When I was growing up in the '70s, I worked at my dad's golf club. One of my most vivid memories was of a well-known local businessman throwing his ball out of the sand trap with one hand, while tossing the sand up with the other so it looked like he actually hit the shot. I saw many successful men like him cheat on the golf course when they didn't know I was watching. Most of their violations were more subtle--but still dishonest.
Golf is based on honesty. It's the only sport where players are expected to--and sometimes do--call penalties on themselves. Yet there's probably more routine cheating in golf than in any other sport.
Does a person's behavior on the course translate to the business arena? You bet. Think of it this way: Golf is governed by an internationally recognized body, and has a rule book and a clearly defined purpose. If a person chooses to take liberties within these guidelines, think of what he or she could do within the guidelines of business, where the borders are not so well-defined.
If you want to measure someone's character, I suggest you play a round of golf. The value of this snapshot into character has been recognized since the game's inception in Scotland. Golf has a way of highlighting a person's traits--dishonesty, self delusion, explosive tempers, whininess, apathy, deflecting blame--that just might show up in your business dealings with him. They may not surface the first time you play, but give it a few times and you'll see a pattern develop. Says golf writer Paul Gallico, "If there is any larceny in a man, golf will bring it out."