Whether your next meeting is golf-themed or just likely to attract golfers because of the location, there are many ways to minimize the inevitable golfer/nongolfer awkwardness. Obviously, the meeting site should appeal to all attendees, whether they spend their leisure time in spikes or in flip-flops. Beyond that, here are some of the things you can do to ensure an enjoyable experience for all.

Selecting a Speaker

If you are going to hire a golf-related speaker, make sure you match the speaker's personality with that of your audience. We recently placed the highly motivational, 51-time PGA tournament winner Billy Casper with an association that was looking for an interactive, inspirational, and personable speaker. Casper gave his speech in the morning, stuck around to sign books, and even had lunch with members of the group. The association was thrilled.

Customization Is Key

Be sure you get what you're paying for. A broker's speaker fee includes customer service and preparation time for the speaker, not just the actual speaking engagement. So once you've found the right speaker, continue to work with the broker to be certain the speech is appropriate.

Get on the phone or meet with the broker in person to make your needs and expectations known. Leave no question as to who the audience is, what the company is about, and what the meeting is for. If half of your audience doesn't play golf frequently, it wouldn't make sense for the speaker to use a lot of golf terminology and focus too much on the game. Most qualified golf-related speakers have several different topics that can be tailored to appeal to all meeting attendees, not just those who love the game of golf.

Even if yours is a golf-themed meeting, consider using promotional items with a fresh and broader appeal. Even the expert golfers of the group will be happy to receive something different, such as a Hawaiian golf shirt, to go along with their collection of golf towels and polo shirts.

Celebrity Status

Depending on your budget, it might be a good idea to book a widely known golf celebrity to deliver the keynote address or to play in the corporate tournament. Keep in mind that in the world of golf, a celebrity doesn't necessarily mean a player. Well-known broadcast personalities and authors also have celebrity status and typically draw more attention and interest from an audience, regardless of the golf/nongolf mix.

Instead of automatically dividing your group into golfers and nongolfers, keep them together for the afternoon with a tournament that everyone can enjoy. Level the playing field and keep things fun with a putt-putt-style wacky golf tournament, or consider hiring a professional golfer to play and interact with the mixed group. What golfer can't use a few pointers from a pro?

Edward Smith is co-founder of Golfpodium.com, the first and only online golf-specific speakers bureau. Based in Jupiter, Fla., he can be reached at esINFINITY@aol.com.