Hitting the Grass Ceiling

For all women who still feel naked on the first tee…this article is for you.

Remember the first time you had to get up in front of an audience and make a presentation or a speech? I do….my knees were shaking and there was a huge frog in my throat. That was many years ago and I still see the same reaction in young people (men and women) entering business. Some things never change.

Sure…they tell you to imagine the audience naked…HA! That’s just silly. What you need to do is “embrace the moment” and know that you’ve been given a great opportunity to shine. Being prepared is absolutely necessary – never assume you’ll just “wing it” or you will fly flat on your face.

You need to practice in front of a mirror, in the car as you drive to work and don’t be afraid to ask your buddy to help you with a dry run. And then…go knock their socks off! I’ve been in business for over 25 years and have made more presentations than I can count – from small meetings of peers, to board meeting, to investor meetings and to large conferences with thousands of people in the audience. I even dressed up a Marilyn Monroe to do a training session for hundreds of channel partners (but that’s another story :)).

So why am I telling you all this? Because in my world of high tech, it is still a “man’s world” just like in golf. And when you stand up on that first tee with men, just like you step up to the mike at a conference…. you better come prepared.

First…take lessons (NOT from your boyfriend or spouse). Next…learn the rules of golf – ask your pro to teach them to you, including the etiquette. Then…practice, practice, practice.

Play with other women, either formally through a networking group (like Chix with Stix) or with friends. I recommend 9 and dine…18 holes can be long when you are learning. Evenings after work with the girls is fun and you learn a lot from each other.

Be very very aware of your pace of play – no one likes to play with a slow poke and unfortunately, women get a reputation (wrongly I might add) for being slow. If you lose a ball….look for a minute or two, but it’s better to abandon it to keep the pace going. Don’t be afraid to pick up your ball either if you are fallling behind. Remember, you are learning and practicing and the score doesn’t matter. What I liked to do when I was learning was to count my good balls – I never kept real score until after my 2nd year.

When you golf at a business tournament, don’t keep apologizing. And when a man makes a shot he’s not happy with, never say…”Well at least it was straight (or long or whatever)”. Just be quiet. Never give another player advice unless they ask for it (Men….you could learn this lesson!!!).

Oh…there are so many things that are the same in business and in golf. Scot Duke has some good pragmatic advice on the subject in his book How to Play Business Golf.

For women, the thing you must always remember is that “you belong” – on the golf course and in business. Skill and talent should dictate your acceptance into both worlds. I know it’s not easy and we all feel the Glass and Grass Ceiling at some point in both worlds, but don’t give up. And remember…All chix all the time!


TEE time: Women must embrace golf if they don’t want to miss out on the decision making

Ottawa Citizen
11 Aug 2007

Women in business who hesitate to play golf sometimes do so to their professional detriment. It’s one of the reasons why Links for Women golf school rolled out in Toronto in 2000. Its oneday clinics are aimed at women who want to get over their golf… read more…

Tech Tags: Ottawa Citizen newspaper Style Weekly
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  1. GolfGal,
    As usual, well said and well done. Thanks for your support.

    I suggest that women join the Executive Women’s Golf Associations. (EWGA) if there is one their area. I am a supporter of the EWGA’s efforts as I am a supporter of all women who are wanting to get started in learning to play golf.

    It does make a difference and it does breakdown walls that could be in the way to getting the C Suites…

    My advice to anyone who is getting started is to Take It Slow and learn the correct way to play…that is very important and will payoff years from now.

    Let me know how I can help.

    Scot Duke

  2. Bravo! Great great post.

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