began a few years ago as a fundraiser for the University of Detroit Mercy’s women’s golf team, has blossomed into an annual event that brings together area business professionals and members of the Detroit Titans women’s golf team.
Terri Ryan, golf coach for the Lady Titans, PGA teaching professional, and director of golf for the city of Southfield, will host the Great Golf Escape along with assistant coaches and members of her 2013 NCAA Horizon League Championship team. Ryan, a well-credentialed and award-winning golf professional both locally and nationally, will offer participants four to five days of golf, instruction, on-course one-on-one mentoring, comfortable competition, and course games.
The highlight of the week will pair participants with U of D team members in a two-day open scramble format competition. Top-ranked player and U of D graduate Lindsey Lammers, who recently competed in the final phase of qualifying for the LPGA Tour, will return to attend the upcoming event.
Most golfers, male or female, have never played with top women amateurs and will be amazed at the caliber of golf these young women will put on display. There is also a mutual benefit here: not only can these team members play dazzling golf, they are also scholastic All-Americans. While the players will help coach the participants in golf course management skills, in return they’ll learn valuable aspects of the business world in a quid pro quo networking arrangement with their playing partners.
Many women have bemoaned the fact, “if I only knew then what I know now” and would have learned the game in their youth. But even for those who did, one major problem is how women are introduced to golf. The majority of women who take up the game leave it, often after a year or two, usually because they weren’t brought into the game properly in the first place. Teaching golf to women shouldn’t be done in the same way as it is for men because the two genders do not approach the game with a similar mindset, physical makeup, or skill set. The Great Golf Escape helps to address this fundamental issue.
As is anything else in life, it’s never too late to learn something new or to improve your golf skills if you already do play. If you’ve been told 1) the game is too hard; 2) you don’t have the physical makeup; 3) you’re too old; 4) it will take you too long to learn; or 5) you won’t enjoy it, ignore those admonitions and consider joining in on this adventure. If this winter is anything like last year, you’ll want to get away to sunny skies and the warm breezes that come with island golf.
In the end, you’ll want to play more, which will also help out Michigan’s tourism business. The state boasts a plethora of golf courses, with more than 850 resorts and facilities available for public play — the most of any warm or cold weather state. The numbers of golfers have fallen in recent years, but with programs like the Great Golf Escape to bring enjoyment back to the game, this trend can be reversed. Nationwide, women make up about 20 percent of all golfers. In Michigan, it has traditionally been higher due to more active golf organizations. Exposing more women and girls to what golf can provide in both business and life can increase these numbers.
For more information about the Great Golf Escape, call Ryan at 248-304-4653 or email me at Jjacobs2456@gmail.com to receive a brochure and package information.
Janina Parrott Jacobs is an international golf and travel writer/editor/speaker; and a health and fitness writer for St. John Providence Health System.