Michigan State Students Learn Networking Through Golf

We’ve all heard the saying: It’s not what you know, but who you know.

Michigan State University understands this, so it’s trying to teach its students the art of networking. And those in the business world have long known that golf is among the best ways to connect with those in the same industry.

Thus, the “Using Golf in Business” class was born. It’s taught by LPGA certified teaching pro Jan Brintnall, who attended MSU and came up with the idea. The course includes a USGA rules exam, golf history, course design, playing instruction, etiquette on the golf course, and etiquette in the business world.

Then the students are tested during an actual golf outing. Brintnall recently mixed nearly 100 students and dozens of business professionals at the Emerald Golf Course 25 minutes north of the East Lansing campus. The business folks were responsible for evaluating the students’ networking skills, such as their behavior and engagement.

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“We seem to have found something that’s missing in business education, and it’s the inclusion of different venues where business has been conducted traditionally,” Brintnall told the Detroit Free Press. “Usually, it’s thought of taking place in a board room or in an office or across the table at lunch.

“Five uninterrupted hours on the course to build rapport and relationships can’t happen in a traditional business setting. Golf has been used for centuries to deepen relationships, and it’s a special game that reveals character.”

This isn’t the first class of its kind, but there should be more. A straight-A student can learn all there is to know from a business textbook, but if he/she can’t apply it when a potential customer wants to discuss details over 18 holes, then that student could soon be looking for a new industry.

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