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It’s often said that golf is “the game of business.” Men and women play the game for recreation, to talk money or do business. It’s that simple. Conversations on the green can net you green.

But you’ve got to be in it to win it and if you’re not learning how to play you just might be missing out on the deal of your life.

With the Black Enterprise Golf and Tennis Challenge going down next month in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., Aug. 28-31, now might be a good time to start working on your swing and polishing up your etiquette.

We asked Rodney Green, director of golf at the Innisbrook Resort and Tiffany Fitzgerald who founded Atlanta-based Black Girls Golf to give some tips on teeing up and the right ways to grow the game for those seriously thinking about cashing in on the business opportunities playing golf could open up for potential entrepreneurs.

They both agree that when it comes to making deals, for some, connecting on the links can be a hole in one.

“The boardrooms used to be indoors,” Green says. “They are now outside on the golf course. That’s where a lot of business is done. It’s a great opportunity to be able to network. I preach that to women in particular. They are missing out on these business and networking opportunities. You don’t have to be Tiger Woods. Just learn how to play the game and reap the benefits it offers.”

Fitzgerald says, “Golf allows you to do more than network. It allows you to connect. To create a genuine relationship. If you’re going to play 18 holes of golf, that’s about four plus hours of really intimate time with another person.”

But just walking out on the green as a newbie can be an intimidating experience. So what’s the right way to swallow the intimidation and bring out the swag and A-game?

“Like everything else it depends on how much time you put into it,” Green says. “It’s the same as learning how to play tennis or going to gym. If you go to the gym once a week or once a month, you’re most likely not going to get results. It’s a tough sport and very technical.”

Fitzgerald adds, “Golf is just intimidating in general. It’s been very slow to evolve in terms of diversity or new people coming into the game. There are more golf courses closing than opening. There are more men leaving the game than women joining the sport. It also has an image problem. People assume that it’s for rich white guys. That’s intimidation for black females. You’re not a man and you definitely not white. On a golf course there aren’t a lot of signs. Golf courses assume that everyone who shows up knows what to do, where to go and how to do it.”

So what do we need to know?

“The first thing you have to learn when you play golf is etiquette. What to do, what not to do, what to wear, what not to wear,” Green says. “The basic etiquette and rules of the game are very important. Especially if you’re going to go out and play with people who know the rules.”

Find out the basics of learning to tee off on the next page …

EntrepreneurshipEventsGolfGolf and tennis challengeGolf tipsInnisbrook resortRodney greenTiffany fitzgerald

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