For many, golf is more than a sport or a pastime; it’s practice for life, a place to learn lessons useful in all aspects of business, relationships, and navigating the adult world. There is a reason many successful people play golf – it teaches a number of important life lessons. Some of these include:
- Patience: Golf is often derided by non-fans as a slow, boring sport. However, this pacing means golfers learn to be patient on the course, which later feeds into all aspects of life. The golfer must not only think about and visualize every shot, but allow their competitors or companions time to do the same.
- Problem Solving: A golfer must visualize his shot and account for every factor that might influence that shot. Wind speed and direction, topography, landscape features, humidity, precipitation; these all have an effect on the path of a golf ball.
When the hole is on the other side of a stand of trees or the ball falls into a sand trap, the player must calculate the best course of action. There are an infinite number of ways the ball can be hit, but only a few will have the best results. By learning to solve problems encountered on the course, a golfer becomes better at solving problems in all aspects of life.
- Learning to Adapt: Once the ball is hit, a golfer can’t change its trajectory or influence where it will land. It is required to move forward and make the best of the situation. In golf, as in life, anger and frustration occur, but getting back in the game is most important. A bad shot can’t be changed, but what can be changed is how the player moves forward after a poor swing. Learn from mistakes, and use them in a positive way.
- Staying Calm: The potential frustrations in golf are endless. Whether from a poorly hit ball or an unexpected gust of wind, a golfer faces obstacles throughout the course of his game. Learning to handle those calmly, to see the affects and what is needed overcome them, is important not only for golf but for life as well.
- Practice: As in every sport, the path to improvement is through consistent practice. Golfers must continually look for flaws in their game and practice repeatedly until those flaws are corrected. Persistence and continual practice are lessons that translate well from golf to life.
- Integrity: Most people who follow golf are aware of the story of Bobby Jones’ integrity. He was tied with another golfer, and as he was setting up to swing, his club tapped the ball. No one but Bobby saw the ball move, and all of the officials as well as his opponent told him so. But Bobby Jones, knowing that he had caused the ball to move, called the obligatory one stroke penalty on himself.
Golf remains a sport in which honor and integrity can make a difference in the outcome of the game, and fair play and good sportsmanship are valued highly. Having integrity in all of life will not only set you apart from most, but leads to respect and success.