Golf Math: How Much Less Would It Cost To Do Business On The Links?

Yes, you read it right… LESS!

My favorite expression I hear often and love to debunk is when a business owner tells me they want to golf more but it’s too expensive. My second favorite is when they say they don’t have time. I’ve helped hundreds of business owners grow their business and it just isn’t true – unless, of course, you’re a complete idiot and after 4 hours with you no one ever wants to see you again.

As a matter of fact, I would challenge anyone to prove that they have a better conversion rate anywhere else.

In corporate America, I can leverage similar examples around building teamwork, making critical decisions, getting key decisions turned in your favor and even raises.

Being in a beautiful environment where you can’t rush, there’s lots of downtime to be human, and you have people’s undivided attention is a gift. It helps us decide if this relationship is a good fit for you or not. Rather than me spewing hundreds of statistics about how you’ll earn more – do a simple Google search.

Despite all of the research done on the topic – there are those who still don’t believe. I’d like to fix that today.

Let’s look at your last sale. Chances are you probably spent time and money trying to find a lead that was right for you. Lead and brand marketing? Networking to get to the person you want to know? Phone calls and pre-meetings before you got actual time with them. If you use Gary Vaynerchuk’s boxing metaphor, minimally, it’s a ‘JAB, JAB, JAB, Right Hook.’ (For those who don’t know this strategy, Vaynerchuk says you have to give 3 times before you can ask for the sale.) All that giving takes time. Why do you have to give? Relationships fuel sales and it takes time to build relationships.

I might argue that in 18 holes you can build 3 solid new relationships at one time. Seems like a productive use of time – nevermind being a better way to spend everyone’s afternoon.

So let’s use a real example:

Bob is a client. Bob spent $23,500 on marketing last year and acquired 14 new clients. This did not include travel, entertainment expenses or time spent. On average, this averaged about $950 per client. This brought his average client acquisition cost to $2,629 and doesn’t account for the time spent romancing prospective clients and managing his sales funnel.

Bob and I looked at his acquisition costs together and asked, “What if he had leveraged Network&Golf?” His first response was, “Well then I’d get back out in the field and sell, too!”

We did a little golf math and he strongly believed he could cut his acquisition cost in half! Bob also believed that they would not have wasted their time with a couple of clients who they ended up losing money on had they played golf with them first.

It’s hard to fake it for four hours.

Turns out, by the way, when we asked his 3 salesmen, the one with the best results always golfed with his clients and accounted for half of the company sales and had the lowest expenses.

Here’s Bob’s math:

Today’s COA (Cost Of Acquisition): $2,629/per client

After looking at his top salesman’s results and the Network & Golf program, Bob believes he can:

  • Cut his marketing costs by 60%
  • Add 10% of what he saved to his travel/entertaining budget to now have meaningful conversations with twice as many clients each year more simply
  • Have a happier team who produces even better results.

Bob also decided he would leverage Network & Golf internally to plan team building events and hold monthly business statuses with his sales team. Our favorite line?

I bet we start seeing leads come to us just because some of these guys know we’re going to bring them out on the links to talk business. Everyone needs an excuse to golf more!

Based on industry sales and marketing statistics, this quick chart will show you how golf can actually save you time as well.

It shows how much time the average sales rep spends from acquisition to close (of course there are exceptions, but this is based on national averages.) Think of all the networking meetings and handshakes. Add in phone calls, coffee meetings (and travel back and forth) and trips to their office. Now compare that to using Network&Golf to capture a meeting and then having a relaxing 18 with 3 potential clients at a time:

The math adds up. Doing business on the links is not a luxury, it’s a savvy strategy to build better relationships and grow your business.

Share your success story with us!


Success in 18

golfer, golf, network

I wasn’t brought up with a lot of money. We were pretty average middle-class kids brought up in an entrepreneurial environment. We didn’t want for much but we certainly weren’t wealthy. We knew the pain and stress of the mortgage being due and not being able to have some of the fancy designer clothes we believed ‘every kid in America had but us.’ So when I met my first ‘millionaire’, I knew that I wanted to pay attention. I knew that there were things this person knew that hadn’t been passed down through my bloodline.

I remember getting up the courage to ask him what the secret to success was. “Golf,” he said. That was it. One word. I was a sophomore in high school and that really meant nothing at the time. Neither parent golfed. It wasn’t a course offered at my all girl private school that I was graced to attend. It certainly wasn’t something I saw as a trait of successful business leaders. If anything, golf was something you got to do more of the more successful you were. His word was lost on me. My brief moment of courage that was displayed in an effort to seek out the secret to a glamorous life – was gone. I didn’t realize this gentlemen’s sage advice at the time, instead, I mistook it for a flip comment he threw out to a pestering 15-year-old in a plaid skirt and knee socks.

