01 September 2020

Never Golf Alone

"You swing your best when you have the fewest things to think about."

--Bobby Jones (First person to achieve golf's Grand Slam in a single year--1930.)

You can take the game of golf a long way in life.  At least that's the message I repeat often to our grandsons, Lucas and Brody when they visit during the summer in Michigan.  Last year I signed them up for lessons to work on the fundamentals of the game.         

Golf is also filled with lessons for life and business if we know where to look.  Here are five that come to mind:

1.   Guided experience.  Sometimes we cut a unique path on our own but for most, it helps to have someone show the way.  In golf, that person was Bob Smith.  He combines a low handicap with a gift for teaching.  (Bob eventually became a college professor.)  

He knows how the game is played, etiquette, too.    

In the spring of 1961, my parents bought me a set of essential clubs for beginners and a Scottish-plaid golf bag at Montgomery Ward in Owosso, Michigan.  As soon as the snow melted, Bob and I were teeing up at Corunna Hills Golf Course for my first game.  

After nine holes and 99 strokes, I thought the worst was behind me.  That was wishful thinking.  I would need a lot of practice and an improved mindset to continue playing this game. 

Nevertheless, Bob Smith opened a door that remains ajar. 

2.   Framing the day.   As I am walking out the door each Monday morning for a golf outing with our neighbors, my wife Chris says--"Make a hole-in-one today."  

Beginning any day with a clear goal increases the likelihood of getting something done.  

Successful people manage themselves by having purpose and clarity in their lives. They know that if everything is important, nothing is important.  Their day is fashioned so it's productive in the right areas.  Being focused is a good way for leadership to minimize distractions and stay on task. 

3.   Timely coaching.  Just as Bob Smith was a morale-booster in the early days so are golfing partners John Shoup and Duane Pierce presently.

In fine-drawn ways they remind me that managing one's attitude is critical for doing well. Ultimately we play against ourself--and less against others.   


Russ Bredholt hole-in-one. Number nine, Red Course, par 3, 124 yards.
Hickory Ridge Golf Course, Galesburg, Michigan.
24 August 2020 (C)

Both witnessed our hole-in-one and knew what to do. See if the ball is in the cup. Take a picture for the record.  And confirm that the golf ball, a Pinnacle, was mine. 

It was.  

On the way home we celebrated by having lunch at Scooters Malt Shoppe.  Guess who paid?

4.   A game of character.  Golf is popular, someone said, because you can name your own score.  Between the tee box and final putt, each golfer in the amateur ranks is really on their own.  Keeping track of your score becomes a matter of personal responsibility.  

Using fuzzy math is unnecessary.  If tempted--don't yield.  It's not worth it in life or sports. Unless you're on the PGA tour or playing tournament golf at your club, no one except you cares about your final score.
     
5.    Don't give up.   About 3 million golfers quit each year and a similar number begin, according to the National Golf Foundation.  When I picked up my golf ball from the cup on the ninth hole of the Red Course at Hickory Ridge, I was relieved I hadn't stopped playing the game.

Just a few good drives, chips, or putts, strategically placed, were enough to keep me coming back one more time.  

The same is true in organizational life.  A few good days, properly placed, can help us make progress, even in the midst of a pandemic.  

Don't give up on yourself, your recreation, or the business.  There's more to be gained by persevering than quitting, regardless of your lot in life.  


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