Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

What Playing Golf Taught Me About Business

Before earning my stripes as a full-time golf writer, I had several businesses ranging from wine exports to agriculture tech. But it has surprised me how much my favorite sport has prepared me for life.

In this article, I reveal how playing golf can help your business.

Sure, I learned critical analysis and strategy at law school, but golf allowed me to put my education into action. Most importantly, the game taught me resilience, a skill that has helped me several times in my life. But it also taught me much more.

Let me get right into it.

Lesson 1 – Invest In The Right Tools

A few years back, a study found that golfers who used a pushcart got better scores than those who carried their bags. The hypothesis was that you could put more energy into your shots by using less energy walking the course.

This realization could lead you to buy a golf cart. Or invest in better golf clubs because the tools you use on the course can save you strokes.

This advice applies to business too. Working hard is essential, but having the right tools can increase your chances of success.

If you’re a plumber, do you have the latest basin wrench? If you’re an accountant, are you using the latest financial software? If you manage a team, have you automated your payroll by hiring a payroll service?

There’s so much to do as a business owner. Having the right tools can help you focus on what you’re best at.

Lesson 2 – Analysis

Any business owner knows that you have to analyze your proposed venture to determine if it is viable.

You start by looking at your internal resources, such as your expertise and finances. Then, you assess the external factors, such as the market and your competitors. How could you gain the upper hand over them?

Golf requires a similar analysis. You start by looking at your resources, including your clubs and experience. What types of shots are your strengths? Which ones are your weaknesses?

Then you need to assess how the wind, elevation, moisture, and the angle of your lie could impact your shot.

Once you have assessed both the internal and external factors, you can plot a strategy to execute your shot.

Lesson 3 – Strategy

My first golf coach repeated Benjamin Franklin’s phrase, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

Before you walk onto the golf course, you’ll need to understand your equipment and skills to make strategic decisions on the course easily. Which club should you hit? What shot should you play? And where should you land the ball?

Without this strategy, you’ll struggle out there. The same applies to business.

After conducting a business analysis, you’ll prepare your strategy. What is your 5-year business plan? And how will you execute it with the resources at hand?

It sounds elementary, but I have seen many businesses operate without any strategy.

Lesson 4 – Resilience

Resilience is arguably the most important skill that golf has taught me. My erratic long game probably helped me learn this lesson faster than most.

When you hit your ball out of bounds on the first tee, you could immediately get the yips.

However, in time, you realize there are 18 holes ahead, and you need to get the job done. So, you focus and calm yourself, and maybe still return a favorable score.

We all have those moments in a business where we lose a client or experience a bad day. The most important part is how you rebound from those. Are you going to sit and feel sorry for yourself? Or will you jump on the phone, call more leads, and drum up more business?

Lesson 5 – Networking

Golf is an individual sport, but it can build a formidable community. Sometimes in golf and business, we feel alone and helpless. Nothing goes our way, and it leads to feelings of isolation.

However, every time I have had a bad day on the golf course, those around me have tried to pick up my spirits. The same has applied to my business endeavors.

When I felt hopeless, I reached out to mentors and friends who have guided me through treacherous terrain. Your business network in your community, and they will be there when you need it. You cannot do it alone.

Lesson 6 – Business Is A Journey


and golf are a journey, not a destination. One hole or deal does not shape your scorecard or your business. There are 18 holes on a golf course, and your net score is what matters.

You should always strive to grow and improve your business whether it’s a physical brick and mortar store or an online insurance company. The moment it stops growing, it’s time to reevaluate your position.

It will never be completely smooth. What is most important is how you overcome those bumps in the road.

Join Our Small Business Community

Get the latest news, resources and tips to help you and your small business succeed.