The next several years I’d started to recognize golf as a reward for hard work and money earned. I learned the sport for just that reason. I had worked hard and I thought I should know how to reap the reward. Turns out, I loved the sport and hated it simultaneously. I loved that it brought me fresh air, great company, relaxing exercise and a fun social afternoon. I loved that after golfing my head always felt clearer. I felt refreshed and reminded of how beautiful the earth is. I loved that it seemed like I could slow down in a sped up world just by toting around a bag of clubs.

I hated that it kept me humble. As an athlete, I expected to go out and get better every single time I played. Thankfully no one I ever played with expected the same from me.

It wasn’t until I was 29 and met a relentless pair of salesmen on a train from NYC to New Haven that I started to realize what I was missing. I ended up playing golf with one of them weeks later to learn about his success (he was currently a VP at a top insurance company and would go on to become the head of his own multi-million dollar empire – and a mentor.) Golfing with him made me better – but in ways you wouldn’t expect. We golfed with a variety of partners, but what I learned about business in 18 holes was invaluable! I learned about leadership, overcoming adversity, motivation, sales, and execution. I learned from their mistakes and successes and from their stories and their technique. I made connections I still have and ones that I cherish. To me, these golf outings had been better teachers than any class I could recall.

A year later I started to take the ferry back from Port Jeff weekly as my job took me to Long Island on a regular basis. It was during the crossing that I met leader after leader who had spent the day golfing on Long Island. Every Friday, like clockwork, I’d find this ferry filled with successful business leaders ending a “hard” day on the course. I’d hear of the deals they closed and I swear there was never a Friday that I didn’t find a bar full of celebratory clinks on the passage home. As I learned more, I found all different industries and leaders of different positions and statuses clinking their glasses. It wasn’t all about sales; it was about getting things done. Not shy, I jumped into the conversation like I was still 15 and wearing those navy blue knee socks. One older gentleman said to me, “too bad you’re a woman because if you really want to get somewhere you’d get on the golf course with us.” (Thank God times have changed!) Someone else said, “Colleen, you get a couple of the right people on a golf course and that’s when you’ll really get things done.” I had a boss who would tell me, “Colleen, it’s not about the meeting, it’s about the scotch after the meeting. You either need to learn to drink or take up golf.”

The picture started to become clearer. Unfortunately, I wasn’t (I believed) good enough to play for business but it was very clear that the advice that I received when I was 15 was far better than I had known. This fact would soon help me:

63% of all golfers shoot in the 90’s or worse (NGF 2010)
As a matter of fact, only 5% shoot under 80 and most players don’t mind playing with someone who’s only a stroke behind each hole.

Here’s what I also didn’t factor in:

It’s easier to get a meeting on a golf course than anywhere else
There’s a lot of down time in a round of golf. It’s perfect to talk, build relationships, and listen. No one is rushed to get to his or her next meeting. It creates a more enjoyable and productive meeting.
It forces you to slow down. You can’t speed it up or rush ahead. It’s the most productive meditative brain session you’ll ever experience.
Golfers earn more. I didn’t understand it – or even believe it – at first. It’s true.

Mathematically you’ll never have 3 meetings in a 4 hour period and still be relaxed, get to know people as well, nurture relationships, or feel as relaxed coming out of them.
The invitation is the hardest part. In corporate America, I waited to be invited. When I started inviting, things became a lot more fun. Add one game to your routine every week and you will change your success rates. For a thousand different reasons, slowing down will help you speed up. Better relationships will make you smarter, better and faster.
Here’s to the 2017 golf season. May the greens be lush, the wind gentle, and your conversations rich.

Colleen Bader is the President of Network&Golf ( and Small Business USA. Network&Golf is helping business leaders meet on the golf course while helping golfers of all levels learn, golf with leaders with similar skill levels, and grow their business. Join free at

Relationship Sales

770 marketing images daily. 5 new contacts daily. 10 sales calls daily. 300 emails daily. 2,500 new content posts on your area of expertise daily (this one is totally a guess.)

How do you stand out?

The holy grail of any sales person is the ability to get the appointment that reaps time to build a relationship with a prospective client. Perhaps you’ll meet 3-4 times prior to closing a deal; maybe more. If you’re lucky, after a couple meetings you’ll get some time on the golf course with them. Smart business leaders know that 4 hours on the links proves to be just as valuable for the client as it is for the salesman. Several studies have actually verified that business owners whom golf earn 17% more than those who don’t while 84% of executives surveyed found golf to be an important currency in the business world. It simply gets you where you need to be, faster.

