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Top 5 Lessons Golf Can Teach You

Golf is by far my favorite sport, meaning that Master’s week is my favorite weekend of the year. The game has taught me a lot since I was a kid just learning. There are many lessons that golf can teach you that are relevant to everyday life, especially life in the public sector. I wanted to share with you my top 5 lessons that golf can teach you.

1. Punctuality

If you’re playing in a tournament and you have a 9:00 a.m. tee time, that does not mean 9:01. That means be on the first tee box at 8:55 ready to go. Even when you’re not in a tournament, when you have a tee time it is imperative that you arrive promptly or you will cause delays for everyone else. If you are late to a tournament, you are automatically disqualified – wouldn’t that be an interesting concept for people to implement in a work environment?

2. Confession / Honesty

Golf is a game that requires the utmost honesty. I cannot even tell you of all the times where minor transgressions on the course require one to self-report the infraction. My favorite example is of J.P. Hayes who accidentally used an unapproved golf ball for only two shots during a qualifying match. When he realized this, he self-reported to a PGA Tour official and Hayes was disqualified and could not compete in the next year’s PGA Tour. J.P. Hayes will always be remembered for his integrity, something we should all strive for. In an office setting, if you make a mistake be honest about it and move forward.

3. Quietness

I’ve often heard non-golfers complain about how subdued and “boring” a round of golf is. Golf is one of those things that requires an immense amount of concentration. Learning how to be quiet when you need to be and when it is ok to loosen up is vital for the golf course but also important in life. Ever been in a situation where someone was speaking out of place or not respecting others?

4. Problem Solving

Sand traps, trees, ponds, rivers, and deep rough can all be unsettling to on the course. A common technique is to visualize the end result of a shot, similar to the way a project team would map out a path to success. This visualization and problem solving can be applied all throughout life.

5. Persistence, Practice, and Learning

No one I know is as gifted as the PGA Tour professionals who have had a golf club in hand before they could walk. This is a sport that no one is good at in the beginning. I gained the most skill in high school when I worked at a country club where I could play and be immersed in golf daily. However, now that I don’t have the luxury of playing daily I get rusty. Continually learning, being persistent, and practicing regularly are what make people successful golfers – not surprisingly those are also the characteristics of some of the most successful people that I know. Want to learn more in your career? Try out GovLoop training, career resources, and community groups.

Do you have any tips that you learned on the golf course that make you successful in life? What lessons have you learned through sports that you apply in the public sector?

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Michael Stevens

Great post. I also like the networking skills you get to practice when playing with professional colleagues or even when strangers are thrown on the tee with you. I guess I have been networking since I was 10 years old…

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