My Boss Loves Golf. I Don't. How Do I Overcome This Handicap?
A guide to feigning expertise where there isn't any—on the links.
My boss loves golf, surrounds himself with golfers, and promotes people who play. I couldn't care less about the sport. Is there a way to overcome this handicap? —Steve M., Raleigh, N.C.
Yes, there is! If you learn to talk intelligently about golf and appear interested, you'll derive 90 percent of the career benefit without ever swinging a club. If you're any type of businessman, you already possess the skills to do this: You're adept at BS'ing on a topic you know very little about, and you can feign interest in matters in which you have none.
So begin by doing a little homework.
Catch some golf on TV to pick up a bit of the terminology and learn the players (note: true golf aficionados only use first names, nicknames, or abbreviations, as if they're good friends, so be prepped to casually drop "Rickie," "DJ," "JT," "Bubba," "Tiger," "Phil," and "Rory").
If you're really dedicated, you can head over to Amazon to pick up a copy of A Good Walk Spoiled: Days and Nights on the PGA Tour, by John Feinstein. The book is funny and a great read, and I guarantee that you'll know and care more about the game after you've finished it. You might even tell the boss you read it and thought it was good. He'll either agree with you or go look it up.
Golf books are like crack cocaine to the big-swinging drivers out there. And in the unlikely event that he invites you to join his foursome, just remember the phrase "rotator-cuff injury."