So what if you don’t golf?

Well, it’s time to learn. NetworkAndGolf ( will be creating handicap specific networking events starting spring of 2017. You can learn the sport with other business leaders while you get to grow your business. Visit their site to get an early invitation.

And if you do golf?

Join golf networking groups or leverage NetworkAndGolf ( to meet the people you want (and need) to meet directly on the links. Stop wasting time looking for appointments. In late spring you’ll be able to invite others to golf and set up tee times for both of you in seconds. You’ll be able to see whose golfing and join foursomes while you travel or at home with other business golfers looking to network.

Here are some other steps to help you build better relationships and stand out from your competition:

  1. Do your homework

Do you pick up the phone and call someone and have nothing to talk about besides getting an appointment or selling your wares? This happens to me 10 times a day from solicitors. When I pick up a phone and someone has done his homework (i.e. has read things I’ve posted, knows about my companies, has checked out my Facebook page and has taken a genuine interest…) that’s a call that’s easier to take.

2. Appropriately target your audience first.

While I was in temporary housing and looking for a new home, I started becoming aware of the irrelevant phone calls and email I received. I received calls from contractors, solar panel and electric companies, landscaping companies and more. In several cases, I asked if they knew my current address (an apartment complex), which they did. Why I wondered, would they be wasting their time with me?

What do you do when you receive irrelevant (read “annoying”) calls or emails? If you’re like me, you permanently block them with your phone or spam filter – never giving them an opportunity to spam or call you again.

What if those contractors were instead reaching out to build relationships with realtors who were selling outdated homes? They could then become part of the sale process – a far better way to reach me.

3. Don’t sell!

Dear Lord, don’t sell! Build. Build relationships, connections, rapport, laugh… going in for the sale will NOT build a relationship. Yes, there are some exceptions. Every time you go for the sale first, you risk the relationship forever. Take your time. Once the rapport is built, you’ll be surprised how easily the sale can come.

84% of sales are built on trust. -Gallup poll 2014

So please, please, don’t cheat on the golf course.

Colleen Ferrary is the founder of Small Business USA and CEO and Founder of NetworkAndGolf. She has been helping businesses grow for 30 years.

Why are Country Clubs and Golf Courses losing their appeal? 

Have County Clubs Lost Their Appeal

Country Clubs and Golf Courses Are Struggling, Why?

“Golf is a good walk spoiled.”  Mark Twain

Have County Clubs Lost Their AppealCountry Clubs and Golf Courses across the United States are struggling, but why?  Are people not interested in golfing?  Are costs too high?  Or maybe Country Clubs and Golf Courses are their own worst enemies, not keeping up with the times.

According to the National Golf Foundation, the number of golfers in the United States has dropped by almost one-fifth since 2003. And golfers are playing fewer rounds. In 2013 U.S. golfers played four hundred and sixty-two million rounds; this might sound like quite a lot but Golf Datatech reports that is the lowest number since 1995.

Only fourteen new golf courses were built in the United States in 2013, yet one hundred and fifty-eight closed. Things have been going downhill since the global financial crisis hit in 2007. But that’s not the only reason.

Baby boomers were expected to tee-off in droves but they seem to prefer other pursuits, like trekking the Andes or surfing the breaks in Hawaii. As for the millennials: who needs to spend six hours glad-handing on a golf-course when you can do your networking with a hand-held device? Gen Xers have been squeezed every which way financially so an expensive, elitist sport that takes all day isn’t for them either.

Gone are the days when Dad could disappear on Saturday and leave Mom with the kids. These days, fathers are more likely to be the chauffeur who takes their offspring to their various sporting activities.

It is not just the clubs that are struggling. Sellers of golf clothing and equipment are also feeling the pinch. Earlier this year national retailer, Dick’s Sporting Goods, laid off hundreds of employees in its golf division. Sporting goods manufacturers like Nike and Adidas have taken a hit in earnings due to the slowdown in recreational golf. Television ratings for golf have also declined.

Country Clubs, once the holy grail of middle-class aspiration, are suffering too. People no longer join because their parents belonged or to get a foot-hold in local business networks. Once the bastions of old money and gracious living, surviving clubs are relaxing dress codes and dropping fees in an attempt to attract new members. While some of the very top clubs may be holding the line, those that were built to appeal to corporate middle managers are in desperate competition for survival. With retrenchment cutting a swathe through corporate ranks, many clubs have lost their base.

