I started playing golf this year. There were limited activities available during COVID, and with my friends playing pretty often, it was finally the time to start playing. I’ve played around 8 rounds this year, more than my entire life. I’ve even begun to have fun.
But what I’ve found after these rounds was interesting. There were a lot of lessons in the game. New lessons that team sports don’t offer. I began to see a lot of parallels between the game and life.
In writing this down, I did a quick google search of “golf and life”. It returned 1.4M results...
What I was observing while playing was what others seems to be experiencing. Here are some of the main takeaways during these first 8 rounds.
Golf is a personal game
"Success in this game depends less on strength of body than strength of mind and character.” -Arnold Palmer
Golf is a test of character, patience, perseverance, and attitude. It’s a game played against yourself. It’s infuriating when things go bad because you know there’s nobody else to blame. This is obvious, but it’s a foreign feeling for someone who’s played solely team sports. But in a sport with no defense, it becomes apparent very quickly how alone you are with your results.
Attitude is everything
Your triple bogey on hole 6 is just that.. your bogey. Yet why do people curse the course, slams their irons, and throw their clubs? What is the object of their anger? Who exactly are they throwing their clubs at? Playing golf made it clearer to me how prone I was to these swells of anger when things go wrong. I wondered how this related to things in my life - do I respond like this when things don’t go my way?
Your attitude is so important in golf. It is in life too. It’s important to develop a winning attitude. It’s how you respond when things go badly, not just when you are shooting well.
Playing golf makes is clear just how important it is to develop a winning attitude. It’s how you respond
All of life is learning
How you treat a round of golf is a parallel to how you treat your life. If you are angry and competitive, your rounds become a grind. They become something to overcome and dominate. If you are feeling relaxed, your round can become lighthearted and fun; another sort of backyard game.
What is true is that each stroke is not a chance to dominate and win. It is an opportunity to learn. There's no ultimate test. There's no real end goal - you don't shoot ten under par and beat the game. You just continue playing. I found that being relaxed and finding the lesson in each shot was a more rewarding mindset and how we should live our lives.
As I played I contemplated what my mindset was off the course. Do I only play games in which I can win? Do I only see mistakes and failures rather than opportunities to grow and improve? These are the lessons in golf.