Avid golfer Jagdish Belwal helps us find out why so many CXOs like to play golf and why you should too.
Sometime in the last few years, golf has become a sport closely associated with CXOs. It is a sport (unlike football or tennis) that starts as a passion and transforms into a great learning exercise and networking tool. It gives you a chance to interact with corporate partners and business peers outside the confines of your office and build on those relationships. Not convinced? Here are some more reasons to head to your nearest golf course.
You can play golf at any age
“I picked up golf at a very late age, when I was 40,” says Jagdish Belwal, CIO, Tata Motors, and an avid golfer. “It wasn’t easy going through the learning stages, but I thoroughly enjoy it. Golf is one game where you only play against yourself and the golf course. Looking back, I’m happy to have picked up a great game that requires hard work, passion and commitment.” Unlike football or squash that require high fitness levels and team participation, golf isn’t very strenuous and can be played alone. All you need is the determination and willingness to learn something new. Don’t be disheartened if you’re not able to ace the game in your first 10 tries. There is a steep learning curve and the whole idea is to challenge yourself by learning something new.
Golf is a good test of character
The way you play golf speaks volumes about the kind of person you are. Do you never lose your temper, remain calm under pressure and think strategically? These are virtues in golf and in business. And those who play with you will notice these. Throwing a golf club in anger or moving your ball to a nicer base when you think no one is looking will make people judge you. If you think its permissable behaviour on the golf course, you probably think its permissable at work too. “Golf is not an easy game—it requires technique, concentration and mind management,” adds Jagdish. “There’s a saying: life is like golf. A good shot can get you into a bad lie (ball position for the next shot). And a bad shot can get you into a good lie. But you have to play as the ball lies.”
Handicap system evens the playing field
“The handicap system makes it easier for people of widely differing abilities to compete against each other,” says Jagdish. The handicap is a rating system that makes it possible for golfers to compete against each other without too much stress being put on their playing abilities. This reasures amateurs and makes the game a lot more fun. “Only professionals make par for the course,” explains Jagdish. “All the rest have a handicap, so your ability, your game is compared against this, and not against the course par. It’s a good system to compare your abilities against another player’s, and encourages you to continuously strive to improve your handicap.”
Jagdish Belwal is CIO, Tata Motors.