Applying Golf to Business and Life
From the time she was a young child, Patrina King was always out on the golf course, playing the game and learning from her father.
“She took after me a little bit,” Larry Dunn said. “When she was just a little girl, we would have chipping contests to see who could get closest to the pin, and you could see back then how talented she was.”
They played on the Uncle Remus Golf Course in Eatonton, where Patrina said she thinks she was the first Black female to play on the course. “My dad integrated it, so I came after him,” she noted.
When she got to high school, Patrina helped create the Putnam County High School girls golf team. “They didn’t have any women and I wanted to be on the team,” she explained. In the mid 1990s, PCHS golfers won the state title. “Coach Neal Dabbs told me ‘They rode on your coattails.’ Those were his words,” she said with an amused twinkle in her eye.
She showed a now-yellowed clipping of a photo from The Eatonton Messenger newspaper. The photo caption reveals the students in the picture had placed in the region tournament and were headed to compete at the state level. “It’s kind of sad because I’m the only girl in it,” she said. “At the time, I was the only PCHS girl who made region and state.”
Although she was offered scholarships by several colleges, Patrina decided to forgo playing golf at the next level, but focused on her studies and pursued her business aspirations instead. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Technical Management from DeVry University, and her master’s of Business Administration, Management and Operations from DeVry’s Keller Graduate School of Management.
When she started her first business, a background investment company in Atlanta, she realized she needed to network with decision makers. Knowing those businessmen would be on the golf course, she revived her golf game. When an Atlanta network CEO agreed to play nine holes with her, Patrina’s old competitive nature instinctively took over.
“I beat him badly and he never followed up with me afterwards,” she lamented. Discussing it with her father, Patrina said she learned that instead of using the round to show how good her golf skills were, she should’ve used the time to get to know the person she was seeking business from. “I blew a seven-figure business deal by playing competitive golf and not using golf to develop a business relationship,” she said. “That was the most expensive yet best lesson I have learned to date.”
The lesson made such an impression that Patrina founded a new business called Golf Women Mean Business. “We help women leaders build meaningful relationships and achieve greater influence with golf,” she described. “It’s a membership-based organization, more like a sisterhood who supports each other and plays golf sometimes.
“They have to learn it (golf) first. So, I help them so they’re not ashamed of not knowing how to play. Golf is not the focus, it’s the vehicle to connect with others. So, we call it ‘business golf.’ A lot of professional women are stuck in the office on Fridays when the men are out playing golf. The women may not want to play as much as the men, but not knowing how shouldn’t be the reason they don’t play.”
Since its inception, GWMB has been based in Atlanta and primarily held its outings on Atlanta-area golf courses. But this past summer, the Southern Company partnered with GWMB to host a weekend at Reynolds for Georgia Power employees. Patrina said they first met in Atlanta, where she taught them the basics of handling a golf club and hitting the ball. Then they spent a weekend at The Ritz Carlton Lake Oconee, where they met in the conference room and learned the rules and etiquette of golf. Then they used their newly learned skills on the Oconee Golf Course.
This summer, Patrina will come full circle and expand the GWMB program to the Uncle Remus Golf Course in Eatonton. Patrina said her father will join them to help teach the women just like he taught her when she was young. “We are working in partnership with Uncle Remus to make GWMB available to women just like it is in Atlanta,” she said with a smile.
Patrina also authored two books – 9 Holes 9 Goals: A Beginner’s Guide to Doing Business on the Course, and a children’s book, My Dad & Me on the Golf Course. Her lengthy list of distinguished accomplishments, awards, acknowledgements, and affiliations is found on the company’s website and is a testament that she uses her life experiences to educate and help others. “Patrina believes the best way to serve the people is by taking an informative and realistic approach to everyday activities and issues,” the website reveals.
Although she lives in the Metro Atlanta Georgia area with her husband, her volunteerism, service, board memberships, and business programs venture all over the state and beyond. “Service doesn’t have a zip code,” she advised.
Golf Women Mean Business specializes in golf workshops for corporations and affinity groups, with the purpose of providing women who have never touched a golf club the experience of learning and embracing the game of golf and applying its principles to achieve more in business, in their careers, and in life.
For more information, go to the website, https://www.golfwomenmeanbusiness.com/, or find it on Facebook or Instagram.
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Story by Lynn Hobbs, photos contributed by GWMB, for the March/April 2022 issue of Lakelife magazine. File articles from The Eatonton Messenger newspaper were referenced in this article.