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Thoughts on Public Relations, Communications, Social Media, Sports and anything else in my life…

How Golf Can Strengthen PR Skills

For almost a year now, I have been slowly learning the game of golf and developing my skills. It wasn’t until this past weekend during a round of 18 holes that I realized golf and public relations have a lot in common. Maybe not on the surface, but golf has reinforced many skills that I apply to public relations and communications.

First off, golf teaches you to be prepared. You cannot show up to the driving range or golf course without clubs, balls and tees and expect to perform. The same goes for communicating for your company. If you do not have the essential information to properly communicate your client/company’s message, how do you expect to succeed?

Golf also requires you to practice and hone your  skills. Tiger Woods, believe it or not, has to practice constantly to keep his skills at the top level of performance. The same goes for communicators. Every successful PR practitioner has spent countless hours, days, and years honing their skills and elevating themselves to the positions they rightfully fulfill. It doesn’t happen overnight nor does it come easy.

Often, most beginners in golf tend to bend the truth as they keep score during a round of golf. The hole may be a par 4 with a lake bordering the narrow fairway, and somehow the erratic beginner is able to shoot par–or even birdie! How? Well, you may not have seen them take their ball out of the water only to put themselves in great position without counting the extra stroke penalty. Sound familiar? Sometimes PR practitioners bend–spin–the truth, but golf teaches a person to be honest and remain accountable for anything that happens while you are on the course. Be honest and transparent as a communicator and you’ll be surprised at how well the public views your company/client.

Finally, golf teaches you to think strategically about your position on the course and how to best approach your goal. Professional golfers do not walk up to their ball with just any club in hand and whack the hell out of it hoping for great results. Instead, they consider their surroundings, their position, and tools to determine which will be most effective at reaching their target. The same goes for PR. You cannot simply approach a task and use just any tool to get your message out. Instead, you must analyze your position, strategize the best course of action, choose the appropriate tools and take the shot once you are confident in your plan.

The next time you are drawing a blank about how to approach a campaign or target a message, take an afternoon off and play a round of golf. Not only will it relax you–as most courses have amazing landscapes that’ll leave you breathless–but it’ll give you a chance to hone your PR skills, or just dust them off a bit.

Photo Credit: chispita_666

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2 Responses

  1. Hi Nate, so you’ve converted into a golf nut? I thought it would happen. Don’t forget about the navigation of between shot chatter. What seems like harmless banter often involves people sizing one another up, trying to figure out if they will be able to work together.

    The first time I ever golfed with one of my mentors in California, we went out on an impossibly windy Bay day with me using borrowed clubs built for someone 5’6″ and no golf shoes (it was a last minute thing). She learned quite a bit about my competitive nature, work ethic, and attitude after playing 18 through really rough conditions on a tough course. I learned just as much, if not more. We cemented a great relationship and continued golfing together for years.

    Have fun in Texas and learn to hit a little Tiger stinger — low draw — to keep it out of the wind.

    • nathanielfuller says:

      @Prof. Batchelor–Yea it didn’t take long for me to catch the golf bug. I really enjoy relaxing on the course and hitting a decent shot every now and then. Very true about the between shot banter. The few people I’ve played golf with have shown a totally different side of themselves than when we met off the course.

      I would have payed money to see you work through 18 holes with clubs for a person my size. I hope you iced your back afterward! I just arrived in Dallas today so I’ll soon be scoping the golf courses for a cheap-yet-challenging course to frequent. I’ll stay in touch.

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