You’ve heard that business deals are made on the golf course. But even though 90 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs play golf, only 24 percent are women, and only 1 percent are Black women. Tari Cash is hoping to change that statistic.
The Harvard Business School graduate and former automotive executive has launched CitySwing, which allows its patrons to perfect their golf swings via simulation technology in her golf studios and patented golf truck. Cash’s mission is to make golf fun, convenient and accessible for everyone and help women and people of color leverage the access and power that comes to those who play. Currently based in Washington, D.C., CitySwing has plans to go global, with a new studio opening in Virginia in 2023.
EBONY: How did you come up with the concept for CitySwing?
Tari Cash: Working in the corporate world for many years at large corporations like Citigroup, Tesla and Under Armour, I realized the power golf has in the business world. Meetings were happening on the course and those who were not playing were not a part of the conversation. When I started playing, opportunities began to open for me. I was using golf as a strategic tool to create relationships with company executives. They saw me differently after we played or spoke about our shared love for golf. At the same time, indoor golf and golf simulation was becoming a trend. It was very popular in Asia and was slowly making its way to the United States, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to bring a concept of this sort to life. I created CitySwing because I want more women and people of color to have access to this strategic tool.
CitySwing is an immersive golf simulation facility for every level?
While our Golf Studio and Golf Truck appeal to avid golfers, we focus on the 92 percent of the U.S. population that doesn’t play golf, by offering a non-intimidating environment. The space has two private suites with top-of-the-line golf simulators using Trackman technology. Each suite is soundproof and has personal TVs where you can curate your golfing experience. We also have an angulated putting green. Guests can enjoy a cocktail or a bite in their lounge area next to the custom art mural of two iconic black golfers, Renee Powell and Charlie Sifford. We have ‘90s hip hop playing in the studio, our PGA-certified coaches are dressed in t-shirts and jeans and the space feels more like a lounge than a stuffy country club. We wanted to make it fun.
We may have a laid-back feel, but we are very serious about the game. We like to think of ourselves in between an entertainment opportunity around golf and a more instruction-based place for people to practice and advance their golf game.
When did you first learn about golf?
I was 16 when I was introduced to golf. My mom came up with the idea that my brother and I would take a couple of lessons and then surprise my dad with tee time for the family as a Father’s Day present. We took two lessons, but that isn’t enough to brave a golf course, especially one that has hosted the Ryder Cup and multiple U.S. Opens! To this day, my dad still says that was his worst Father’s Day experience because we were terrible—we played so slow that we had to let multiple groups pass us on the course. But that was the start of my golf journey and where I learned the fundamentals.
What do you love about the game?
I love the strategic thinking it requires, as well as competing against myself and chasing my own improvement. Once you learn how to hit the ball, it’s a game that I believe most people will enjoy. Golf courses are beautiful and being outside and in nature is healing. Spending hours with others develops meaningful relationships, which is why business is done on the golf course.
How can you use golf to network, negotiate and seal deals?
The key is finding common ground. Once you get on the course, conversations happen naturally. You're spending four to five hours with people, and the athletic activity is a small fraction of the total round. Most of the time, you're riding in a cart or walking and you could be talking about family, vacations or business. It’s a much more efficient way to build deep relationships. Bur feeling confident enough to even get on the green is also important, which is why I created CitySwing, to reap all the benefits the game brings.
What's a tip you can share about mastering your game?
I’m not sure there’s such a thing as “mastering the game of golf”! That’s an oxymoron. BUT focus on putting and on shots that are 100 yards and less. You'll be ahead of many people if you’re good at those shots.
And what's the hardest thing to do in golf?
Just when you think you’ve figured out your swing, something goes awry, and inevitably, just when you’re ready to quit the game, you figure it out!