Golf is a passion. No other activity or event during your conference elicits such emotion. That passion combines with the chance to spend four or five hours outdoors with "the right foursome" to generate incredible enthusiasm among golfers. That means you have a chance, with your golf, to create a positive mind-set that affects your attendees' entire conference experience. Rest assured that if your golfers seem unrelenting in their requests and their ability to make your staff crazy, you have a "normal" group of golfers.
After 15 years of running events, even I marvel at golfers' enthusiasm and the importance they place on arranging their foursomes. Whether it is with peers, bosses, or clients, I have learned never to underestimate the positive effect of a well-aligned foursome within a well-run golf outing.
My first concern during our events is that each golfer has a great experience. If that means changing his or her foursome 10 times, I will do it. Considering some of our events have more than 500 players, that means a lot of changes to pairings sheets. However, it is the relationships forged within those hundreds of pairings that contribute to the overall success of the golf event, the conference, and possibly next year's sales quotas!
Golf is not just an activity. It is not just a sport. It is passion, friendship, honesty, integrity, and fun. Name one other conference function that has all that! If you won't take my word for it, here are the words of some others . . .
"Eighteen holes of match or medal play will teach you more about your foe than will 18 years of dealing with him across the desk." --Grantland Rice, sportswriter
"It is a sport in which the whole American family can participate--fathers and mothers, sons and daughters alike. It offers a healthy respite from daily toil, refreshment of body and mind." --Dwight Eisenhower
"Golf and sex are about the only things you can enjoy without being good at it." --Jimmy Demaret, pro golfer
"I can tell right away if a guy is a winner or a loser just by the way he conducts himself on a golf course." --Donald Trump
"Some of us worship in synagogues, some on golf courses." --Adlai Stevenson
"You may as well praise a man for not robbing a bank." --Bobby Jones, on penalizing himself a stroke that cost him winning the U.S. Open (for a breach of a rule that no other players or spectators witnessed)
"Don't hurry. Don't worry. You're only here on a short visit, so don't forget to stop and smell the flowers." --Legendary golf pro Walter Hagen
"It could be worse; I could be allergic to beer." --Greg Norman, on being allergic to grass