The Golfer’s Character: Part 2…The Ingredient to Success

By Dr. Raymond Hall, DC

Keep a solid perspective on life and don’t sweat the small stuff. Golf (and life) would be a never-ending struggle and conflict if results and winning were everything. A big part of personal growth and character is learning how to be happy. A big part of being happy is enjoying “the process.”

The “process” is the time spent on or off the course — either practicing, playing, or learning more about the game.  Its an integral part of the overall journey.  Just like life, golf will always present us with never-ending challenges with many highs and lows. This leads to one of golf’s most precious lessons: Your enjoyment and happiness should not be contingent upon perfecting your golf swing or winning. The process, however, can be enjoyed regardless of the outcome and produce a successful experience. Winning can certainly be viewed as a part of success, but I would rather consider winning one of life’s bonuses rather than a necessity. If we understand and utilize the lessons that golf can bring to our lives, a stronger character will be certain to evolve. Character is gained and true success is the outcome when we are able to prioritize the concept of enjoying the process.

How often do you find that a person’s character on the golf course mirrors their behavior in a business environment? I strongly believe the answer to be one hundred percent of the time. Success is built upon good relationships. To develop these kinds of relationships among our peers, we begin with gentlemen-like behaviors that naturally instill confidence and trust. Good handshakes, honest scoring, playing by the rules, and kind words of encouragement are just a few of the behaviors that we should be proud to exhibit. Golf builds character which can be an asset to successful business lives.

Another important notion of success is that hard work needs to be balanced with relaxation. Perhaps this might entail a vacation or simply a kind exchange of words with your colleague at the end of the day. On the course, perhaps this means to take a nice deep breath and moment to relax, absorb, and positively reflect on the well-executed shots of your round. Frequent, simple relaxation techniques and positive self talk can enhance your game and life.

Find ways that you can become the person that people respect and enjoy as a golfing partner. What makes a good golfing partner, the “do’s,” is someone who enjoys the “process,” follows the long-standing etiquette of the golf game, and has an unselfish style and demeanor. One of my favorite sayings is, “You are what you think.” In contrast, in an example of the “don’ts,” a poor golfing partner’s behavior is one who relies on selfish acts to get through his/her round. They attempt (consciously or unconsciously) to bring other players down to their level to alleviate their own stress and struggles. The selfish, unsportsman-like conduct manifests itself in people who are afraid of being the lowest denominator and have a blurred vision of the difference between failure and true success.

The ultimate and primary goal for golfers on and off the course should be to strengthen one’s character. Just like the golf swing, it may not come easy. You need to exercise your mind in order to sustain positive and productive thought patterns. You can carry this into your daily life and express and exemplify what successful people want as a business partner or employee. You have the skills if you will only practice. What makes you and the game of golf so unique is that while “playing” this great game the way it was meant to be played, you are continually able to exercise your mind with the necessary thoughts and characteristics of a successful individual. You can exemplify the same personality traits to your employer or business partner as you did on the golf course yesterday and be respected for having great character. Here are some guidelines and a summary of the principals:

The Eleven Principles of the Golfer’s Character:
1) Honor, will, strength, and courage are essential to life
2) Believe in yourself and be truthful with others
3) Have direction and accessible goals
4) Live and appreciate each moment as if there is no tomorrow
5) Appreciate the goodness in others and never dwell on negative actions
6) Treat your body as a temple of your soul and greatness
7) Develop strategies and execute your sound decisions
8) Always be positive and remain focused on the present
9) Be diligent with your plans and continually strive to be better
10) Exalt others and be mindful to encourage yourself
11) Be a true gentleman (person) at all times

The creation of a thought is the first step in the process of maximizing our physical actions. The process of drilling a physical action (practice) is the cornerstone for building your game. And, the execution of your plan will create the final score, that being ultimate success in life.

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