Country ClubNot all commentators see doom and gloom in this situation, some believe that it’s just about recalibrating an oversupply problem. Ed Weathers, former senior editor at Golf Digest believes that the high end clubs with swathes of emerald grass and top-dollar fees will survive, as will the smaller courses, with low annual fees where people go with only one thing in mind: to play golf.

And while golf might be declining in popularity in the United States, it seems to be on the up in China. Despite an official ban on building new golf courses, Chinese state media reports that the number of courses in China increased from two hundred in 2004 to six hundred in 2015.

Seems the burgeoning Chinese middle class have gold-plated aspirations too.

For A Limited Time, Receive Up To A $150 Gift Card FREE With Purchase Of Callaway XR Clubs at!


Can Golf Appeal to the Next Generation?

Golf and Business for the Next Generation

Golf and Business for the Next Generation

Can Golf Appeal to the Next Generation?

Let’s just get it out of the way; golf is an elitist’s sport.  Typically only high-powered executives, well to do business owners and old money family members are found at the country club.  Country club memberships are expensive and sometimes exclusive.

The next generation of entrepreneurs, business owners and executives have advantages (or disadvantages depending on your thoughts) because of the technology available today.  It’s far easier to meet people today than in generations past.  Meetings, conversations and networking can happen instantly thanks to smartphones, computers and high-speed internet.  So why would the next generation of entrepreneurs, business owners and executives ever consider golf?

The Upside:

Technology is great, and we’re all using it but have you ever participated in a meeting with someone who was constantly distracted by said technology, or disconnected because they’re answering email and text?  Can you shake a hand over the internet (not yet)?  Is body language obvious on a skype call or video conference call?  Probably not..

In our previous blog post we discussed 10 Important Golf Etiquette tips.  Among the tips included things such as not talking when another player is taking their swing, ensuring you play your ball where it lies, and not crossing in front of another player’s path to the hole on the green.  The reason for these tips is really just common courtesy.  If someone chooses to ignore these rules on the golf course is this someone you really want to do business with?  That was the overall theme of the previous blog post.

Well you can’t establish a person’s personality over the internet as well as you can on a golf course for 4 hours.  Golf will show you how someone responds during times of stress, challenge, embarrassment, not being the best, and temptation to lie or cheat.  Spend 4 or 5 hours with someone on the golf course and you will know whether or not you want to do business with them.

You cannot learn that much about a person over a conference call, email or skype.  You can’t even learn that much about a person during a 1 ½ hour face to face network meeting.  The fastest way to learn about how a person reacts to different situations is on a golf course.

How Does Golf Appeal to the Next Generation?

Society is at a cross roads when it comes to being social.  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram allow us to communicate instantly and frequently without ever actually talking over the phone or in person.  Text messages mean we never have to pick up the phone to talk.  Dating sites allow us to find a mate without fear of rejection or social interaction.  Our society has adopted these things as the norm.  There are even apps that match golfers up with other golfers in the area..what a great convenience.

Golf Networking for the Next GenerationI just said it..that’s how we appeal to the next generation.  We need Golf apps & networking opportunities and appealing to the business savvy entrepreneurs and executives who are looking to get ahead.  Country clubs have to adopt social media as part of their marketing campaign.

And an organization that brings people together for the purpose of networking and golf while utilizing a bit of the old school method of past generations (and current), and the new school approach of the next (and current) generation of using technology to communicate with their peers would catapult future generations to the golf courses and country clubs.  And Jordan Spieth will also help grow another generation of golfers!

The Back-9 Boardroom is such an organization.  Our intent is to grow networking groups of business owners and executives who want to meet other business owners and executives to learn more about them, on the golf course.  It’s almost a guarantee that after 18 rounds you will know whether or not you want to conduct business with another person.

It’s promising that whenever I visit a golf course I often witness a group of kids learning to play the game of golf.  It’s also promising that there are groups out there whose purpose is to get more children involved in the sport of golf.  My own son has expressed an interest in golf without ever having played.

The 18th Hole!

Golf can, and already is appealing to the next generation.  In fact I see different generations golfing together all the time, sometimes 3 different generations in the same foursome.  The future is bright so long as everyone adopts the changes in society and incorporates them into the golf universe.  Remember this truth that still holds today, the biggest deals are closed on the golf course.  Are you missing out?

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10 Golf Etiquette Tips And How They Apply to Business

10 Golf Etiquette Tips & How They Apply To Business

10 Golf Etiquette Tips and How They Relate to Business10 Golf Etiquette Tips And How It Applies to Business

New golfers will undoubtedly find themselves surrounded by unfamiliar and sometimes subtle rules, or worse, be the brunt of a seasoned golfer’s anger when the new golfer is not aware of one of those subtle rules.  Very often the reason a new golfer lacks knowledge of these rules is because so much emphasis is put on silence, and how to properly swing the club, but nothing else.

