Category Archives: business and golf

Stick to the plan

Calm and confident pays off

Adam HadwinBusiness is like golf. Consider the challenges faced by Canadian Adam Hadwin on the final round of the Valspar Championship on Sunday.

This is his third year on the PGA Tour and Hadwin had recently attracted attention with the rare and remarkable achievement of a 59 on a par in California, finishing second and winning his first major prize money of $626,000.

Last week at the Valspar Championship in Florida, he had played three flawless rounds and was leading on Sunday by four strokes at 14-under-par. His playing partner in the final group was Patrick Cantlay at 10-under-par and the other challengers were further back. So Hadwin’s strategy was “to just hit fairways and greens” and count on his putter to get him an occasional birdie to retain the lead for his first win on the Tour. He had admitted before starting that staying focused would be difficult, knowing that a win would move him to fourth place in the FedEx Cup standings, give him a two-year exemption from qualifying on the PGA Tour and earn a much-coveted invitation to the Masters in April. He had already committed to getting married in two weeks, but his fiancée, who has been coaching him on keeping calm instead of occasionally ‘losing it’, had already agreed to change honeymoon plans if necessary, to go to Augusta for the Masters. It was a lot to ignore while trying to win his first tournament.

So how did his strategy work out? Not exactly according to plan.

Patrick Cantlay came on strong and maintained the pressure until the end. He also had a backstory and was out to prove that he belonged among the young American stars of the game, playing only his second event on the PGA Tour. He had been a top-ranked college player and World #1 amateur for over a year, ahead of Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, and Daniel Berger, all of whom had surged into prominence on the PGA Tour during his absence of almost three years due to a severe back injury. During that time, he also suffered the tragic loss of his caddie and long-time friend, Chris Roth, who was killed by a hit-and-run driver while walking right in front of Patrick. It was a lot to recover from and get back to playing professional golf at a high level.

Cantlay had a run of birdies to reduce Hadwin’s lead to only one stroke after the first twelve holes. Then on the long par three 13th, Cantlay hit it within five feet for another likely birdie to tie for the lead as Hadwin’s ball was lying over 50 feet from the hole. But Hadwin reversed the pressure and drained the putt! Cantlay stroked his ball confidently into the hole for birdie, birdie. On to the 14th for par, par. Hadwin was still leading by one.

At the par four 15th, Cantlay hit his approach shot into the greenside bunker and missed the sand save by hitting it well past the hole and needing two putts to come back for bogey. Advantage to Hadwin with another par. He was back on cruise control, “just hit fairways and greens”, with a two stroke lead at 15-under versus Cantlay’s 13-under and only three holes left to play.

Surprise! Off the 16th tee, Hadwin hit a wide curving fade into the lake on the right side of the fairway. “I don’t know where that drive came from,” he said later, “after four days without a bad drive.” With a one stroke penalty, a layup and two putts on the green, he left the 16th with a double bogey six. Cantlay had a long drive down the middle and made an easy par four. They were now tied at 13-under.

Two pars on the 17th followed by two good drives, left them still tied with no advantage and looking at the 18th green from 150-yards away.

Is your business this exciting? Would you be able to focus and make the shot? The pressure makes a difference. Nerves jangling, adrenalin pumping, a caddie offering advice and surrounded by excited spectators. Don’t think about winning or losing, or the consequences. Not the $450,000 difference in prize money between first and second, not the FedEx Cup standings or the two-year Tour qualifying exemption and not the invitation to play at the Masters. Just make the shot. Hit it close and one putt to win or maybe two to continue in a playoff. Forget all that. Just focus. Make the shot.

Cantlay was first. He hit it slightly right of the green and his ball rolled down the slope and into another sand trap. Hadwin hit his ball to the middle of the green, but it rolled to the back across the fringe and up against the longer grass. More challenges for each golfer.

Cantlay again failed to hit it well out of the sand and this time it stopped short, leaving a fifteen-foot putt for par.

