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Three Business Lessons Learned on the Golf Course

A good day of golf can lead to a good day at work. There are a number of lessons a golfer learns on the course that can be applied in the workplace. Here are a few to consider:

There’s a popular saying in the world of golf that “a bad day at golf still beats a good day at work.” While many will agree that there is some wisdom and truth to this saying, you can also make the case that a good day of golf can lead to a good day at work. How, you ask? There are a number of lessons a golfer learns on the course that can be applied in the workplace. Here are a few to consider:

Put it Behind You and Press On

Every golfer will hit their share of bad shots during a given round. This means the key to an enjoyable time on the course is focusing on how we can minimize those bad shots, put them behind us, and move on to the next shot. If we let those bad shots fester and consume us, not only will it lead to a bad round, it will run counter to the point of playing golf in the first place – having fun. It’s easy to see how this lesson can be applied in the workplace. Whether you own a business, are a long-time employee, or are in the early stages of your career, the ability to minimize mistakes, learn from them, and put them behind you are skills that will help you achieve success in business, and have fun doing it.

Hold Yourself Accountable

Golf may be the only sport in the world where a player has to call a penalty on themselves. Other sports have umpires, referees, and judges to ensure fair play, but on the golf course the honor system is in play. Violating that code of honor is a violation of the history, integrity, and spirit of the game, and it sends a very strong message about your character to those around you. Play the game the right way and you’ll feel good regardless of the outcome. The same is true in business. It seems like every day we see or read an example of a business trying to skirt the rules or push the boundaries of sound ethics in an attempt to get ahead or make an extra buck. People like to do business with people they like and trust, and one of the best ways to earn trust is to hold yourself accountable. Be honest and direct. And if you make a mistake, own up to it, fix it, and focus on minimizing mistakes in the future.

Keep Score for Yourself

Another component of the golf honor system is that each player is responsible for keeping their own score, and for doing it fairly and honestly. Aside from the honesty and character involved in keeping your own score, it provides an opportunity to identify your strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities to improve. When keeping your own score in business, you have the same opportunity. It doesn’t matter if you’re a business owner, an employee, or an intern, it is important to set goals for yourself, keep score against those goals, perform an honest assessment of your performance, and make any adjustments necessary to spur improvement.

It’s easy during a round of golf and in the workplace to point fingers and blame bad performance on distractions and other people, but it’s much more beneficial to take responsibility, learn from the experience and use that knowledge to improve your performance.


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