Golf and career transitions

- Candida Brush is the Paul T. Babson Chair of Entrepreneurship at Babson College. The opinions expressed are her own. -

For years I have been an avid golfer, spending as much time in the summer playing on a competitive team, in tournaments, or even just four holes in the evening with my husband.

As a professor of entrepreneurship, I’ve written hundreds of articles, books, and papers on these topics over the past 25 years. But, I have always wanted to write an article about golf!

With the downturn in the economy this past year, I started thinking about the parallels between transitions in playing golf and in career transitions.

Today, career management is even more of a challenge than ever. Most of us will work for an average of 10 different employers and our work will be interrupted either by choice (i.e. moving, return to school, family needs) or not (layoffs, downsizing, restructuring). Hence, the definition of career has changed drastically from climbing the career ladder to developing a portfolio of career experiences. In the words of professor Tim Hall, the new career is “boundaryless.”

Entrepreneur needs to prove golf gizmo works

Tom Cannon has created an intriguing golf gadget, but if he wants to find a market for his product, the former NASA rocket scientist needs some hard data to prove BonusYards can help golfers add more distance to their drives, said experts.

The Maryland, Virginia entrepreneur hit on the idea after reading a story that detailed how a 45-degree angle – between the club and the ground – is the optimum angle for golfers to address the ball before teeing off (read original story here). The article suggested practicing in front of a square box, but Cannon thought there had to be a better solution. He went into his basement workshop and attached a carpenter’s level to a golf club that indicated when he was standing at the proper angle to the ball. The problem was the level was too big and heavy and it didn’t stay on the club.

Cannon eventually found a manufacturer in China and built a level that was small and light enough that he could fashion to a club, without it adversely affecting his swing. The plastic device resembles a child’s toy ring, with a flat coin-sized head that encases a bubble level that clips onto the top of the club, or grip, and includes markings to show when the club is properly aligned at a 45-degree angle.