Hadwin decided to hit through the grass with the blade of his wedge on the centre of the ball. The commentators agreed it was the right technique for the awkward lie, but difficult to execute, especially under the pressure to get it close to the hole. Still calm and confident, Hadwin hit it perfectly and rolled the ball to within 18-inches.

Cantlay missed his putt and Hadwin finished with a par to win. Happy honeymoon! Easy to make new plans with the $1.1 million in prize money.

You can extract the lessons that suit you from this dramatic round of golf, but Cantlay learned he has to improve his play from the sand traps and Hadwin reinforced what he had already demonstrated with his round of 59. Stay calm and confident, focus on the task right in front of you and block out the distractions.

Good strategies for your business too, don’t you think?

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Read more articles like this one at: Business is Like Golf Blog

 

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Performing past the obstacles

Dustin Johnson keeps calm and gets the job done

DJ in MexicoDustin Johnson won again last weekend at the World Golf Championship event in Mexico City. He held off the challengers on Sunday and finished first, in spite of losing one ball in a tree, hitting into the water and stumbling on a couple of holes to suddenly fall from four ahead to one behind as rookie Jon Rahm had an eagle and two consecutive birdies.

But Johnson kept his calm, playing solid golf to the end including a difficult long bunker shot on the 18th that found the centre of the green for two putts to win by one stroke.

Johnson always appears to be one of the most relaxed, loose, emotion-less players on the PGA tour, even though he admits to nerves and in the past has blown some likely wins with mistakes on the last holes. But his recent successes and the resulting rise to World No. 1 are proof that he now keeps his cool and can recover from costly errors, rule anomalies and bad luck to focus on meeting the next challenge and making the shot.

That attitude and approach are important to you and your business too. Consistency and strong performance are hard to maintain and disappointments can happen. Mistakes will be made, the competition will surprise you and conditions may add to the level of difficulty, but keep your focus on the goals and play to your strengths.

Don’t let the obstacles distract you from your game and a high level of performance.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Read more articles like this one at: Business is Like Golf Blog

Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.comand join our mailing list for more ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Check outUncle Ralph’s books, Don’t Do It the Hard Way and The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans. Available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

 

 

New top gun or one-hit wonder?

Justin Thomas has a great start to 2017

Justin thomasJustin Thomas suddenly won two tournaments in a row in Hawaii with total scores at 49-under par and set all-time records with a round of 59 at age 23 and the lowest 72-hole score in Tour history.

Who is this guy and where did he come from?

He has been on the PGA tour since 2013 and had won only once before in the 2015 season. This season he has won three times since October which was the most anybody won all of last year.

Clearly off to a great start, but you may know his good buddy, Jordan Spieth, better. Spieth was the young sensation of 2015, winning five times including the Masters, US Open and FedEx cup and achieving World Ranking #1. When asked by the commentators in Hawaii if Thomas had suddenly arrived or was this a one-time run, Spieth replied, “Neither, he has been playing at this level for years.” He will likely have many more good runs like this and we can expect him to push all the current contenders for World #1.

And there-in lies the lesson for your business.

Suddenly achieving notable success should not result from a short run of good luck. You cannot count on that ever happening. You should be building on dedicated preparation and hard work to sustain success for a whole career.

Even if you never achieve World #1 ranking you will be recognized as a winner for all the right reasons and be rewarded accordingly.

Keep at it,

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Read more articles like this one at: Business is Like Golf Blog

Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.com and join our mailing list for more ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Check out Uncle Ralph’s books, “Don’t Do It the Hard Way” and “The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans” Available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

 

Pressure improves performance

Raising the stakes may help you too 

reed-mcilroyCompared to the recent disappointing Olympic golf tournament, the Ryder Cup was a tremendous spectacle of high performance under pressure. Drama and excitement for three days of competition. At the Olympics, the golf event was a complete failure. The best golfers did not go, the spectators did not care.

At the Ryder Cup Last weekend, a tradition since 1927 matching the best American golfers against the best of Europe, the golfers were excited to make the team and determined to play their best in front of 50,000 wildly enthusiastic fans.

