Nearly 40 per cent of employees in India play golf to mingle with senior business executives, the highest proportion of any country surveyed in a new poll.
Golfing to get ahead was also popular in China, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia, where 33 per cent of people questioned in a Reuter/Ipsos poll said they used the sport as a means of professional social networking.
Overall, 15 per cent of the 12,691 employees surveyed across 24 countries said golf gave them an opportunity to climb the corporate ladder.
"I don't think it's odd that one in seven use this as a stepping stone," said John Wright, a senior vice president with Ipsos (a global research company) in Toronto. "It's a rich man's sport in India. It's [India] a place where real estate developers and investors are moving to the sport."
The introduction in 2010 of the Avantha Masters, with its 1.5 million euro purse was an indication of golf's growing popularity in India, according to Wright.
Nearly half of the workers in China said they thought the sport could help to advance their career, followed by 46 per cent of employees in India, 37 per cent in South Korea, 35 per cent in South Africa and 30 per cent in Saudi Arabia.
In Britain, the birthplace of golf, 22 per cent said the sport could benefit their career but only five per cent said they used the sport to get closer to senior management.
Employees were least convinced of golf's professional benefits in France, where only nine per cent said the sport could help their career.