How Golf Mirrors Business

You don’t have to be around me for long to learn that one of the things I enjoy most is a great round of golf. In fact, many of you have participated in my “Wednesdays Fore Fun” and other summer golf events.

Golfing is, of course, an opportunity to get some fresh air and exercise while enjoying the natural beauty of Colorado. It also captures my focus and makes me think; it can be challenging, relaxing, and rewarding all at the same time, while having fun and enjoying the company of great friends and colleagues.

In these, and many other ways, golf mirrors business. Here are three ways I see the parallel.

1. Choosing Your Course and Your Foursome
Choosing the right course to play can make the difference between having fun and taking on something too challenging for your skill. Like golf, in business, we play to our strengths, and successful companies are rooted in a mission for how the “game” will be played. Next comes the strategy for making that mission a reality and planning how that strategy will be executed by taking a long view of both the big picture AND the details. In other words, you’re always looking at the macro yet focusing on one hole at a time. Your team is equally important. In a successful business, it’s all about who you associate with – and that goes not only for the people you work with, but the advisors you trust, and the clients you serve. I’ve heard many stories about companies that either didn’t launch because the right people weren’t involved from the beginning or didn’t excel because some people were holding back progress. Whether it’s your team, your client base, or your foursome, those you choose to associate with can make all the difference in the final score.

2. On the Course and Keeping Score
Once you’ve selected your course and who you’ll surround yourself with, it’s time to get down to business, perfect your swing, and track your progress.
• Choose your golf clubs, balls, and tees carefully – you need the right tools for the job.
• Aim for the flag on the green – achieving goals requires focus and precision.
• Calculate the yardage to accurately set your sights on your goal.
• Practice your swing and keep your eye on the ball.
• Each unique hole you encounter must be played differently – every day brings new challenges.
• Shoot for par or better – stick to your budget.
• Keep your scorecard up to date – constantly track your progress.
• Mulligan – sometimes we need to start over!
• Track your handicap – measure your performance against success and the performance of others to keep improving.

3. Live with Your Shot
In golf and in business, we sometimes shoot a hole in one where everything falls into place and the outcome is extraordinary. Other times, things don’t go as planned and the ball ends up in the water, or we need to take a penalty stroke. Fortunately, we always get another shot. Golfers have short memories – there are new opportunities as we approach each hole on the course, and different ways to play it.

I think my love of golf and business go hand in hand because of the similarities in how we approach the game, the strategies that must be thought through for success, and the experiences and relationships that are built while on the course. We always have an opportunity to look at the course from a different perspective, revise our strategy, choose a different club, keep our eye on the ball, improve our swing, and approach each hole with a fresh idea. But most of all, it’s how you play the game. Play the ball where it lies – integrity trumps everything!

Written by

Rick Arthur is a CFO whose expertise is built on Financial Intelligence and 35 years in senior financial roles. Coupled with a CEO’s perspective and the experience of building his own $20 million company, he brings a unique depth of insight into business from the top down. Wired to get to know people, Rick works hand-in-hand with business owners of intentional, growth-oriented companies, solidifying relationships as a trusted advisor and confidant to his clients. He leverages his experience to help business owners gain traction and stay laser-focused on the company’s vision, cash flow, and profitability – all while creating big picture solutions for strategic planning, growth and sustainable success.