Working on their business fore-te

Golf course networking suits St. John's Board of Trade members to a tee

Published on July 12, 2017

The Holiday Inn Express-sponsored hole, titled “Come Get Lei’d at the Pinepple Express Tiki Bar” and manned by Roberta Chaytor (left) and Greg Ivany (right), was a huge hit with all 36 groups that came through during the St. John’s Board of Trade Golf Classic on Wednesday. Taking time out of their game for a quick snap are, (from second-from-left), Brent Smith and Christina Dove from the Newfoundland Chocolate Co., Valerie Donnan and Hugh Donnan, CEO of the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra.

©Kenn Oliver/The Telegram

Bernie Halloran, owner of Always in Vogue in downtown St. John’s, believes you can learn a lot about someone while playing 18 holes of golf together.

It’s a game of greed, he says, of risk and reward, and it pulls back the curtain on your playing partner’s personality, honesty and integrity, and might offer a glimpse of what it would be like to do business with that person.

The golf course, he believes, is sometimes a great place to talk business.
“Absolutely,” he insists, “it’s a more relaxed atmosphere. You can get the details done behind the scene.”

On Wednesday, Halloran was the guest of TD Bank at the 23rd annual St. John’s Board of Trade Golf Classic at the Wilds on Salmonier Line.

“It’s a good thing when a banker is not a good golfer, because that mean’s he’s a good banker,” Halloran joked from the tee-box on the 8th hole.

That same jovial spirit was evident throughout all 36 groups of golfers who swapped briefcases and computer screens for putters and golf carts for a day.

The event regularly attracts a wide variety of business people and company employees. It’s a day when lawyers rub shoulders with restaurant managers, where chocolatiers can hob knob with engineers, where real estate agents can talk shop with contractors.

“Anyone who’s anyone is at this tournament in particular,” says Brad Cheater of Steers Insurance.
While some, based on their attire and the accuracy of their shots, are clearly regular golfers, there are always a healthy contingent of people who clearly aren’t.

Bell Aliant’s Linda Dalton, for instance, golfs once a year in the company tournament. She found herself enlisted for this year’s BOT tourney only when her boss, Brad Rowe, was forced to bow out at the last minute, leaving her with big shoes to fill.

“That’s OK,” she says, “I’ve got big feet.”

Shane Power from Black & McDonald tries to guess how many golf tees are in a jar at the Hickman Group of Cos.-sponsored hole at Wednesday’s St. John’s Board of Trade Golf Classic at the Wilds.
Kenn Oliver/The Telegram

Steve Dinn, vice-president of business development at PAL Airlines, the tournament’s title sponsor for the second straight year, heralds the board for being an important part of bringing the business community together, and says events like the golf classic do it in a way that gets people out of the office and into a more relaxed environment.

The networking, he says, whether with existing or new clients and colleagues, is fantastic.

“Meeting all the people you know in business that you might not otherwise get to see on a regular basis, catching up with colleagues and people from different industries you’ve done business with and meeting new people is a great opportunity,” explains Dinn.

Janet Scott-Smith, director of business travel management for LeGrow’s Travel, echoes Dinn’s thoughts about the board and the benefits of the tournament.

In her mind, it helps to break the ice so that when she is talking to existing or potential clients, they already have some common ground.

“The golf course is good for making connections and building relationships with existing clients,” she says.
All the business benefits aside, the main goal is to simply have fun. For some groups that means hamming it up for photos using props supplied at sponsored holes, for others it means doing their best to shoot the lowest best-ball score.

KMK Capital, for instance, returned to the tournament with the same foursome that won the 2016 tournament, hopeful of a repeat performance.

“Not as good as last year, but the conditions are a little bit tougher,” says Ron Burke. “We’ve been consistent since we started and we’re just trying to better our score right now.”

At day’s end, however, the boys from KMK were usurped by a new champion, the foursome of Paul Currie, C.J. Nolan, Sean White and Trevor Brocklehurst from Quikprint Services Ltd., who shot a tourney-best 16-under for the day.

Twitter: kennoliver79