Cade McNown wrote:
I was an All-American golfer in college.
If you have never played golf before, please do yourself a favor and do not participate in this event
. Your inexperience will show, and it will be embarrassing to you and the attorneys/partners in your firm. As soon as you say "spikey shoes" instead of spikes and "little peggy things" instead of tees, you will have tipped everyone off that you have no clue where you are or what you're doing. This, of course, reflects poorly on you. Golf involves a slew of physical and social abilities that take years to develop and that you will be completely unconscious of. As someone who has played golf for 17 years, I can't tell you how frustrating it is to have unlearned beginners tag along. Despite good intentions, you will get in the way. Golf rounds usually consume 4 1/2 hours (closer to 5 1/2 playing with obnoxious peacocking lawyers probably), and to a seasoned golfer you will probably make a rookie mistake every 1-2 minutes. Yes the golf outing will be about networking and 'fun', but there is an underlying assumption that you're overlooking. That assumption is that you actually play golf
The barrier of entry to golf is high, higher than every other sport, and I'm the first to admit this is unfair. One big caveat
you can take solace in is that, even if they've played golf before, many of the attorneys in your firm will be equally clueless on a golf course as you. They will be loud, their cell phones will ring, they will interfere with other golfers at the course not a part of your outing, they will be hackers (hacker = terribly unskilled golfers that may not belong on a golf course), and they will break the 34 rules of golf, and they will neglect hundreds of rules of etiquette without the slightest clue. Main Point: Let others make these mistakes, do not make them yourself.
Presumably this is not just a golf outing. For one, golf is typically not a women's sport (unless your firm is largely South Korean), and so there's probably some alternate activity you can choose besides golf (spa day maybe...
). If this is the case, kindly explain that you have never set foot on a golf course, and while you'd like to join it's better for everyone if you choose the alternate activity. This will show tact on your part, and the real golfers of the bunch (i.e. the Partners who have played golf forever) will notice and appreciate you for this.
Conversely, if there is no alternate activity, go to the golf course but do not play. Rent a golf cart and caddie for someone who is playing. This will give you an opportunity to learn a bit about golf through observation and question/answer. Furthermore you can enjoy the 'walk/ride in a park' and schmooze with the attorneys in your foursome. If you go this route, you will still inevitably violate some rules of etiquette, but not nearly as many as you would if you play. Also, if you decide to go to the course, please PM me and I will be happy to give you a rough template to follow for the day (what to wear, when to show up, what to do before the round starts, how to act on the course, the biggest rules to be aware of, what questions to ask...etc.)
I hope this hasn't been too negative, but I think the advice others have given you here is very poor. The golf course is a unique place that requires special attention. If it were just a walk in the park, you would go to a park. If it were really just for fun, you would do something more fun (golf is too frustrating to be truly fun, even for those who love challenges). Golf, even in a corporate setting, is highly complex, and as you approach it you must apprehend this fact. Best of luck.