4 Personal Development Lessons That Golf Teaches You

Musings of an eternal beginner

· Personal Development
  1. Patience

Whether you are a beginner or a professional, you are guaranteed to have spells where you just cant seem to get the shot that you want. This spell can last for a few swings, or a few years! We’ve all watched the professionals fighting to get their form back, and even though we cringe at the shared pain of watching them struggle, we have to admire their perseverance at working to pull out of the slump.

The truth of the matter that each attempt is just that - one attempt. Each imperfection in form and swing can be corrected with self-analysis and the patience to continue working at it.

The most important shot in golf is the next one”, Ben Hogan

2. Mental Strength

The persistence to keep working at a skill despite the self imposed belief that things aren’t quite going our way develops our mental strength. Most of us get discouraged when things don’t seem to be working out the way we planned. Feelings of inadequacy creep into our psyche. To compound this, in golf there is usually someone watching you fight this mental battle. You have to calm the emotional reaction to your mistakes in the face of spectators, opponents and even your partners! Golf builds mental strength quickly. Recovering from a sliced shot, or a swing and a miss (I challenge any golfer to say this has never happened to them) requires the fortitude to put the bad shot behind you immediately and switch your mental focus to the next shot that you have to make.

This is probably the most impactful skill you can develop. Master this practice and you can easily apply it to your personal and professional life.

The mind messes up more shots than the body” Tommy Bolt

3. You’ll Never Be Perfect

These are tough words for Type “A” overachievers! The truth is we are all working toward an end result and if you think you have achieved perfection today then you have missed something. While “non-golfers” cringe at the idea of watching the sport on the television and may jokingly equate it to watching grass grow, the fans will enjoy the strategy of every club selection and swing. If you are a beginner like me you realize that perfection is impossible but you know you have to apply the best tactics every time despite knowing that!

Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get bad breaks from good shots; you get good breaks from bad shots - but you have to play the ball where it lies” Bobby Jones

4. You Are The Only One Who Can Improve Your Game

Instructors and caddies are invaluable to providing you with insights to the areas that you can improve on. In the same way personal development coaches can tune in quickly on your blockage areas and help you create a plan to overcome them. However, the only true improvement comes from within. Once you take their guidance on board, only you can make the shift to your game (or your life) to experience the outcome that you are looking for. Once you realize the problem lies within yourself and there is no-one else to blame, a humbling catharsis occurs.

Improvement begins with I” Arnold H. Glasgow