The individual performances were outstanding in spite of the screaming fans and high stakes, by the end of three days of head-to-head competition every player had shown his best talents. There was no prize money at stake, only the right to claim a small trophy for the winning team. But as Tiger Woods said, “we always play for pride, this is just bigger because we’re playing as a team.”

Patrick Reed and Rory McIlroy on the last day played one of the most epic battles ever seen on a golf course. It was a like a heavy-weight bout with the two of them pounding at each other on every hole and pumping up themselves and the fans along the way, while demonstrating the courtesy and etiquette of golf by respecting each other and loving every minute of the contest. Never a better performance to attract golfers and fans.

Playing as a team is unusual for golfers. Golf is normally very focused on individual performance. Striving for the best score on the hole, the day and the tournament, then on to the next one. The golfer has only to meet his own expectations, any pressure is primarily imposed on himself. The Ryder Cup is an opportunity only once every two years to be selected to a team of the best twelve golfers to play together in front of the world. But the high pressure and focus on team effort seems to lead to exceptional individual performance.

Maybe raising the stakes and then performing in public will motivate your team to run a better business. It may be as easy as setting more ambitious competitive objectives and then exposing the performance and contributions of all team members.

Another lesson from golf for your business?

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Read more articles like this one at: Business is Like Golf Blog

Visit LearningEntrerpreneurship.comand join our mailing list for more ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs. Check outUncle Ralph’s books, “Don’t Do It the Hard Way” and “The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans” Available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

 

Dramatic finish for the FedEx Cup

Severe tests of skill, strategy and nerve.  Just like your business. 

fedex-mcilroyProving he is definitely back, Rory McIlroy came from behind to win the PGA Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup on Sunday. It was a big win worth a total of $11.5 million.

And he took it all from Dustin Johnson, who had been the clear FedEx Cup and tournament leader until the last day. Johnson was dominating with a combination of long accurate drives and a reliable short game, hitting them close and rolling in the putts. It started to fall apart on Saturday and he had the worst round of the day on Sunday to fall from the lead to fifth place.

Before the final playoff rounds at the Tour Championship, any one of the Top 5 in FedEx Cup standings for the year could have won the $10 million bonus by winning the final tournament (and another $1.5 million in prize money). The five were Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Adam Scott, Jason Day and Paul Casey. McIlroy was standing sixth, just ahead of Jordan Spieth. By the last round, Day had withdrawn due to a back injury, Scott, Casey and Spieth were well back and out of the running.

McIlroy was coming up fast, but needed Johnson to falter for him to win the tournament and the FedEx Cup. Johnson opened the door, but two new challengers suddenly appeared with chances to win the tournament themselves. Kevin Chappell started the last round tied with Johnson, but left him well behind with a 4-under par for 68. McIlroy was playing with Ryan Moore and they both gained four strokes with final rounds of 64 to tie Chappell for a sudden death three-way playoff at 12-under par.

That’s where it got complicated. If either Chappell or Moore won the tournament, then Dustin Johnson would still win the FedEx Cup by a few points. If McIlroy won the tournament, he would also gain enough points to win the FedEx Cup too. Over a challenging four holes in the playoff, he did just that.

It was exciting drama to watch. Complicated scenarios with unmanageable variables and severe tests of skill, strategy and nerve.

Just like running a business.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Read more articles like this one at: Business is Like Golf Blog

Visit LearningEntrerpreneurship.com and join our mailing list for more ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Check out Uncle Ralph’s books, “Don’t Do It the Hard Way” and “The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans” Available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

Rory is back, or he never left?

Talent and hard work are hard to beat

RoryWithin hours of a suggestion that Rory McIlroy was “at risk of no longer being part of the conversation”, he suddenly forced himself back onto the stage with a dramatic demonstration of world class performance and a win at the second round FedEx playoff in Boston on the weekend.

Struggling with months of erratic play and terrible putting, Rory had not had a PGA Tour win in 16 months and only the Irish Open win in May. After a nineteen months run at No.1 in World Golf Rankings, he had slipped to sixth and looked to be falling away from current No.1 Jason Day, and the challengers Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson and Henrik Stenson.

