It’s no surprise that many chief executive officers (also known as CEOs) of big-name companies enjoy playing golf. They can be spotted in their $200 golf shirts wielding their $600 drivers and the absolutely newest Scotty Cameron putter.

Who is in their foursomes? Maybe other CEOs. Birds of a feather, and all that. Or maybe Mr. or Ms. CEO is playing with a potential client who will face 18 holes of a sales job. 

But, on occasion, CEOs or other bosses play with run-of-the-mill, everyday employees. This can be fun, the Big Guy sharing the day with some of his underlings, maybe even paying the tab for golf and a nice dinner afterward.

It also can be troubling and anxious, however, for the one thing you don’t want to do is beat the boss on the golf course.

Pure insanity, that thought. You can envision raises, bonuses, promotions and even that annual Christmas turkey flying right out the window as you make the six-foot putt on 18 that leaves the boss one shot down.

Is momentary triumph worth the down side? The short answer is no.

Never beat the boss. Here are a few ways to be sure you don’t commit this faux pas (faux par?).

  • Remember the old putter you abandoned years ago because you slammed it to the ground in frustration and bent the face? Use that one against the boss. You’ll miss everything, even gimmes.
  • When you hit a ball into a bunker (this is likely to happen on the first hole), ground the club. This is a penalty. Penalties add up.
  • If you’re ahead by three shots after the front nine, it’s time to get things under control. Or out of control. On the 10th tee box, send your drive sailing off into Neverland, way past the pine trees and deep into knee-high rough that no doubt is filled with vipers. A lost ball and a penalty. 
  • Remember when you started playing golf and you hit every chip shot either too fat or too thin? (Or maybe that was yesterday). Return to those glory days. It’s easy to mess up a short chip and make it look unintentional. I know. I do it all the time.
  • When the drink cart comes around, buy yourself four beers and consume them in rapid-fire fashion. Your game is likely to suffer (but don’t embarrass the boss by wandering into the woods to, uh, seek relief).
  • Leave your 7 iron – isn’t a 7 iron everybody’s favorite club? – in your car and pretend you don’t notice its absence until the fourth hole, when it’s far too late to retrieve it. It’s impossible to score well without a 7 iron.
  • If the boss hits a shot into a greenside bunker and you arrive at the green before he does, kick the ball out of the bunker.
  • If you really mess things up and you’re leading the boss by five shots approaching the 18th teebox, feign a sudden illness and withdraw from the competition. 

Your raise is safe.

Mike Hembree

Mike Hembree is a veteran journalist who has covered a variety of sports for numerous publications and websites, including USA Today, Fox Sports, TV Guide and The Greenville (S.C.) News. He has written 14 books and has won numerous writing awards at the national, regional and state levels. He is a seven-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.