The Best Business Lessons You Can Learn From Golf

If you don’t know it, we’re huge golf fanatics around here, and when we came across this article titled “4 Business Lessons to Learn from Golf” authored by Natalie Chladek and published by the Harvard Business School, we had to share its insights. We thought they rang true and hope you do too. Here are some of the business lessons you can learn from golf that we excerpted from the article.

Business Lessons from Golf


  1. Forget Mistakes and Focus on Your Next Shot

Not every shot in golf is a hole in one. There are many times when a slice or a bad lie puts a kink in your perfect game. “The best golfers realize they can’t go back and change their shot, and rather than agonizing over what is in the past, they focus their attention on making the best shot out of a bad lie,” Chladek says.


If you have devoted significant time and resources into building a business or product that doesn’t work, learn what you did wrong and look ahead to how you can make it better. Or put it behind you and focus on your next project. Don’t waste time or energy on failures.


  1. Take Your Next Shot From Where the Ball Lies

Only in golf do players impose penalties on themselves. It is a game based on trust and honesty, and tournaments have been won or lost by a player voluntarily taking penalty strokes. “This dynamic generates a level of trust between playing partners, regardless of skill of ability level, and breaking that trust will likely leave you without a foursome in the future.”


Trust is a crucial element of any business relationship. Business lessons from golf teach us to look to share value and negotiate to find creative solutions. Breaking this bond of trust can harm your business now and long into the future.


  1. Don’t Worry About Your Opponent; Play the Course

Worrying about what your competition is doing takes your eye and attention off your own chance to make your best shot. “Your biggest opponent is not your playing partner, but the environment of the course itself,” Chladek continues. “Understanding the landscape—which direction the wind blows, which holes play long, and how fast the greens are—should inform your strategy.” In both business and golf, focus on the big picture.


  1. Drive for Show, but Putt for Dough

You can impress others by driving a ball 300 yards down the fairway, but your true game lies in how well you can close the deal. It’s the precision of the final putts that can make or break your score. “Splashy ad campaigns and big PR announcements will drive buzz, but if you neglect other details like a properly-stocked inventory, sound financials, and a strong team, you’ll struggle to achieve your goals.”


According to Harvard Business School Professor Joe Fuller, “General management is defined as coordinated action in pursuit of performance.” As the business owner or manager it is your job to oversee the entire business across multiple departments and levels, and to pursue performance to meet your goals. You need to be adept at both the driving range and the putting green.



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