Why Do Businessmen Play Golf?

Business men love to play golf.  It’s true.  But how did that come to be?  I did some research to find out and found some interesting information on Slate.com.

The general consensus is that golf was invented in Scotland during the Middle Ages, and it was played by royals and farmers alike.  The game’s rules varied according to who played it, but for the peasants, it was definitely a rowdier past time that usually included drinking.  The formal rules of golf that we know today were not established until the first golf club was established in 1744.

In the mid-1800’s, golf clubs started multiplying and becoming more popular for the upper class.  Businessmen jumped at the chance to leave their cities and socialize with other members of their social class. Course etiquette, dress codes, and expensive fees further gentrified golf for the elites, gaining it a reputation as a gentleman’s sport.

Golf caught on in the United States in the late 19th century.  Businessmen sought escape from their stressful lives in the cities where they had to spend time with lower class people.  In addition, golf had some perks that other sports did not.

First, golf’s rules are more flexible than other popular sports like hunting and cricket.  “Handicaps” in the game adjust the player’s score according to his ability, so the one hosting the game can change the rules for any man in his party with less ability than his counterparts.  That was seen as quite gentlemanly.

Second, golf allowed businessmen to have more casual conversations.  Because golf is less physically demanding than sports like polo, the players are more able to speak freely and discuss business.  Business deals can happen more easily when the players are standing still than when the players are on the backs of running horses.

Golf caught on for these reasons and has remained popular in business circles ever since.

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