Golf and Business: How Golf Impacts Business Relationships

28 May 2024

By Colleen Blackmore-Doucette, President, Steel Plus Network

Golf is often seen as an important tool for making business connections and Steel Plus Network endeavours to create those connections as often as possible. Our members, particularly in the Quebec region, are no strangers to our annual golf tournaments and see this as a time to exchange valuable information, build relationships and friendships. It doesn’t matter if it’s a golf tournament or simply hosting tee-times, getting out on the links is a great way to build up your business profile!

Golf courses provide a relaxed and informal setting, which can help break down traditional business barriers and create more personal connections between people. 

“Choosing a favourite golf course is tough, but for me, it’s my local municipal course. It’s there that I learned the game as a young person and it’s also where I have some great memories of my dad and uncles. It may not be Pebble Beach but it’s super special. The familiarity of the course, the nostalgic memories, and the personal connections make it my sanctuary. Every time I play there, I’m reminded of the joy and life lessons the game has given me.” Chris Wyatt, Sales & Marketing, Kubes Steel

A round of golf typically takes several hours, offering ample time for in-depth conversations and relationship-building. This extended period is conducive to getting to know someone beyond surface-level interactions and sharing a common interest in golf can help establish a rapport and mutual understanding. It creates a shared experience that can serve as a foundation for building trust and camaraderie. How a person conducts themselves on the golf course can reveal much about their character, temperament, and values, and in particular, observing how someone handles pressure, adheres to rules, and interacts with others can provide valuable insights. 

“One of my most memorable experiences was during a corporate golf event in Tennessee. It started off as a typical round, with the usual mix of business talk and casual conversation. However, the day took an unexpected turn when we found ourselves being chased off the green by water moccasin snakes! It was a heart-pounding and hilarious moment that none of us will ever forget. This shared adventure broke the ice in ways no meeting room ever could, creating bonds and stories that we still laugh about to this day. That day on the course transformed a routine business outing into a unique and unforgettable experience, cementing friendships and business connections alike.” – Chris Wyatt

Golf tournaments and events often attract business professionals from various industries, creating a rich networking environment. These events provide opportunities to meet potential clients, partners, and other key contacts. You don’t have to be a golf pro to participate. We encourage all of our members, beginners and seasoned players to come together. 

“Coming from Switzerland, golf is not something common and if you are willing to play golf, it is extremely expensive and usually a sport reserved for wealthy people. So for me, I don’t play golf, I never did or even tried and this prevents me from participating in many corporate events as I don’t know how to play. So maybe having a “newbie” group when companies organise golf tournaments could be an idea. Or maybe I am just a minor exception and everybody else knows how to play 😊.” – Yvan Page, National Account Sales Manager, Metal Division – Manufacturing, Wurth Canada Limited

Golf is often associated with professionalism, prestige, and success. Playing golf with business associates can enhance one’s reputation and create positive associations. The relaxed atmosphere of a golf course can be conducive to discussing business deals and negotiations.

“As busy as I would think most buyers are, I would prefer the vendors to come to our area to golf locally if at all possible. We are a larger fabricator so I may be spoiled a bit. This way you can connect much better because you are golfing with who your actual contacts are and not some random vendor you may not deal with as much.” – Terry Nest, Purchasing Manager – Operations, Merrill Steel

The informal setting can ease tensions and facilitate open dialogue, leading to more effective deal-making. Finally, the nature of golf requires both physical activity and strategic thinking, which can foster a sense of partnership and teamwork when playing with business associates.

Overall, golf provides a unique combination of social interaction, physical activity, and strategic engagement that can be highly effective for building and strengthening business relationships.

“I golf for the social aspect of the game. If it’s for work, there are business relationships being reinforced and strengthened over the course of some 4-5 hours that you can never achieve even in a face to face meeting. Although CRA takes a hard stand that golf fees are NOT deductible for tax purposes. If it is personal, it’s time to spend with family and friends that you seldom have time to spend with. You are captivated for the duration of the game. Time that my son and I can catch up on things. Never take the game too seriously but still try to win.” – Tom Skinner, VP Finance, RKO Steel Ltd.

With all of this being said, we are excited to bring golf back to Ontario! If you’re interested in joining us on the links at Lowville Golf Course in Burlington, Ontario on Tuesday, September 10th, give us a shout! Email us at

Finally, some tidbits of knowledge from our colleague at Kubes Steel, Chris Wyatt, about why golfing can be a good thing for business:

  • Networking Opportunities: The informal setting of a golf course makes it easier to approach and engage with people. Conversations flow naturally, leading to genuine connections.
  • Building Trust: Spending a few hours together on the course allows for more in-depth interactions, helping to build trust and rapport that might be harder to achieve in a traditional business meeting. 
  • Showcasing Character: Golf is a game of honesty, patience, and etiquette. How someone conducts themselves on the course can reveal a lot about their character, making it a great setting to evaluate potential business partners.

Thank you to our contributors to this article:

  • Chris Wyatt, Sales & Marketing, Kubes Steel
  • Yvan Page, National Account Sales Manager, Metal Division – Manufacturing, Wurth Canada Limited
  • Tom Skinner, VP Finance, RKO Steel Ltd.
  • Terry Nest, Purchasing Manager – Operations, Merrill Steel