Category Archives: lessons

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

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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.


Enjoy the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, but don’t miss the opportunity to learn some lessons to help your business go for gold!





You can help your business to perform like an Olympic champion if you take these ideas from the Olympics as your inspiration:
  • Have a four-year plan to achieve Olympic records


  • Decide: Go for gold, or Quit.


  • Learn from your losses


  • Push your limits


  • It’s not for the money


  • Don’t cheat


  • It’s never too late

To see the full article visit: “Olympic Lessons for Entrepreneurs.”

Be inspired to take your performance to Olympic heights.


Golf is like business in this economy too.
Even Tiger Woods recently got fired by GM as the spokeman for Buick. So the lesson for business owners is….

If your business is in trouble and you have a part-time employee earning $7 million a year, now is a good time to let him go. In fact now is a good time to make a lot of decisions that might not have been very popular in the good ol’ days, but are pretty obviously necessary now.

Oh yeah, and this is not a good time to flaunt the corporate jet. Unless you’ve had a very good year in golf or business, and want to distinguish yourself as still having the cash to spend on frivolous luxury and convenience.

My Dad used to say, “Nothing succeeds like success”. I’m sure you’ve heard the expression also. My interpretation is that the more you succeed the more you, and others, expect to see you succeed.

It is true in business and golf. A couple of examples.

Out for another round with my 7-year old grandson and this time he did much better. A strong, smooth swing was connecting more frequently and sending the ball long and straight (for a 7-year old). Every golfer’s favourite swing result. On top of that he rammed a couple of 4 to 5-foot putts straight into the cup to the surprise of all of us watching and to his delight. He was so encouraged with his game that he insisted on going immediately to the driving range and practice green after our nine hole round. He was motivated.

I had a similar experience earlier this week in a rare round with my son-in-law. He is a very competitive former fullback with a vicious swing and a huge slice that he manages to keep in the fairway. We were both ready to impress each other. I got the better start.

Off the first tee, a short dogleg left downhill to a small well-bunkered green, I hit a perfect (for me) 5-iron that drew around the corner and ran down about 225 yards. Hit a full sandwedge about 100 yards and landed right side of the pin, then sank a curling 18-foot putt for birdie. I’m loving this course! (Son-in-law lost his drive in the trees and went downhill, literally, from there.)

The rest of my round was the usual roller coaster from par to triple bogey but I was not bothered after the great starting hole and the expectation by me and my playing partners that I was going to hit it well. That first hole just kept me confident and relaxed for the day and happy to come back soon.

The lesson learned was one often stated by the pros, “Keep visualizing your successes, not your failures, and that is what you are more likely to repeat.”

I had already learned from my seven year-old grandson that hitting balls at the driving range was not much fun. So yesterday we tried his suggestion of hitting balls on the soccer field. We made a game of hitting them from one end down through the goal posts at the other end.

His swing technique is getting better and he hit a couple of good 7-irons at least 50 yards. Scared me once as he sent a long one towards the parking lot and all those windshields sitting there. That and taking out a few of his little brother’s teeth on the backswing were the biggest risks. The little brother, age four, also did quite well with his hockey slap shot technique from his hours of road hockey.

All in all we had fun and made progress. That’s as good as it gets in golf (and business).