Thanks to a friend of mine whose company (Language Training Center) teaches LPGA golfers language and culture skills, I recently played in an LPGA Pro-Am. Here’s the deal—four amateurs play with one of the professionals in a scramble format. You can guess which of the five consistently hit the pure shot.
This Pro-Am occurs one day before the tournament starts, one day before the ladies spend four days of intense competition. So why do they engage in these events? Surely watching us amateurs has to create some negative swing thoughts for the pros. Surely they have better things to do than chase us around the course.
They do it because they are connecting with their customers. What drives the purses for the LPGA? The fans, viewers, customers for advertisers and sponsors. Connecting with customers, even 4 at a time, is a great way to develop relationships that pay off.
I played with a professional name In-Kyung Kim. She goes by I.K., at least here in the USA. Before the Pro-Am, I knew nothing about I.K. even though she is currently ranked 6th in the world! Now, after spending 5 hours walking 18 holes with her I am a huge fan. I will be following her in every tournament. If I.K. is on the leaderboard, I will be watching the tournament. The LPGA just increased their viewership. I.K. just increased her fan base (Her golf swing is beautifully smooth, accurate and consistent, her personality is warm, friendly and unassuming and she was patient with our hooks, slices, dribbles and shanks. In short, she is a winner.)
Connecting with customers pays off and professional golf has figured that out. Our customers need to see our personalities. They need to see us at work. We need to connect with them in a way that makes them fans.
Time to go…I need to tune into the LPGA and see how I.K. is scoring.