For as long as the game has been played, golf has been linked to business. Playing golf with a business associate not only gives an insight into the person’s character, mindset, and willpower, but also helps to build a relationship outside the office setting.
Many business deals have been made while waiting on a tee box or while walking off a green. But there are also lessons you can take from the game itself that are of value to entrepreneurs and executives alike.
Plan ahead—learn the course
All professional golfers spend time before a tournament starts to walk the course, taking notes and typically playing a practice round. Understanding the importance of knowing what’s around the corner or over the hill gives a player an advantage when deciding what shot to hit. In business, studying what’s ahead can help to make informed decisions. Before launching into a new venture or attempting to optimize operations, gather as much information as possible.
Lay out your strategy and be flexible to changes
In golf, different shots require different strategies. Accounting for hazards, distances and green slope can change your plan of attack and the type of shot needed. The same holds true in business—after collecting information about a situation, you then need to map out a strategy to take full advantage of the plan.
Knowing your capability while planning a strategy is also important, both on the course and in the office. Golfers who can drive the ball 300-plus yards know they can approach a long par-5 differently than those who are shorter hitters. Knowing the resources you have available and setting realistic goals can ensure choosing a strategy that will succeed.
Also, be prepared to change your strategy on the fly, because just like on the course, sometimes the shot doesn’t go where you planned.
Look long term
A round of golf is 18 holes, which requires long-term vision. Par or birdie on the first hole can be a good start, but that doesn’t guarantee a good score at the end. Likewise, a bad first hole doesn’t mean the round will be a disaster. The same holds true for business—a bad day or one bad quarter shouldn’t make or break your business or career.
Focusing on the long term to build something that can handle ups and downs should be the goal of your business. Prioritizing immediate growth and sales over building something designed to sustain growth over time has been the downfall of many companies.
Effort produces results
Most golfers know that the more you play and practice, the better you get. Ask any golf coach and they will tell you that while golfers with talent will obviously help their team, much of the time it’s the players who spend time on the driving range or practice green until dark that produce the best results. Consistent and deliberate work is the best way to improve, and those not willing to do so will quickly plateau.
As an entrepreneur or business executive, your success will be directly tied to the amount of work you are willing to put into it. If you started a business to work less, you’re probably going to be disappointed, or quickly fail. Likewise, if you only head to the course every couple weeks, without putting any time in on the range or practice green, you can plan to be frustrated with the results.
The principles of the game of golf can translate to many business situations. Planning ahead, developing a strategy, looking long term, and putting in the work are all solid facets of any public relations or marketing campaign, just as any golfer knows they are keys to success at the game.