Lessons from Golf
Posted on April 7, 2016
Well, today is day one of the 2016 Masters Tournament held in Augusta Georgia. While many of you might not know that much about golf or this tournament, let me try to give you a few basic facts.
The Masters is the first of the major golf tournaments held the first week of April each year. While the other three tournaments are held at various locations, the Masters is always held at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia.
The first Masters was held way back in 1934 and the name “The Masters” was adopted in 1939. One other interesting fact is that beginning 1949 the winner of the tournament has received a coveted green jacket. The jackets are kept at the golf course in a particular room. Only a first-time winner and current champion can remove the jacket from the course but must return the jacket one year after the victory. It might be his personal property, but it must remain at the course.
So, all of this talk about golf and what does it have to do with leadership?
There are many things that I could focus on, but as I thought about golf, I was reminded of my experience playing golf. I have played many times and at one time in my career, it was my responsibility to take clients out to the golf course.
I remember many times being on in a foursome out on a perfectly manicured green. Enjoying nature and using some questionable math while writing on my score card.
While I might have been playing the same game like the other guys with me, my goal was an individual one. We were polite used proper golf etiquette, taking turns and giving each other high fives, our purpose was to leave that day beating the other guys.
I know that many schools have golf teams and overall team scores win school championships, deep down there is a sense of individualism that goes with the game of golf.
The lessons that I would like to share with you today has a focus on teamwork because leadership lessons always include the team.
The first lesson deals with a tournament that I played in called “best ball.” The rules allow for all players to tee off. They then choose which shot is best and then all play their next shots from the location of the best shot. This continues to the end of the hole, and then the team gets the lower score. The great part of this game is that while some on the foursome might be great for the tee shot, others might be better at other section of the hole. This allows for everyone’s strengths to be used and also allows others to participate and work on their game.
This is a great image of teamwork. Allowing everyone on the team to participate and use their strengths to help the team accomplish the goal. We as leaders need to remember that we need to make sure that everyone is contributing in the areas of their strengths to have the best team possible.
Another leadership lesson that golf has taught me deals with focusing on the details. When you play the game of golf, there are so many things that can effect the game. From the condition of the course, the equipment you use, to the form that you have as you swing. Those are just a few; there are much more.
This is the same with a team. Being successful as a leader depends on so many details that can not be taken for granted. I know from personal experience that attitudes, personalities, tone of speech and words used can effect the team and cause major leadership problems.
The last lesson that I will share deals with the hardest lesson that I learned when playing the game of golf. That lesson is patience. The correct swing does not just magically happen overnight; it takes practicing the swing correctly many times at the driving range. Patience is also required when you make a mistake. It is easy to make a bad shot and then lose your patience and the entire game falls apart. If you are patient, you learn from and move on from the mistake. There will always be another hole and another game.
As leaders, we will all make mistakes. We need to have patience, with ourselves and also with our team, and learn from those mistakes.
I know that not everyone with being interested with the reference from golf, however, however, this week’s experiment can work either way. That challenge has many parts. First, are you playing best ball or is your focus on your personal game? Next, are you paying attention to all of the small details in your game? And lastly, are you focusing on the mistakes, yours and your teams? Examine your game and make the necessary adjustments.