WATERVILLE, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- In college, the course load can pile up quickly, so in the interest of saving time and taking only necessary courses, you'd think a simple golf lesson might seem foolish.
Not if you're a business major.
Thomas College offers its business and finance students golf lessons in their final years. The idea being: not all business happens in a board room.
“I think the context of business has changed because there are so many people nowadays that are plugged in all the time; it’s hard to find recreational time,” said Mike Duguay, the Executive Director of the Harold Alfond Institute for Business Innovation. “So the idea is, if you blend business with recreation and social time, that’s the best of all worlds.”
A few years ago, Thomas College President Laurie Lachance added an optional course to the curriculum for business students: golf.
“Quite frankly, most business gets done outside the board room,” said Duguay. “It’s about relationships, and you need to be exposed to all the different channels of where business is being conducted. I feel for the people who don’t play golf or another sport, they get left out business is being conducted that they’re not, and that something that they’re going to miss out on.”
During their lessons, students are not only improving their swing, they're learning how to network.
“I knew from the moment I started at Thomas that was something I wanted to take advantage of when I became a senior because I knew as a business professional, someone who is going to spend a lot of time talking with people and meeting new people, I needed to know the appropriate skills to have those conversations on the golf course.” Reilly Kons graduated from Thomas College a year ago. He's since been working for a local insurance company.
“I played the most golf that I ever have this year,” said Kons. “I’ve played in four or five tournaments for work and a lot of them are fundraisers for other businesses in the community, and I’ve met a lot of people at these events.”
He admits, he didn't fully understand the course until he had to use it.
“If you’re looking to do business with someone and go golfing with them you see if they cheat or not, you see how angry they get when something doesn’t go their way, a lot of these are telltale signs of how they might behave in the business world as well,” said Kons.
“So you can tell a lot about a person‘s character by playing golf with them.”