Econ majors hope investment in golf will bring future gains

By Jamie Macpherson

Who says that playing sports is a waste of time in the real world? These past few weeks, members of Mac’s golf team have been hosting a clinic for Econ majors, so that they’ll be prepared for how to maneuver on the golf course in a business setting. “A lot of people golf,” Martha Nause, Head Coach of Macalester’s golf team said. “You may not talk business [on the golf course], but it’s a way for people to get a read on what others act like.”

Golfer Jonathan Khil ’11 is the originator of the clinic. “[When] I came to Mac, I sat in on a forum where students gave us advice. They said the ability to network is crucial. It dawned on me that [knowing how to] golf is advantageous.” Khil said he got the idea because he knew of other schools offering lessons to their Econ students. “At Mac, there’s a big sense of community. This is one thing I could offer to the school.”

And others are very grateful. “As an Econ major, [understanding golf] is important,” Viet Hoang ’08 said. “It’s one of the keys to the business world.” Hoang also found the clinic useful because it was a way to learn how to golf for free. “Learning golf is an expensive sport,” he said. “It’s not very accessible for an undergrad student.”

The majority of the lessons were focused on the etiquette of the game. While the Econ majors were taught the basics of how to play, learning how to behave oneself was more important.

“You cannot learn golf in three lessons,” Hoang said. “This course is [to help you] to impress people with style and behavior.” The Econ students learned things like how to be supportive in a competitive environment, and how not to be in the way of other golfers.

“[You don’t] have to be a good golfer to play,” Nause pointed out. “But you should know your way around a golf course.” Nause said her goal was to give the econ majors some idea of how to go about playing, for when they’re asked later in their lives. “One of the worst things in the golf world is to have someone on the course who’s clueless,” she said.

Econ major Disa Sheqem ’08 had an additional challenge during the clinic: along with not knowing anything about golf, she was the only female student who attended.

Nause was glad to see Sheqem there. “[Golf] is where women miss out,” she said. Nause explained how most businesses have a golf outing at some point, and if a woman doesn’t know how to golf, she probably won’t come along. “I was hoping more women would come out,” she said. “Because they [should learn].”

Sheqem said she wasn’t aware of any alienation. Being in the Econ department, she’s used to being surrounded by men. “[Nause] said it’s an edge for me,” Sheqem said. “Because [I’ll] be one of the few women to play golf. I was happy to hear that.”

Khil hopes that this becomes an annual event. “Years from now this could be part of the curriculum,” he said. “It’s a way for the golf team to give back to the school. I would love to continue it. it’s something that can definitely grow.