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As the economy grows, so does the interest in golf as an important tool for business. Such was the consensus of opinion among men and women golfers at the sold-out golf outing sponsored by Professional Women in Construction (PWC) on June 5 at the Elmwood Country Club in White Plains, New York.

PWC Executive Vice President Theresa Vigilante, chairperson of the PWC Golf Committee, noted with pride that the number of women golfers continues to surge. "At this event 30% of the players were women, representing a remarkable climb from the early days a dozen years ago," said Vigilante.

Beth Barton, an avid golfer and senior managing director with Economic Project Solutions (EPS), a woman-owned firm, said, "Many more companies become involved in golf as the overall business climate improves. They know their money is well spent on the golf course, which has proven to be an effective place to conduct business."

Henegan Construction Director of Purchasing Henry Romer, a business colleague of Barton's and part of the foursome on the course, agreed. "The number of players is relative to the amount of business out there. The strong showing at this outing signals a healthy economy."

Matthew Tedesco, in business development with Lane Office, concurred, "As the economy improves, people are willing to spend more on golf." Noting the popularity of women golf superstars Michelle Wie and Annika Sorenson, he added that "As more women athletes make a name for themselves ... it becomes an impetus for others."

Dorothy Wasiak, vice president of EPC (Engineering Procurement and Construction), an event sponsor, was delighted to see large numbers of women golfers at the outing. "I'm very happy that it's not just a 'boys game' any more," she said.

The idea was roundly applauded by Karen Dorsey, project manager with Phoenix Constructors. "Golf has always been an important business networking tool in construction--since there are now more women in the industry it's natural that more of us are playing golf," she said.

Chantal Reine Kullman, business development manager with The Conti Group, noted that years ago men were encouraged to take the afternoon off "and then formed strong bonds on the course ... [while] women stayed back to do the 'office work.' With many more women in managerial and executive positions, this is no longer the case." Kullman noted that she did her "homework" before playing by taking golf lessons and going to the range during lunch breaks.

What is the basis of the ever-increasing appeal of a game of golf? Art Thomson, senior vice president of marketing with Henegan Construction, summed it up: "Golf breaks down the barriers. When you wear a business suit, there's more of a power struggle. At a game, dressed in shorts, these factors break down. Furthermore, playing injects a sense of humor into interactions. You can laugh at yourself."

Bill Brody, vice president of communications with IBEX Construction, was enthusiastic in his praise, saying, "The golf course is a great place to do business." He added that even a beginner golfer can enjoy the sport and that "golf engenders respect. There's a sense of bonding. I always come off 18 holes knowing the person I played with a lot better than I did before."

The all-day event concluded with a cocktail party, a lavish buffet--offering networking opportunities for non-golfers as well--plus raffle prizes and awards for best players. MSD Visuals and Wal-Mart Realty were also event sponsors.

PWC will present a Transportation Forum on July 27 from 8 to 10 am at The Yale Club. The next golf outing will be on Monday, September 25 at the Elmwood Country Club.
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Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Jun 21, 2006
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