The US golf season gets into full swing this weekend with the Masters tournament in Augusta, Georgia. But some of the country’s top business leaders have already been getting their game ready on the course.
Cisco CEO John Chambers has played 17 rounds in the last three months. IBM CEO Virginia Rometty and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer have each played more than 20 rounds over the last six months, according to records on the Golf Handicap and Information Network, a service of the United States Golf Association.
Golfers voluntarily submit their scores through GHIN to the USGA to establish and maintain a handicap–a quantitative measure of golfing ability. These records are made available on the internet to allow tournament organizers and Saturday-morning playing partners alike to confirm a competitor’s skill. Each online record also displays a player’s 20 most recently inputted scores.
Quartz matched executives to their handicap information based on name, location, previous tournament entries, and other corroborating information, including news reports of club membership and previously published handicaps.
The records show that although Jeffrey Immelt the CEO of General Electric has a handicap of 9.7, he hasn’t played a tround since December 2009 when he recorded an 83 at the Kiawah Island Club in South Carolina. In 2007 Immelt played at least 20 times between June and September. He was named CEO of GE in 2000, and assumed the role in 2001.
The network’s records also show that John Watson, CEO of Chevron, is an extremely skilled golfer. After playing competitively in high school and university the 56-year-old Watson now has a handicap of 1.8. In 2010 he told the Financial Times he plays when he can fit it into his schedule. USGA records show he’s played 18 rounds in the past six months–an average of once every 10 days.