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Valuable Life Lessons Golf Teaches You

by Joseph Hardison / July 24, 2021

Although sports are meant as a healthy activity that promotes friendly competition and good sportsmanship, sadly, this isn’t how it is played most times. Instead, it is increasingly turning into cut-throat competitiveness.

Golf, on the other hand, is one sport that hasn’t changed its tune so much and has managed to maintain certain tranquility and friendliness to it. Golf teaches us some valuable life lessons, as the professionals and experts in the sport have explained;

  1. Learn to Have a Good Time

“In our opinion, the one common thread we see is people learn how to control their emotions when bad shots happen, and that is a very useful lesson in life no matter what you do. Golf also teaches most people the valuable lesson of learning how to laugh at themselves and to laugh and enjoy a good time with friends and not take life too seriously.”

Bruce Miller, Team Golfwell

  1. Learn The Importance of the Big Picture

“The big picture is essential; it is among the valuable lessons golf has taught me. As the saying goes, ‘golf is like life, it’s the follow through that makes the difference’. Golf involves a series of swings, with each swing aiming for a specific goal, and golfers must know where they are heading and their plan to get there.” (Harriet Chan)

  1. Learn to Accept Things not in Your Control

“Another valuable lesson I learned from the sport is learning to accept things out of control. In golf, things don’t go your way in most situations, and just as it is not good to dwell on the results of a bad shot, we have to accept some things in life are out of our control.”

Harriet Chan, co-founder of CocoFinder

  1. Develop the Ability to Control Your Emotions

“You can very much be in control of your emotions: One thing I noticed about myself through the years of playing golf is the ability to have better control of my emotions. I believe it’s through that practice of stepping up to take a shot and calming yourself within the next few moments to deliver the perfect putt or swing. It’s definitely a skill that takes honing to develop.” (Jack Miller)

  1. Showing Respect Through Silence

“Showing respect by keeping silent as another person takes a shot is something that translates into real life. This usually happens in conversations, when we tend to talk over each other while not really listening to what the other person has to say. At least for me, golf has helped me develop this habit of being mindful whenever I’m in a conversation and itching to make a point.” (Jack Miller)

  1. Practice of Visualization

“Visualization can help you get to where you want to be: Another great thing about golf is that it allows for the practice of visualization. It gives you that chance to see what you’re up against and visualize what you’ll do to adapt. It also corrects any plausible wrong notion that many have about visualization. That it’s not just imagining and executing. You also need to plan things carefully before pulling the trigger.”

Jack Miller is the Founder of How I Get Rid Of

  1. Patience

“A round of golf takes several hours, everyone takes one shot at a time so you cannot rush your group or the one ahead.  Being patient is not just a virtue, it is required.” (Paige Arnof-Fenn)

  1. Keep Practicing/Learning

“With golf and life you can always improve.  Everyone has bad shots/makes mistakes so don’t dwell on the past. Each shot is a new opportunity and a chance to do better so just keep moving forward a little smarter from each setback.” (Paige Arnof-Fenn)

  1. Stay Focused

“Golf requires serious concentration for 18 holes of play for best results.  Putting down your phone and giving your undivided attention sets you up for success in life when it matters.” (Paige Arnof-Fenn)

  1. Honesty is The Best Policy

“In golf only your playing partners are watching, not a referee or judge.  Don’t cheat them or yourself by lying; integrity matters on and off the course.”

Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder & CEO Mavens & Moguls

  1. Leave the World Better than You Found it

“The old adage ‘leave the course better than you found it’ means you learn to repair your own divots and ball marks on the course and you also learn to fix others' as well. This translates beyond the course to the community in general, in the very literal sense of picking up litter, planting flowers, etc. to the more figurative sense of making a positive contribution to society.” (Caitlin Moyer)

  1. Slow Down and Enjoy the Present

“A round of golf can take over 4 hours. Yes, it can be played faster, but learning how to enjoy and appreciate the leisurely pace is an important lesson the game teaches us. In our daily lives, we rush from place to place and constantly multitask. Golf teaches us to slow down and focus on the present moment, enjoying the time we have with our playing partners and being outdoors/reconnecting with nature. We learn to disconnect and reconnect on the course.” (Caitlin Moyer)

  1. Don't Dwell on the Past/Control the Controllable

“You can't change what happened on the last hole or even the last shot. You can only focus on the next one. Some things are out of your control. You can't control whether or not the ball gets a bad bounce or the wind kicks up at the wrong time. You can only control your mindset and how you set up and your swing on the next shot.” (Caitlin Moyer)

  1. Honesty & Integrity

“Golf is a game of honesty and integrity. Pros report their own rules infractions and sign their own scorecards. Yes, there are some people who cheat, but when they cheat, they are usually only cheating themselves. They aren't learning how to improve their game or their character.”

Caitlin Moyer, avid golfer and Owner of Caitlin Moyer Communications & Marketing. Moyer is a columnist and editor for the Wisconsin State Golf Association's Wisconsin Golfer magazine and a writer for StickandHack.com.

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