But Rory has been working hard on some mental adjustments and a new approach to putting that are suddenly starting to show results. He recovered quickly from a very bad first few holes on Friday and went 19-under-par on the next 68 holes to win by two strokes over Paul Casey and return to World No. 3 ranking.

So if you want to remain a world class competitor, keep working at getting better. And if you are currently No. 1, now is not the time to relax. There are tough champions coming up behind you who want it back.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Read more articles like this one at: Business is Like Golf Blog

Visit LearningEntrerpreneurship.com and  join our mailing list for more ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Check out Uncle Ralph’s books, “Don’t Do It the Hard Way” and “The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans” Available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

 

Business is Like Golf

Easy to get into trouble and hard to get the results you want.

golf drivingIt is the season again to get out and enjoy a round of golf. (Unless you’re one of those people who would rather eat sand than try to hit a golf ball straight for 400 yards and then roll it into a 4-inch cup.)

It is a very simple and enjoyable game, or it’s a terrifyingly frustrating challenge that can drive you crazy. Again very much like business, you can love it and enjoy it or hate it and avoid it like a bad case of food poisoning.

You might think you are sufficiently smart and talented to succeed, but you may fail miserably in your attempts at both. There is value, therefore, in recognizing that you can learn from golf how to do better at business.

Have a strategic plan, master the fundamentals, and focus on execution

The first step is setting goals and having reasonable expectations. If your objective is to be a world class competitor, you will have to start early and work hard to develop the skills, knowledge and experience to win. In golf, that means swinging a club by age six, practising every day until you make the college team, then dropping all distractions, like a social life or a day job, and dedicating every effort to perfecting the skills and mental attitude to win against the best in the world.

If it’s already too late for that or you are not motivated to that degree, then adjust your expectations. Maybe you will be satisfied with occasionally breaking 100, or making par on the odd hole or even a rare birdie might be enough to keep you going.

As you play the game and watch the pros more often, you will also notice that it is important to have a strategy for each round and for each hole. Like in business, choosing a strategy is the same process of matching your strengths and competitive advantage to the opportunities that are presented, while avoiding the risks associated with your weaknesses.

Achieving good results requires having the right strategy, making good decisions, mastering the skills to deliver according to your plan, and then focusing on execution in spite of the stresses and distractions presented by the environment and the competition.

Sound familiar? Business is like golf and golf is like business. Don’t you agree?

But please remember to enjoy the golf, especially if your intent is to take a break from the challenges of your business. You do not need more stress created by unreasonable expectations. Arnold Palmer has been quoted as advising an angry amateur he was playing with, “You’re not good enough to get that upset by a bad shot.” Another good lesson from the world of golf.

Have a good day, occasionally hitting one long and straight.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson9781496932259_COVER.indd

Read more articles like this one at: Business is Like Golf Blog

Visit LearningEntrerpreneurship.com and join our mailing list for more ideas,  information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Check outUncle Ralph’s books, “Don’t Do It the Hard Way” and “The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans” Available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

Stories behind the headlines

We all pay attention to the golf superstars and the winners of last weekend’s tournament. They get all the headlines. But sometimes better stories are buried deeper in the news. If they make the news at all.

Adam-Scott-DoralAdam Scott is having a great year, in spite of the rule change that required him to give up the long putter that had served him so well the last few seasons. Another challenge for Scott this year was having to find a new caddy to replace Steve Williams. Williams had been Tiger Woods’ caddy for a very successful twelve year run, then had more big wins with Scott before retiring last year.

So who is Scott’s new caddy and how is he doing? The new guy, David Clark, had been a PGA Tour caddy for eight years, but had never won a tournament. He started two weeks ago and Adam Scott immediately won two tournaments in a row. It seems they found the magic of a good partnership. Especially when you realize that Scott had some terrible holes in both tournaments, but then recovered to play great golf and win. Interestingly, Scott is going back to Steve Williams for the four Majors this year. Easy to understand, even for David Clark. Williams was on the bag for 13 of the 14 majors that Tiger Woods has won and was with Adam Scott when he won the Masters in 2013.

