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Women Bisnow
April 25, 2008


This issue of Washington Women is presented by
Reznick Group:
"Building Business Value"


By Karin Tanabe, Bisnow on Business


When Paige Veliz-Gilbert, Director of Instruction at the Presidential Golf Club Academy in Dulles, tried out for her high school golf team she had only been playing for a month and was “horrendous, worse than bad, shooting 86 for 9 holes.” The coach saw something else and Veliz-Gilbert made the team. “It turns out it was the number-one team in the country and I had no idea. They’ve won 25 of the last 26 state championships in Arizona.” One of those went to Veliz-Gilbert, who went on to play at the University of Arizona and ranked among the nation’s top-25 female collegians.


Veliz-Gilbert ready to take a few swings. The Presidential, which opens in May, isn’t just 18 holes on 300 acres 5 minutes away from Dulles Airport, but a whole new business model. With corporate exclusivity as its mantra, the club will have 60 corporate members the first year (limited to 150 companies in future years), paying $60,000/year for golf and clubhouse privileges for employees, spouses and clients.


“There is no doubt that there are 20 men for every woman in golf,” says Veliz-Gilbert. “Part of that is the business itself. In the LPGA the emphasis has always been on teaching and being a club professional. The PGA focuses on the business side. The sheer numbers are also a problem. There are 1,500 members in the LPGA and 30,000 in the PGA. Things are changing . . . slowly,” she says. To start, Veliz-Gilbert vows that the same disparity in numbers won’t apply at the Presidential.


After playing at Arizona I came to DC to do political work and didn’t even bring my golf clubs.” That didn’t last long. Veliz-Gilbert has been a golf pro since ’94 and was named among the top-50 golf instructors in America for the last two years by Golf Range magazine.


“I think having a woman pro on staff is a good first step. It says something about the facility that there is a woman in a leadership position.” With a growing number of companies developing golf cultures and those aspiring to high-level positions swinging more frequently, women, says Veliz-Gilbert, feel they need golf as a business tool. “Business is about relationships, and golf is the greatest window into a potential relationship. People’s personalities are revealed on the golf course. If they’re prone to going ballistic, it’ll happen on the course.”


Veliz-Gilbert will head up the club’s Jack Nicklaus Academy of Golf, open even to those whose golf lexicon includes only two words: Tiger Woods. But all work and no play makes Jane a dull girl. Luckily the powers that be have installed a 60,000-square-foot entertainment venue complete with wine cellar and ballroom coming in 2010. Where is the spa we ask?


“I’ve never heard of a single deal actually done on the golf course, says Veliz-Gilbert. “People aren’t shaking hands at the end of a round because they sealed a deal, it’s just tradition.” Well there’s a first for everything. Au revoir to the frilly frocks and crumpets, tee time has taken on a whole new meaning.

Reznick Group
Cardinal Bank
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This newsletter is a journalistic news source which accepts no payment for featured interviews. It is supported by conventional advertisers clearly identified in the right hand column. You have been selected to receive it either through prior contact or professional association. If you have received it in error, please accept our apologies and unsubscribe at bottom of the newsletter. ? 2008, Bisnow on Business, Inc., 2300 N Street, NW Washington, DC 20037. All rights reserved.

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