Executives Say Golf is Vital to Business

New Starwood Hotels Study Says Camaraderie and Deal-Making Thrive On The Fairway—But So Does Cheating, Gambling and Little White Lies

If you`re climbing the corporate ladder, you may want to trade in your Blackberry for a Big Bertha. A new study by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:HOT) to support its new Starwood Golf Vacations program finds that virtually all executives believe that golf is an essential business tool and most say that behavior on the golf course is typically indicative of behavior in business—which might be a bit scary considering that the vast majority of execs also admit to cheating on the links.
Ninety-seven percent of executives surveyed in “From The Boardroom to the Back Nine: The Importance of Golf in Business”(1) say that golfing with a business associate is a good way to establish a close relationship; 92% say that it`s a good way to make new business contacts; and more than a third of the executives (43%) say some of their biggest deals have been done on the golf course. But wheeling and dealing on the fairway isn`t always virtuous—20% of executives say they would let a client beat them if they thought it would get them more business; 87% gamble while golfing and a walloping 82% of executives admit to cheating on the golf course.

Starwood Launches “Starwood Golf Vacations”

Conducted by Guideline Research & Consulting Inc., “From the Boardroom to the Back Nine” surveyed 401 business executives and CEOs with an average household income of $187,000. Starwood commissioned the survey as part of its research and development for Starwood Golf Vacations. Launching today, Starwood Golf Vacations provides golfers with a one-stop-shop golf vacation hotline to more than 80 of Starwood`s premier golf resorts around the world as well as access to USA PGA TOUR Tournament Player Club championship courses. Starwood`s Golf Vacations` Concierge will take care of hotel accommodations, airfare, car rental, guaranteed advance tee times and more, offering a passport to 4,536 holes of golf worldwide. Simply call 866/4-GOLF-SW or book online at www.starwood.com/golf.

Titans Tee Off for Business
— 97% of executives say that golfing with a business associate
is a good way to establish a close relationship.
— 92% say that golfing is a good way to make new business
— More than 50% of executives say that golf is the most valuable
activity to get to know business associates and clients well,
beating out a business lunch or dinner, an overnight business
trip, a night out drinking and a resort meeting.
— 45% believe that playing golf makes clients more likely to
give you business.
— 59% say the way a person plays golf is very similar to the way
he or she conducts their business affairs.
— How is the way in which a person plays golf similar to the way
they conduct business? 75% say that golf demonstrates one`s
level of competitiveness and motivation. 73% said golf gives you time to get to know the person`s true character. 67% said
a person who cheats at golf would probably cheat in business
and 57% said a hot head on the golf course is typically
someone who is also bad tempered in the office.
— 43% of executives surveyed say that if more women played golf, they`d succeed more in business.— 92% say that golf is a good way to relieve business stress.


Deal-Making Duffers
— 43% of execs say that some of their biggest business deals
have been done on the golf course.
— So when is the best time to bring up business while golfing?
More than 50% say the 19th hole is the right time to talk
business. 22% said the back nine was the best time to bring up
— Don`t skip the 19th hole when golfing with business
associates. 81.3% of executives said that the 19th hole was
very or somewhat important when doing business on the golf
— And, while business begins on the golf course, most deals are
closed a few days after a round of golf (81%).
Sex, Lies and Golf?
— Nearly 20% of executives say they would let a client beat them
at golf if they thought it would get business. Surprisingly,
CEOs/Presidents were more likely than any other execs to throw
a game for business.
— 10% of executives have called in sick to play golf. Surprisingly, almost twice as many women (19%) than men (10%)
admitted feigning illness to hit the links.
— 87% of executives bet money during a round of golf. Older
golfers (55+) and those in the highest income bracket were
especially prone to wagering on golf.— When asked the largest amount they have ever bet, the average
high bet was $589 but those with handicaps of 10 or less
averaged $1,344 and those with incomes over $250,000 averaged
big bets of $1,947 while CEOs/Presidents averaged out at
$1,010.— 47% of executives say they often find themselves daydreaming
about golf while at work.— 11% even say that golf is more important to them than sex.
Older executives and those with the highest incomes were more
likely than others to choose golf over sex.

Cheats in Cleats— 82% of executives admit to cheating on the golf course(interestingly, in a similar study done in 1993, only 55% of
execs admitted to cheating during golf). The top golfing sins
execs `fessed up to are: 1) improving your lie a little; 2)
allowing partners to cheat on their score; 3) not counting a
missed tap-in; 4) taking a mulligan without asking and 5) secretly moving the ball to get a better lie.— 86% of golfing execs admitted to cheating in business.
— 87% of executives said they have played with someone who
cheated on their golf score.— And, while most execs admit to cheating in golf themselves, it doesn`t mean they like it when other people do it. 82% say they hate people who cheat when they play golf.

A Gentleman`s Game?— 85% said they have been embarrassed by someone`s bad behavior on the course
— The worst behavior executives have witnessed on the golf
course are 1) vulgar and abusive language; 2) throwing or
breaking clubs; 3) throwing clubs into a lake or pond; and, 4)
excessive drinking.— 16% of men said they hate playing golf with women—this is
particularly true for men with the lowest handicaps (under 10).— 11% of executives would rather get a hole-in-one than see
their child get a game-winning home run.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with more than 740 properties in more than 80 countries and 110,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. With internationally renowned brands, Starwood is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchiser of hotels and resorts including: St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, Sheraton, Westin, Four Points by Sheraton, W brands, as well as Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts. For more information, please visit www.starwood.com.

1) This study conducted by Guideline Research and Consulting Inc.
of New York City is a nationwide survey of business and organization executives who play golf. The executives were
randomly selected from over 10,000 names, and organizations
operating in the continental United States, compiled by a
nationally known sampling company. In order for a respondent
to qualify for the study, they had to hold a senior position
(e.g. Vice President or higher) in their organization, or have a household income over $100,000 annually in a senior sales,
supervisory, or managerial position. Each respondent had to have played six or more rounds of eighteen holes of golf per
year. A total of 401 total interviews were completed. The survey took over 22 minutes to administer and complete, and has a margin of error on the totals of plus or minus four to six percentage points. The margin of error for subgroups is higher. Interviewing was conducted from April 1 to April 26th, 2002.

Consumers interested in obtaining a copy of the study may call 866/4-GOLF-SW.