The golf course provides immense networking opportunities and a platform for furthering careers.
--BY ASHIM NEUPANE
Rabindra Man Shrestha joined the Royal Nepal Golf Course (RNGC) in 1994 when he was the sales and marketing director of Gorkha Brewery. His sole intention behind taking up the sport was to promote the beer brands of his company – Tuborg and Carlsberg – as he knew playing golf would be a great marketing tool as top professionals play golf at RNGC. He shares, “I was quite successful in achieving what I set out to do. In two years I changed their preferences, and they started to prefer Tuborg and Carlsberg.”
Golf is a great tool for building social and business networks for professionals the world over. As the game allows interaction with other golfers for a long period, it is a great sport for networking. The game is popular among professionals, particularly those belonging to the business community.
Shrestha further says playing golf is an ideal networking tool as you meet many professionals on the field, and it provides an opportunity to advance your career. Not only was he able to promote the beer brands, he also met Suhrid Ghimire, chairman at Continental Trading on the golf course. Through his networking with Ghimire, he moved from being CEO of Mayos Noodles to managing director of Continental Trading, the authorised distributor of Kia Motors in Nepal. The golf course had more to offer Shrestha. In 2008, he sold a few SUVs through his golfing network, and the customers were professionals from Raj Overseas and Yeti Airlines.
Shrestha, who is the president of Akkhannda Business Venture regularly plays golf in his free time as the Royal Nepal Golf Club is near his home. Despite his busy schedule, he plays nine holes twice on weekdays and 18 holes once on the weekend.
Meanwhile, Deepak Acharya, senior golf director at Gokarna Golf Course, says golf is an amazing sport for the business community to build social and business networks. He shares most of the members are from the business circles; they are leaders of top business houses, banks and multinationals.
Apart from the business community, numerous retired army officials and diplomats also visit Gokarna Golf Course. “Golf creates a great opportunity for networking. While you play the 18-hole course, you walk at least 10 kilometres in beautiful, serene and lush green surroundings, this opportunity is unlikely to present itself in other sports. The golfers get ample opportunity to have conversations with fellow golfers between the shots, which makes the game a solid networking tool,” Acharya shares.
This fact is not lost on corporate houses; they routinely organise golf tournaments to promote their products and services. Shrestha says corporate come out with some attractive offers such as a ‘hole in one’ prize. Shrestha is also the former CEO of Dish Media Network Ltd.
When asked if golf is an ideal networking tool for high-ranking professionals, Shrestha, who is also the president of the Professional Golfers Association, says it is one of the best networking mediums. “And if the target consumers are from the higher middle-class community, the golf course can be a perfect place,” Shrestha shares.
Around 20 corporate golf tournaments are organised at Gokarna Golf Club annually. Acharya thinks corporates should encourage their top management to learn golf and be a member of a golf club; this will help grow the company.
“Despite having a hectic schedule, corporate tycoons and business personnel still make time for a round of 18-hole golf,” Acharya shares. It takes a minimum of four to five hours to complete a round.
Being a relatively expensive sport, players know they will meet the right people to build up their contacts. Further, a lot of socialising happens after the game at the clubhouse between golfers.