Playing golf and networking go hand-in-hand…

It’s undeniable how integrated the game is with the world of business. Golf can be an invaluable tool for forging relationships with peers, clients, vendors and suppliers. For women especially, golf can contribute to their professional success through relationship-building, but also by helping them to feel more assertive and comfortable taking risks.

Since the 1990’s, business executive and retired golf professional Jane Blalock has served over 45,000 women through the KPMG Women’s PGA Clinics.  Imperial recently caught up with the 27-time LPGA Tour champion in an interview detailing the inspiration behind these clinics, and her mission to make the game more approachable and accessible for female executives.

Titled-sponsored by the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and implemented in partnership with the PGA of America, this nationwide series of full day Clinics is led by PGA/LPGA Certified Coaches and provides best in class fundamentals and on-course instruction to executive women, entrepreneurs, leaders and influencers in a dozen major U.S. markets annually. With Blalock at the helm and still hosting numerous Clinic sites in person, this unique program designed to advance women through the game of golf shows no signs of letting up.

Imperial’s relationship with the KPMG Women’s PGA Clinics started back in 2019 when we teamed up to create a curated collection of ladies headwear bearing the Clinic’s embroidered logo. The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship Golf Clinics Collection is an assortment of small fit hats and visors for women including performance fabric, mesh back styles and visors offered in a variety of colors. and in a junior size. Designed to help you perform your best in the moment, the combination of lightweight breathable fabrics and sun protection qualities will have you focusing on your next shot instead of battling the heat.  

5 Questions with Jane Blalock

• Why did you start the golf clinics for women?  What was/is your vision for the program?

While in the financial business with Merrill Lynch after leaving LPGA, I participated in numerous golf events for networking and relationship development.  Typically, I was the only woman in the mix – and these were valuable interactions.  I set out to encourage women to join in, to be a part of the business and social conversations taking place on the golf course.  I created the Clinic program so women could learn the game, understand the language and etiquette around it and build enough confidence to participate in company outings or invite a client to play.  Today, we’re proud to see many women attending with clients and customers and using the day to foster and strengthen relationships while learning the game and improving their skills together.  Our current national partners definitely see the value in engaging their female associates; many have been participating for years.

• In your opinion, what is the best part of the Clinic day?

Personally, I think the best part of the day is the après golf networking segment.  During that final hour, after everyone has spent the day working on their games and playing out on the course with their PGA/LPGA coaches, we receive so many thank you’s and promises to no longer remain on the sidelines when it comes to golf.  It’s rewarding – and empowering – to see the shift from somewhat timid and uncertain first thing in the morning to confident and fully capable by the end of the day.  It says a lot about the program, our instructors and frankly, the women who participate.  You can really feel the energy at the end of the day, and it’s inspiring.

• How does your career as a professional golfer influence what you share with Clinic attendees?

Given all of the events and pro-am tournaments in which I played alongside the other gender for many years, I am able to convince our Clinic participants that they don’t have to worry about being any good, as their male counterparts are not.  I’ve seen a lot of men hit poor shots and it’s no big deal – they just move on to the next one.

• What should I practice most if I want to impress my co-workers and clients on the golf course?

Newer players should make an effort to understand the etiquette and play efficiently, which means know how to get around the golf course, where to stand, how to behave when others are hitting and so on.  Pay attention to your pace of play – don’t hold others up looking for lost balls or hitting a lot of shots on one hole.  Regardless of your skill level, be gracious and respectful – it will be remembered.  It’s also a good idea to save the business chatter for the 19th hole.

• Why should I attend a KPMG Women’s PGA Clinic?

Take it from past attendees – it’s a game changer.  You can know absolutely nothing about golf and leave the day with the same level of confidence as a decent player.  You can be a great player and leave the day understanding what you need to do to get even better.  You might close a business deal.  You will definitely make new friends.  It’s about golf, of course, but what you take away from the day in terms of relationship-building and making new connections is priceless.  I think a lot of people are craving in-person engagement now more than ever – golf is a safe, social, and outdoor activity you can enjoy for a lifetime.  There’s no better time than now to jump start or elevate your golf game and participate in a KPMG Women’s PGA Clinic.