The other story behind the scenes last week, was the worst World Golf Championship score ever recorded, 37 over par (Scott won at 12 under), by Steven Bowditch, another Australian. After four rounds in the 80’s, not bad for most of us except he is a world ranked PGA Tour professional, Bowditch commented, “Hey, it’s just golf.”

He didn’t mean that he didn’t care, he just meant that he accepted that no matter how much you love the game, it doesn’t always love you back. Or as your financial advisor keeps reminding you, “Past performance is no guarantee of future performance.”

The important thing is that he didn’t give up or get down on himself. Doral is called the Blue Monster for a reason (Unfortunately, it is now conspicuously re-branded as Trump Doral by its new ego-obsessed owner). It’s a course that punishes every errant shot. Bowditch still made $48,000 for the four days and was finished early, so he could head to the practice tee and work on preparing for the next event.

Lessons for entrepreneurs: 

  1. You may have to change tools, tactics and technologies, but talent and hard work can still make you a winner.
  2. Choose good partners that complement what you do best, give you honest feedback and help you make better decisions.
  3. Do not be discouraged by one bad week,

And keep hitting them long and straight,

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Read more articles like this one at: Business is Like Golf Blog

Visit LearningEntrerpreneurship.com and join our mailing list for more ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Check out Uncle Ralph’s books, “Don’t Do It the Hard Way” and “The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans” Available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

 

Jordan Spieth2Last year Jordan Spieth made history with five PGA wins, including two Majors and the FedEx Cup, for over $20 million in earnings as a 22-year old.

Can he repeat that performance this season?  Well, against the other Tour winners in a high profile tournament in Hawaii last month he won by eight strokes. That’s pretty convincing.

A few more tournaments around the world and he has only finished occasionally in the Top Five.  So he doesn’t win them all, but he is still No. 1 in the World Golf Rankings in spite of pressure from Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Ricky Fowler.

Spieth is a year older and wiser with lessons learned from winning under pressure last year.  He will be tough to beat.  We will be watching at the Masters in April.

How is that like business?

One year is not enough. Each year you start again from zero and try to repeat your best performance.  No one is very impressed unless you can sustain it.

Consider Phil Mickelson – challenging himself and the competition for twenty-five years with forty-two wins including five Majors and still in the mix to win again until the last putt on the 18th green at Pebble Beach last Sunday. He has already won the Masters three times (2004, 2006, 2010), so maybe the 45-year old will be duelling with Spieth in April. It will be fun to watch.

 

 

 

Day@BMWJason Day achieved his goals on the weekend, winning the BMW Championship, leading in the FedEx Cup standings and becoming No. 1 in the World Golf Rankings.

It was the No. 1 ranking that he was most excited about – a lifelong goal achieved at age 27 after six years as a professional golfer.  And proudly the third Australian after Greg Norman  (before the Tiger Woods reign) and Adam Scott more recently.  Day has been impressive with nearly flawless golf over the last two months and dominant in three of his last five tournaments, including the British and Canadian Opens. He is now one of only five golfers in the last 36 years that have one five or more PGA tournaments in a season.  The others are Tom Watson, Nick Price, Vijay Singh and Tiger Woods – 10 times! (We still can’t get used to him not being a threat to win every outing.)

Jason Day announced his goal to be No. 1 eight years ago when he first started on the PGA Tour and was ridiculed for it. It did seem an impossible dream when Tiger Woods was well into his longest reign at the top of World Golf Rankings over the five years that ended in 2010.  And now competition is even tougher, as Day readily acknowledges.  Over the last five years, the No.1 spot has changed names 19 times (three times in the last two weeks between Day, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy) among eight different players, including Woods again in 2013.

Driven by competition.

Day explains his motivation and performance as being inspired first by Tiger Woods and now by his biggest challengers – Spieth and McIlroy.

Another reminder: competition is good for everybody.