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Posted: August 06, 2010

Golf means business

Men aren't the only ones closing deals on the course

Randi Abels

Former Key Bank President Debbie Jessup remembers early in her career being left in the office with the women on a Friday afternoon because the men were out doing business on the golf course. She recognized the bond the men had when they returned and wanted to be a part of the sport.

So she learned the game of golf, and has been using it as a business tool ever since. The Colorado Women's Chamber of Commerce had the same idea and created the Women and Business Golf Series.

This four-session series on Thursday nights, which ended this week, had 10 participants this summer. The women learned how to improve their golf swing from teacher Lana Ortega, as well as hearing from business women such as Jessup who speak on the importance of golf in business.

"There are more and more women in executive positions, and golf is a great way to build relationships outside of the office," Jessup said. "I've heard playing 18 holes with someone tells you more about their character than knowing them for 18 years."

Coming up next Thursday is the chamber's Fifth Annual Golf Tournament, offering women - and men - the chance to play a round and maybe do some networking.

Statistics show that you are more likely to close a business deal after you have been introduced to that person through golf, Jessup said. And because women are taking over the work force, it is important for them to have the tools to successfully execute their company's plans.

Lana Ortega, owner of Lana Ortega Golf, ran the clinic series with the CWCC in order to help women feel more comfortable on a golf course.

"Women in golf is one of the fastest growing segments of the gold industry. But women seem intimidated because their skills aren't as good," she said. Ortega is helping to improve the skill of the women in the series, and speakers are there to improve the women's confidence on the course.

Carla Stewart, a CWCC board chair and participant in the golf series, says she was constantly worrying about her golf ability when she was asked to play with potential clients. She helped to organize this program, and has seen great success so far.

"Golf is a relationship builder. How a person plays golf is very telling of how that person conducts business," Stewart said.

The chamber is hoping this program will give women the tools they need to be successful, as well as provide a safe environment to perfect their skills before they head out to the golf course.

"The Colorado Women's Chamber of Commerce want women to help each other be successful, and this program is doing just that. Lana has been a great golf teacher, and the speakers so far have been great," Stewart said.

The chamber and the women involved hope to offer the program again, based on the interest level they see after the completion of the first series.

"I highly recommend the program," Jessup said. "When you love the game and you are doing it through your business, there couldn't be a better way to spend an afternoon."

IF YOU GO:

WHAT: 5th Annual Colorado Women's Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament
WHEN: Thursday, Aug. 12. Registration begins at 7 a.m. (breakfast provided). Shotgun at 8 a.m. Clinic begins at 10 a.m. Lunch starts at 1 p.m.
WHERE: Green Valley Ranch Golf Course, 4900 Himalaya Road, Denver,
MORE INFO: www.cwcc.org , info@cwcc.org, 303-458-0220
Proceeds go to leadership development, professional training and the advancement of young professionals in the chamber.

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Randi Abels is a ColoradoBiz intern.

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