Bobby Jones, the amateur golfer who helped design the Augusta National Golf Club and cofounded the Masters Tournament, is credited with this appropriate quote that reflects the parallels of golf and life:
“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.”
Golf can teach its players many life lessons, including those listed below.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff or dwell on a bad shot
We all make mistakes. This sport teaches us that one or two bad shots aren’t going to ruin an entire round of golf. Learn to forgive yourself and move on. The best approach is to laugh at your bad shots and try again.
- Concentration and focus are important
Golf isn’t a game where you can multitask. It requires an immense amount of focus and concentration in order to improve your skills. Maintaining your attentiveness for 18 holes is something that’s also useful for life in general, as focusing on any task at hand until it’s complete can help you be a more productive person.
- Learn to accept things out of your control
If you play golf a lot, you can probably count a myriad of times when a situation did not go your way. A shot you hit that you felt was perfect ended up in the sand trap or the water, or the ball didn’t carry as far down the fairway as you had planned. Just as you shouldn’t dwell on the result of a bad shot in golf, you have to accept things in life that are out of your control.
- Use problem-solving techniques
Succeeding at golf is often about strategy. You find yourself in a certain spot, and you know where you want to end up. The question is, how do you get there? This can manifest itself in many ways. Maybe you need to learn to navigate the course on a windy day, or you need to plan your attack for a series of shots. Whatever it may be, golf teaches you how to solve problems effectively, and this skill is applicable to life in general.
- Patience is necessary
Golf teaches its players how to have patience, and if you’re not a patient person, you can learn how to be through playing golf. You can’t win by getting ahead of yourself — you have to take one shot at a time. Patience is a virtue when it comes to both life and golf.
- Quiet environments can be beneficial
In order to be productive, most people need a certain level of quiet, just like on the golf course, where there is a certain level of respect players and spectators have for the people around them since the game requires such a high level of focus.
- Be honest
Maintaining honesty and integrity is important in our relationships or work tasks, and golf is also a game of honesty. You are your own rules official on the golf course — no one is watching your every shot. Sometimes you may be forced to apply a penalty to yourself, and this can be hard to do, but in the end, those are the rules and you have to follow them. Just as you can’t get ahead in life by cheating, you can’t be the best golf player by being dishonest.
Matthew Southgate, an English professional golfer who plays on the European tour, believes that golf is analogous to life. He says:
“Golf is so like life in general. You rarely get what you want. You have to work hard for everything. And you have to believe in yourself and what you are doing.”
Interested in improving your golf game? Check out Basking Ridge Country Club’s Golf Academy, which offers individual, group and family lessons. Contact Basking Ridge Country Club for more information at 908-766-8200.