The Most Important Meeting of the Week
Finding time for golf on Fridays has reshaped work and life for the better.
Cutting out of work for golf has always been one of life’s great temptations. Every golfer I know perks up when an opportunity arises to punch the clock and head to the tee. As fun as it is to trade typing emails for walking fairways, unfortunately not every professional environment is conducive to such early office departures. However, I like to think that a standing tee time after lunch on Friday is one of the best things to ever happen to my productivity.
Maybe it’s the millennial in me, but I can’t help but think every office should close at noon come Friday. We all become clock watchers when the weekend is only a few short hand rotations away so why not carve some personal time in then. I firmly believe there is no easier way to boost moral and supercharge employee loyalty than to give folks their time back at the end of the week. In many cases, the COVID19 pandemic proved that true.
In 2020, when the stay at home orders sent everyone home from my former workplace, we all gained a new appreciation for our time. It was a trend experienced by workers around the globe. Working remotely didn’t click for everyone and there was indeed some magic lost by not having folks in the office, but it didn’t take long for folks to realize that gaining some hours back for your life is a good thing. It’s important not to abuse that kind of freedom, yet during those months I couldn’t help but rethink how my work week was structured.
While I only took a few business management classes in college, my professional experience has led me to the realization that the best way to inspire an employee is to understand their motivation. As a golf obsessed husband and father, there is no greater way to stimulate my work performance than to dangle some guilt free hours on the course in front of my face. I’ll chase that carrot all damn day.
That’s why when our club started a Friday fourball during the pandemic golf boom, I suddenly had a reason to have my desk cleared by noon on the last day of the week. This new outing was something that had long been kicked around the grill room, but it wasn’t until everyone’s office closed that we pounced on the idea. The game is simple, two-person teams playing a net best-ball format. Low team score takes the cash pot. We play fast, have fun, and everyone is done in time for dinner with family to start the weekend.
With so many of our young members seeing the Friday time slot as preferable to skipping out on family time each weekend, it only took a few weeks for that game’s popularity to explode. On many Fridays in 2020, we would see as many as twenty teams signed up to play. It became a can’t miss event each week. Over a year later, much of the working world has returned to regular hours, but there is no doubt most employees have gained more flexibility in their schedule. Thanks to that reality, our Friday game carries on and is now one of the best recurring outings on our golf club calendar.
The Friday game has become an important part of my schedule for a number of reasons. To start, it has completely replaced playing on Saturdays for me. My growing family has become the top priority for my time on the weekends so having a standing game on Friday allows me a window to continue playing in a competitive environment without infringing on that. When I started my own businesses as a self employed consultant, keeping the Friday tee time also became a huge motivation for me to pump out my work at a high level all week. By eliminating the conflict of asking my wife for golf on the weekends and creating a sense of urgency for my work flow, the Friday game has turned into an incredible win/win for me.
There are certainly some challenges with playing golf while most of the world is working, but with modern technology it’s not that hard to answer an email or take a call during the round when necessary. Playing a fourball also means you can throw it to your partner if you get in a work jam. Even with those occasional conflicts, I’ve been impressed by how many of our guys have found a way to get their weekly work done in time for Friday golf.
For some of the self employed lads like me, it’s easy to build the game into their schedule. Others have to do a bit more maneuvering with the higher ups at their place of employment. However we come to the tee Friday, there is one thing that everyone seems to have in common — a really big smile.
The world has probably never been more conducive to finding a work/life balance than it is right now. I like to think the pandemic was an aggressive accelerant for many underlying trends in society and none have been better for my personal and professional happiness than getting more time to do what I love. When I get to my office on Monday morning and plan my week it starts with blocking out Friday afternoon for golf. Working backwards from that tee time, I can reverse engineer my schedule so that everything I need to get done has a bow on it before it’s my turn to strike the first shot.
Since we started the Friday fourball, I’ve never been more productive and my home life is as good as ever. That time for golf helps me be better a better businessman and much improved family guy. There are plenty of days where the stresses of my life and self-employment rattles me, but having that weekly outing keeps me focused on why I do what I do. A little freedom can have that affect on you. Some weeks it doesn’t work out for me to play, but most Fridays you can bet I’m going to be there.
I can’t help but think what more Friday golf rounds would do to boost the moral, motivation, and performance of the working golfers around the globe. Most of us aren’t looking to split for the course in the middle of the week, but Friday afternoons are a different story.
I can attest to the personal happiness and career benefits of playing golf to close out the work week. Based on our tee sheet each Friday I know I’m not alone. There is nothing wrong with making time for yourself while balancing client needs, customer calls, and office expectations. The pandemic has shown the world that productivity looks different for everyone and I am happy to see that benefiting golfers like me who otherwise have a hard time finding a game.
There are many reasons for going to work each day. Having a purpose driven career is important to me. That’s why I love the professional path I’m on. As my wife and I are growing our family, it’s also pivotal that I make time when not at work to be with those I love most. By carving out a window for golf on Friday, I’m able to do all of that much more and far better. That makes for one hell of a tasty carrot.
Thanks as always for reading Mid-Am Crisis. If you enjoy these musings be sure to subscribe to the Mid-Am Crisis podcast as well! It’s available on all your favorite listening channels.
Last week, I had the chance to catch up with my friend Ru Macdonald who is part of the European Tour’s social media team. He is one of the world’s top experts in Scottish golf travel as well. You can listen to that discussion below.
Stay tuned for more musings next week. Until then, please feel free to share Mid-Am Crisis with your friends and golf pals.