Joanne and I are addicted to the House of Cards series. Ethics or lack of ethics is the main driver of this highly acclaimed Netflix political thriller. There is a sort of guilty pleasure watching senator and powerbroker, Frank Underwood (played devilishly well by Kevin Spacey), uses any dirty trick in the book to further his political ambitions.
After watching Frank’s two–faced Machiavellian dealings in the halls of Washington, I’ve often wondered how Frank would play golf. Maybe Underwood’s devious character traits would have been revealed if the voters and other politicians had a chance to play a round of golf with him.
Mark McCormack, a great sports agent and writer wrote in his book What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School, “I can tell more about how someone is likely to react in a business situation from one round of golf than I can from a hundred hours of meetings.”
Golf is a great business/networking tool that can enhance your business and career if your style and substance are positive. The game gives us a rare opportunity to observe and make valid judgments about someone’s character based on their demeanor on the greens. It can also reveal less than ideal traits.
Frank Underwood is tough and he certainly uses colorful language (warning – Netflix has a lot more censorship leeway than standard TV). I’m sure he wouldn’t be able to avoid using bad language on the fairway.
I was once golfing with someone who turned out to be like Frank. He was having a dismal round which he punctuated with #*@#% language. After missing his forth putt on a green, in a rage he attempted to drive his ball out into the water hazard with his putter.
Instead he excavated a huge divot into the green. More expletives. When he calmed down, he apologized. But the damage was already done, to his reputation and the green.
What about fudging a score? I’m pretty sure Frank Underwood would practice some creative score accounting. Doesn’t it amaze you when people do this? Most golf partners know when a gimme isn’t a gimme, when strokes are shaved and rules are bent to suit. This sort of pursuit lowers a lot more than just someone’s score.
The scary thing is if Frank Underwood saw someone do these things, he would turn to the camera (a neat House of Cards device) and tell us how low class it is and that he despises the culprit. People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw golf balls.
Remember golf is not just “the best way to spoil a good walk”, it can also be the best way to spoil a good reputation. Mind your P’s and Q’s on the course and everywhere, your brand is showing. A great professional presence and brand comes across when you act ethically consistently, especially on the fairway.