When we sign endorsement contracts with sponsors, we usually agree to a variety of terms, including:
- logo on our bag or clothing
- Visits to any hospitality tents they may host at tournaments
- Signed merchandise
- Social media posts
- And a few service days throughout the year
For an apparel company like Under Armour, a service day usually revolves around product discussion/testing and photo shoots. For a golf equipment company like Callaway, usually more along the lines of interviews, videos with other Callaway staffers, and instructional tips along with the photo shoots. Other sponsors may ask for me to play in a pro-am they sponsor, or even attend corporate events like the Cisco Chairman’s Club (which is a great time, btw). But 4 outings I do for KPMG every year are some of the most fun and interesting golf days I can do.
They take place in major cities across the country, and are planned around a major KPMG office in the area. KPMG rents a golf course for a day (usually a Monday), and invites 30+ customers to join the 10 or so local VPs for a day of golf and networking.
My day starts by showing up 30+ minutes early (it’s principle), grabbing a seat at the table and signing KPMG flags, hats and the 60ish photos from the previous event (KPMG takes care of their customers and sends out nice gift packages).
I then eat my bacon and eggs and start on my first tea with honey of the day. This is a recent development, as I far exceed my average daily spoken word count at these outings and my vocal cords are not accustomed to this much use… I also get to spend breakfast with the local managing partners and learn more about their business and the type of customers they are serving. We also talk more than a little golf.
We also use this time to film any videos (we do lots of instructional ones) until all the clients and partners have arrived. Then we move to the driving range where I put on a clinic for everyone. I’ve definitely gotten better at this part of the day, and work through my bag hitting shots and giving an overload of tips for all parts of the game. I usually spend time thinking about what I could say that would benefit both a scratch player and a beginner, and usually settle on backswing width, tempo, and preshot routine. I get a lot of questions about how I work with my caddy, what a practice day looks like at home, and how to hit flop shots.
Once we finish up and I have sufficiently confused and overloaded everyone with information, we all break off and head to a shotgun start (usually 8 groups). KPMG has me stationed on two holes, usually a par 3 and a par 4, that I will play 8 times with each group that comes through. A camera crew mics me up, and each 4some that comes through is greeted by two holes of having every golf shot filmed. We play a scramble format, and by the time we reach the last few groups, I am well familiar with how the putts break around the hole and have my club selection dialed in for each hole. They also strategically place the hole locations on the left side of the green so that the camera crew behind the green has a better view of the action! No detail is missed…
KPMG also sends me a bio sheet of each client that will be attending the day so I can familiarize myself with where they work and even how KPMG can help them improve their business. This client sheet then turns into thumb-sized cheat sheets that I review between groups so that I can remember names and who works where. It would be nice to have a photographic memory, but when you don’t, you resort to good note-taking!
After 16 holes of networking, connecting, and my own personal quest of trying to make 16/16 scramble birdies (my best is 14), I head back to the clubhouse for a quick bite until all the groups have finished. We then do a Q&A and pictures followed by some more mingling until I head off to the airport.
The coolest part about these outings is that it really revealed to me how much of doing business is about building relationships. It is fun to facilitate connections between the firm and the clients, just as the game of golf does for so many other people, and see how one day of golf can turn an email correspondence into a real business and personal relationship. These days are definitely long, tiring, and usually involve cross-country travel, but are very fun and rewarding. I’ve always said golf and business are a great combination, no matter how much of each you’re doing–and this is no exception!
I am in Fort Worth, TX this week. Please visit the BirdiesForEducation.com website and check your Birdies account. We refreshed the website a short while ago and we are interested in your thoughts and feedback..
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