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7 Life Lessons From The Golf Course

My dad is a golfer. My husband is a golfer. My son is a golfer. Plus, my son-in-law is a very skilled golf pro. The most important men in my life play golf.

I honestly never had much interest, but since I’ve left the 9-5 I kind of knew it would happen eventually. I got started the other day.

Besides having a fun day, here are 7 life lessons I picked up on my way to being a novice golfer.

1. Focus on the ball.

In order to actually hit the golf ball you need to focus on the ball while you are swinging. It’s really easy to over-focus on the swing, which is the action, the moving part of the game, but it’s the stationary ball that should grab your focus. The same is true in life. When you want to hit a goal, you need to focus on a steadfast goal, not on all the activity you’re taking to get there. Sometimes we get so caught up in the doing, we forget about where it’s supposed to be taking us. The key is to allow the steadfast goal to guide our actions into an alignment that moves us forward.

2. Don’t forget your tee.

The use of a golf tee is permitted on the first shot of each hole. While not required, this provides an advantage for driving the ball because it elevates the ball above the ground conditions. Nearly every time I teed off, I walked away with out retrieving my tee, and while we had extras and they aren’t expensive, why leave behind a perfectly usable tee? In life, there are people who lift us above the chaos just like a golf tee lifts the ball from the grass. When you’ve got good people on your side, lifting you, allowing you to go further in life, don’t forget to bring them with you. Don’t leave a good tee behind.

3. Dress appropriately. Now, my husband said I had to wear a collared shirt and that ladies wear a short skirt. <pause for laughter here>

Well, I don’t think that last part is exactly a requirement, but he’s so cute I’ll give him a pass. I dressed like a golfer, and it made me feel like a golfer.

In my professional life I was given the advice to “dress for the job you want”. Although many workplaces have grown quite casual over the years, I think it says a lot to dress according to that better circumstance you might want in your career or your life in general.

4. Etiquette is important.

I’ve still got a lot to learn about golf etiquette, but one important rule is to avoid distracting other player. Noise and movement can really throw someone off when they are playing a shot. There are actually etiquette guidelines for the whole end-to-end experience with golf, from the clubhouse to the course to the bar. I still believe in practicing good etiquette out there in the real world. Call me old fashioned, but I still like to think there should be a certain decorum to social interactions, and while I’m all for informality and comfortability, I truly appreciate good manners.

5. Live to play another day.

This was pretty much my first time playing real golf! I was discovering muscles I didn’t even know I had and the 101°F heat index was really exhausting. Around the 8th hole I started to feel it taking a toll. I made it to the 10th and decided to sit out the remainder of the game. I was spent, and happy enough with my progress. I also wanted to make sure I could lift a fork the next day! While it would have been possible to tough it out, I knew it would start to get ugly. Not only would I pay the price physically, but my game would go downhill quickly too. I wanted to end on a positive note so I would be encouraged to return and practice some more. Same with life, we often want to continuously run full out, burn the candle, work ourselves around the clock. Unfortunately it’s not sustainable and can get pretty ugly too. It’s important to reserve some energy for tomorrow, so you can keep a positive outlook and sustain a higher performance.

6. Watch for hazards.

There are lots of hazards on the course. There are sand traps, water hazards, trees, and oftentimes even animals. They design hazards on the course to make play more challenging and it’s truly no fun being in the sand, the rough, or the water. The hazards in golf are just a microcosm of the world at large. As you navigate your way about your day it’s important to know where your potential hazards lie, and these come to us in the form of situations that can derail our progress, or worse be harmful to our well-being. Living without distraction is probably harder today than ever, but it’s so important to be aware of your surroundings.

7. It’s better with friends.

I don’t know how fun golfing would be on my own, or with strangers, although I know there are really good golfers who just enjoy playing regardless. For me, I think it’s better with friends. It’s better with those “tee” people, the encouragers, the ones who win well and lose well, and play to beat their own best score. That’s how I want to do life - with the people who lift others up, with those who are understanding and patient, with those who are just trying to be better than they were yesterday.

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