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Business Today Golf: A pioneering effort

Business Today Golf: A pioneering effort

At its very heart, golf is a demanding pastime. No matter what level it is played at. Whether on foot or by a cart, playing an 18-hole event is a test of physicality and fitness, golf is drawing in ever greater numbers in India where an informal count suggests close to a million players hit the course on a more or less regular basis.

Business Today Golf: A pioneering effort Business Today Golf: A pioneering effort

Every golfer appreciates what a day out on the course can mean. No activity quite compares with it – the peaceful silence of the surroundings and absence of distractions, the camaraderie of the playing group and friendships that grow out of such associations, the sheer physicality of it all.

At its very heart, golf is a demanding pastime. No matter what level it is played at. Whether on foot or by a cart, playing an 18-hole event is a test of physicality and fitness. As a result, golf is drawing in ever greater numbers in India where an informal count suggests close to half a million players hit the course on a more or less regular basis.

For recreational or casual players, two factors stand out as draws towards a golf course. First, it is an opportunity to spend quality time in an environment that encourages and creates a sense of well-being and relaxation. Two, it is a platform for building and nurturing relationships that can evolve over time into other areas.

And then of course there is the cachet factor, the aura of exclusivity that the game builds around itself.

It is with such thoughts in mind that Business Today launched its highly-popular series of golf tournaments aimed at bringing the cream of the corporate world onto a common stage that was removed from the daily business of life. Played for the first time over a quarter of a century ago, the tournament has gone through several iterations and changes in form and format, but the bottom line has remained unchanged – fun in the sun, and some business on the side.

Business Today Golf has over the years seen the cream of corporate India grace the greens and fairways of the best golf courses around the country. Starting as a standalone event – India’s first such – it grew over the years into a multi-city competition that culminated in a national finale involving at times close to a thousand entrants in all, who would line up to play in the prestigious tournament.

For a time, Business Today Golf also hosted an International Leg that was played at select overseas destinations including Macao, Dubai, Mauritius, and Thailand. In the early years, BT Golf saw winners of regional legs congregate for a finale at some of the best courses in and around Delhi. Open essentially to CEOs and other top corporate decision makers, it was a hugely successful venture and drew plaudits from the full range of participants.

There was a very good reason for this.

For many, golf is probably the ultimate business and networking platform, and one that the boardroom with its attendant confines and limitations does not encroach upon. Or business lunches, for that matter. No wonder Forbes Magazine remarked some years ago, “Close to 80 percent of executives say playing golf enables them to establish a new business relationship while 93 percent say that playing golf with a business associate is a good way to establish a closer relationship”.

Callaway executives should know a thing or two about growing the game – and business – hand in hand on the golf course. “Golf has long been the game of corporate and business people. This isn’t about being elitist, it’s about creating a membership that shares common values and interests, and at the same time provide an engaging golfing and networking platform for all stakeholders – members and sponsors alike,” Callaway India chief Prashant Singh was quoted as saying.

In fact, the corporate game as pioneered by Business Today Golf in some ways predates bigger such events held in the West. It also leveraged the fact that on the golf course, making and taking business decisions are easier to do than at more structured and formal meetings. Relationships built over rounds of golf often tend to sustain and grow over time as it is easier to talk and discuss matters in the informal – and ever-changing – environment of a golf round.

Golf also gives participants an opportunity to see others in testing situations. There is an old chestnut that says an individual’s character and mettle are best discovered on a golf course. Decision-making is a key part of the game, virtually on a shot-by-shot basis, and can be very revealing of a person’s personality. Thus, a game of golf for decision-makers can often become a testing ground in more ways than one.

And with the return of the Business Today Golf tournament, corporate India can be expected to return in good numbers, given the pandemic-created hiatus and its extended fallout. After all, the signs on the ground are strong and positive and business looks set to boom again.

Published on: Oct 11, 2022, 9:54 PM IST
Posted by: Vivek Dubey, Oct 11, 2022, 9:40 PM IST