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10 Ways that Golf is like Life

August 17, 2009

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Golf is a game that lends itself to life lessons.  Consider every round of golf like a week of your life.

  1. Each hole is like a day.  Some days are better than others.
  2. Golf and life can be both frustrating and exhilarating at the same time.
  3. The actual goal of each day is the cup/hole.  To achieve your goal(s), you have to be consistent and even-keeled, so that you can keep moving forward.
  4. Getting off to a good start (good drive in the fairway or good breakfast and morning) is important, so that you can stay out of the weeds.
  5. Finishing strong and closing out your day (one or two putting), giving you a good feeling going into the next day.
  6. Sleeping is that walk between picking up your ball and teeing off on the next hole.  Down time, for meditation, reflection, relaxation, rejuvenation.
  7. Even though you play and (possibly compete) in a group, in the end, its your individual effort that determines how far you go.
  8. How you deal with a ‘bad’ situation (bad lie, being in a sand trap) can either make or break your confidence.  This is one of the keys to life – recovery and resiliency in the face of one or a series of bad events (shots).  No matter what happens, you’ve got to keep playing and moving forward.
  9. Dedicated practice (at the range, with proper instruction) improves the quality of your game.  Dedicated practice (spiritually, with proper spiritual guidance) improves the quality of your life.  It just helps you ‘play’ better and have more confidence.
  10. Once in a while, even when there is risk at hand, you’ve got to take a shot at making something special happen.  Whether that entails going for the green in two on a Par 5 or getting up the courage to ask for a raise at work, life and golf are games of calculated risk based on circumstances, opportunities and self-knowledge.

This analogy can also be taken in context of Round-to-Day, Month, Year or even Lifetime instead of Round-to-Week.  For now, keep the analogy in the Round-to-Week and Hole-to-Day context.  Think about each new day as an opportunity to move your life forward, towards your goals.  In golf, the goal is clear – get the ball in the hole; in life, it’s not so obvious.  We have to invest a good amount of time in developing our vision and defining, and then revisiting, our goals.  Once we have our goals in sight, then the life becomes an effort of refining our tools and capabilities in such a way that helps us move more effectively towards those aims.

During my research for this post, I came across a few books and websites that parallel Golf to Life in some way or another.  I haven’t read any of them, so I can’t stand behind them – but I like the idea, so some of these might be worth checking out.  If and after I read any of them, I will revert back with feedback:

  1. Golfer’s Guide to the Meaning of Life by Gary Player
  2. The Human Side of Golf by (article) Byron Nelson, who has a whole series of books on golf
  3. Life Lessons & Golf by Edward Tischler
  4. Golf Life Lessons

Have a great round!

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