Business lessons to be learned from golf?

By John Corban

Since COVID19 began, I have taken a stronger interest in golf and am playing more regularly. I always found this game quite frustrating, but the more I play, the less frustrating it is. It’s funny how that works! Playing regularly has helped me refine my technique, practice more and understand what I am doing wrong when my game isn’t working. Running my business has always been similar. This is what playing the game has taught me about the way I run my business.

Know what lies ahead so you can plan
Having played my local course many times, I know what lies ahead on each fairway and green. So I plan each shot, where to aim to miss bunkers, where the tricky sections are, and taking advantage of gradients. It doesn’t always work, but it’s getting better.

In business, it’s the same. When you have a good idea of the projects that lie ahead, you can plan income, what you will be spending money on and know that your teams will be fully engaged in projects. It also lets you know, if you need to fill in gaps in your construction or maintenance schedule. So, knowing what lies ahead allows you to plan and get greater control over your business, and the outcomes you want.

The right tools for the job
In February, I went into a golf store to buy a set of clubs. After trialling several clubs on the big indoor screen simulator and comparing information, I chose the clubs that suited me, and they have added an extra 30m to my shots.
In a business, you do the same thing. You advertise or network to find the right employees for the jobs you build. The more you get to know and understand one another, the better the relationship becomes. And of course, choosing the right technical tools for each aspect of a job, and the right software for managing a business obviously applies here too.

Be honest in your dealings
It can be easy to cheat in golf because your partners aren’t counting your score. They trust you to add up your ball strikes and give them to the designated scorer at the end of each hole. If I cheat, I might look like a better player against my mates, but I also know that I’m only cheating myself and don’t have an accurate guide if what I’m doing is getting better.

Business is the same, if I’m dishonest in my dealings, I will be the one that suffers most as less employees, clients, associates won’t want to work with me.

Don’t forget to enjoy the game
I started playing golf to be outside, exercising with some mates and having some fun. However, I noticed that some days were not fun at all. I would be diving home, feeling ticked off with the way I played. After talking with a mate who made me aware that it is just a game to enjoy, I realised you shouldn’t become too attached to the outcome or how you play, just enjoy being outside, talking with mates and having a swing. He was right! 

I changed my attitude and guess what? I started playing better.

This lesson is probably the most important of all because I believe being successful in business includes enjoying what you do, even the harder times. After all, we get to run our own business in our own way with no-one telling us what to do, and making more money and enjoying more benefits than if we worked for someone else.

What you get out of it, is what you put in
I engaged a golf coach, started practicing and playing more regularly, and my performance started improving.

It’s the same in business, when you work at improving some areas in your business, everything starts to improve. Putting in some hard work pays off but working on the right things is critical in business.

So, playing golf can teach us some fundamental principles that can be applied to our business with amazing results. Enjoy your next game and if you don’t play golf, this analogy applies to all sports/ hobbies and business.

John Corban
Business Coach for Landscapers,

Horticulturists and Nursery owners
Mob: 0433 271 980
www.landscaperscoach.com.au

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