Business is Like Golf
Easy to get into trouble and hard to get the results you want.
It 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 Chatterson
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