My work involves a lot of travel, locally and in Asian countries. And by now, my third column, you might have guessed why: to see the pigs of course. In my local business travels mostly to Cebu and Cagayan de Oro, I make sure I say “Hi” to our BCBP Brothers and Sisters. I do get to be invited to their events, ranging from Breakfast to BCLP’s and the now unavoidable golf game here and there.
Why did I finally take up golf? Why not at a much younger age? Admittedly, it was only of late that I finally realized that I could reasonably afford the game. It was on a trip to Beijing in 2007 that I did something to begin my commitment to the game. Golfing friends from China helped my buy the cheapest and most playable golf set ever. But that was not the main reason I was attracted to the game.
As my work responsibilities grew bigger, I found that I often ended up talking to my counterparts in industry, including colleagues from multinational drug companies, European Swine Genetic companies as well as local feed conglomerates. And more often than not, these industry chaps played golf. As soon as I was identified in our industry as a golfer, more and more clients called for meetings to be held in the golf club houses. As if everything was falling into place, even UP alumni as well as Veterinary school alumni were soon having business meetings which involved a golf game or two.
For a while, I was actually getting by without golf – until the golf fever hit BCBP Makati. Being active in the Brotherhood was taking up much of my time after work and family. Call it a pleasant form of peer pressure but golf soon became an integral part of our BCBP fellowship in the chapter. But that was not the end of it.
I made a pleasant discovery within our industry. I used to wonder what these farmers do once they are done with work at farm. I am not talking about the small farmers, but I am referring folks who go to their farms in their SUV’s and who send their children to exclusive schools because of the money they make on vast industrial grade farm operations. For these farmers, daily life on the Farm would usually be over by late morning after the routine feeding, cleaning and counting stock. I discovered that many of these farmers often hit the golf course afterwards.
It followed that I soon found myself acting as a sponsor or being sponsored myself into the various farmers’ golf tournaments. It was only later that I realized that there are plenty of golf-crazy farmers around. This gave me a new motivation to play; golf provided me the opportunity to promote my company and its products with leaders of the field in my industry. Golf, you see, presents a unique business situation – it gives a good reason to walk and talk pigs with my clients for four, yes four, hours! How convenient could that be!
Business, golf and BCBP can conveniently happen at one time. A case in point is Cagayan de Oro. Every time I visit there, I make sure I touch base with BCBP brothers in the area. Work is, of course, my main purpose and this can include side visits to Pueblo Golf club with golfing pig farmers. In this premier course, BCBP members, as well many of my clients are quite popular; their names are known to everyone from the registration desk to the caddies. Select BCBP members here indeed belong to the industry leaders in the city. Cebu also presents the same scenario.
Back to Cagayan de Oro. Whilst its size cannot be compared to Makati, it certainly can be used as a working model. Golf here, brings together BCBP members and potential members who qualify as captains of industry who are the target of BCBP membership. It is obvious that you can’t have praising and singing after a game but it is the fellowship which is crucial and significant. The sense of brotherhood and Christian camaraderie can actually attract potential new members. Golf, by default, presents a pre-selected group of successful businessmen and leaders. The unique “locker room” golf culture is a challenge to crack but I guess that is where influence of our unique sense of “Brotherhood” can come into play. Just like one of our “business golf games” we have four hours or 18 holes to exercise that influence.
I maybe stretching the possibilities a bit – but what are we believers for? I am realistically aware that it may take years before the game is formally, if at all, accepted as an evangelization event. But, there is nothing to stop us from doing this informally . . . in any golf game . . . at anytime. We have taken the first steps in the Makati Chapter with our Christians in Golf Association – a BCBP Makati Golf organization that is now attracting other BCBP members from chapters outside Makati. The fellowship and common love for the game is a good jump start. True, we might have to suppress the cursing and the unavoidable betting. But if we decide to show an example of a true Christian Golfer, I say it is worth a shot. (pun intended)
Captains of Industry? Try golfers!