We’ve all watched Happy Gilmore.  We all know that Happy was the rebel of the golf course asking the crowd to cheer, and how it was frowned upon by the professional golfers.

It’s not that being quiet is not important; in fact it’s very important.  At the green or on the tee, unless you’re the person swinging the golf club, quiet is incredibly significant. Much of the game is short bursts of action and focus. When you’re taking your shots you should be focused on doing just that.

At all times please avoid slow play! In case your group isn’t keeping up with the group facing you attempt to walk at a faster speed between shots. It also helps to begin planning your next shot as you approach your ball, take direction and the power of the wind into consideration. Check the lie as you get to your ball, visualize your shot and then use as little time as possible to take your shot to maintain the appropriate speed of play. The entire process of picking a club to taking a shot should not take more than 45 seconds. It is helpful to remember when you’re practicing or on the driving range to keep this procedure under 45 seconds. If for some reason you’re not prepared when it’s your move to play allow another player take their turn.

Golf Etiquette:

  1. Avoid distracting or disturbing competition or your fellow players.

Appropriate behavior must be displayed, no matter how extreme the game is. Prevent making noise when a player, whether with your group or just nearby, is taking a shot. In addition, ensure that your telephone or electronic device doesn’t go off, thus distracting others. Golf takes lots of focus; be sure you value people that are concentrating on their play.


  1. Remain where you need to be.

When on the green ensure you do not throw a shadow over it or do not step in another player’s line. The golfer furthest from the hole has the first shot.  If any other members of your group are not displaying proper golf etiquette it is OK to point that out once no one is taking a shot.


  1. Make safety a priority before, during and following the game.

Safety should always be of high importance, including during a game of golf. When you make a practice or real swing, make sure that nobody is close enough to be hit by your ball, club or debris from the shot.  Every player should wait until her or his fellow players are out of range. In case you see the ball is flying toward someone else, promptly yell “fore”, the recognized word of warning in golf.


  1. “Play the ball as it lies.”

Network Golfing Golf CourseIt is a well-known quotation that underlies golf etiquette and it means just what it says. Play the ball from the spot it landed.  Do not move or touch it. There are exceptions to this on the putting green when you’re able to pick up the ball (particularly if it’s in the line of someone’s shot ) after you have marked it, but you do not pick up a ball and reposition it to satisfy your edge, even if it landed in a bunker.


  1. Keep a consistent speed of play.

Slow play keeps the group behind you from moving forward in exactly the same way it keeps you from moving forward if the group in front of you is moving at a turtle’s pace.  If you find that your group just can’t keep up the pace then allow the group behind you to pass.


  1. On the green, never step between a player and his line of site

This refers to the imaginary line between his ball and the hole. Volunteer to move your ball and place a marker if your ball is in the player’s ball’s path to the hole.


  1. Be considerate to other players

Don’t make an excessive amount of motion or gestures while they’re taking their shots.  A golfer can be distracted by commotion in their peripheral vision.


  1. Always do your part in taking good care of the golf course.

Replace any divots. Rake your footsteps from the place you played from if you’re in the bunker. Fix any pitch marks you might have caused from hitting the ball on the green.  You can do this after your put.


  1. Be pleasant to caddies.

You are helping shape future players of the sport. Plus they are able to give you hints so that you can better understand the layout of the course.  There is a good chance they know the course better than you do.


  1. Congratulate everyone for a good game. Take your losses and victories humbly.

Networking GolfBusiness Application

How does this relate to the business world?  Well if you haven’t figured it out yet then allow me to explain.  A golfer that kicks his ball onto the fairway from the rough to give himself the advantage is showing you that he/she is willing to take shortcuts at the expense of others.

A golfer who doesn’t replace divots or do his best to maintain the beauty and integrity of the golf course is simply inconsiderate to others that come after him, and to the owners of the golf course.

If someone is being loud or distractive while others are taking their shots, whether in your group or another nearby group then that person is not going to be considerate of your business.  They will not do their best to ensure that your business does not suffer because of their actions.

And humility?  Do I really have to explain it?

If you’re unsure whether or not you want to be in business with someone then take them to the golf course to see how they ‘behave’.  It’s not how well they play the game, but how they play the game.

Come to one of our many events around the state, and bring that potential business partner to see if it will be a match, or if you need someone else to play golf with.  Visit for more information.