Relationships are key to success in business, and one place they are built is on the golf course, according to Deborah M. Gray, a College of Business Administration professor at Central Michigan University.
Gray will teach CMU students to drive their career success through a Scotland-based study abroad course — that's college course, not golf course — in May 2018.
"A large portion of the business population golfs," Gray said. "Early in your career, if you're a golfer, you're included in that group of people. If you're not a golfer, oftentimes you're left behind."
Gray, who wrote a chapter in "Selling on the Green: The Art of Building Trusted Relationships and Growing Your Business on the Golf Course," will lead the two-week course along with CMU Women's Golf Head Coach Cheryl Stacy and Women's Basketball Head Coach Sue Guevara.
“Golf is the international language of business. Ninety percent of CEOs are golfers, and those who golf make an average of 17 percent more than those who do not.” — Deborah M. Gray, College of Business Administration professor
Students will take a swing at growing their business acumen across eight golf courses in Scotland, the ancestral home of golf.
"Golf is the international language of business," she said. "Ninety percent of CEOs are golfers, and those who golf make an average of 17 percent more than those who do not."
She said golfing can be an advantage for women.
"You're at a much more competitive place if you can golf and you're a woman," Gray said. "There are fewer women golfers than men. There are a lot of men in sales. If you golf as a woman, you can get ahead of the competition in terms of building relationships."
Gray said that most courses in golf teach students how to play or about the golf industry, but she knows of no others that teach students how to conduct business through golfing.
To build relationships on a golf course, Gray suggests asking questions, following the rules of golf to build trust and waiting until the "19th hole" to conduct business.