Everything I need to know about business I learned from playing golf

In June 1996, Rick Spence wrote a short column in PROFIT, The Magazine for Canadian Entrepreneurs.  It featured 18 pearls of business wisdom on a backdrop of cartoon like characters acting out the advice (or not).   The column is titled “Everything I need to know about business I learned from playing golf.”  I clipped out that column and pinned it up in my office so that it was always in sight.  My office has moved many times since 1996 but that clipping is still with me and rarely does a day go by when I don’t reflect on it.

“Everything I need to know about business I learned from playing golf” by Rick Spence.

Canadian Business – Profit Magazine, Rick Spence, June 1996

1) Keep your eye on the ball.
2) You can get up really early in the morning when you want to.
3) Every fairway has hazards. Some are just more obvious than others.
4) Follow-through is always more important than it looks.
5) Be quiet when it’s another player’s turn.
6) Always replace your divots.

A divot is the scar left behind when turf is “dug up” by a golf club.

7) Losing your ball isn’t the end of the world.

When you’re having one of those days, you might want to sing along to REM’s “It’s The End of The World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine).  I especially like Newfoundland’s Great Big Sea version because of the dizzying speed at which they sing the song seems to mirror the speed of change we experience in the world today.

8 ) The long ball doesn’t always win.
9) Spending all day at the driving range won’t help your putting.
10) Never hide under a tree in a lightning storm.
11) Sand traps and water hazards are nature’s way of telling you to slow down and aim better.
12) In business, like the PGA tour, par is rarely good enough.

In golf, Par (score) is a predetermined number of strokes that a scratch golfer should require to complete a hole.  The fewer the strokes the better!


13) No matter what you’ve done in the past, you’re only as good as the next hole.
14) Even the pros practice and study.  There is always room for improvement.
15) You can fudge your scorecard, but you only cheat yourself.
16) How you deal with the 19th hole is at least as important as how you handle the other 18.
17) Love what you’re doing and you’ll never get too old.
18) Never wear your cleats in the clubhouse.

 What do you keep around your office and how is it helpful to you?


Interview with Rick Spence:  Insights into Innovation: An Interview with Business Guru, Rick Spence

2 thoughts on “Everything I need to know about business I learned from playing golf

  1. Thanks Lina – what a great sanity check. It’s going on my cubicle wall! Right next to my credo – keep calm and carry on.

  2. Trés bon post Lina. Je peux apprécier la comparaison du monde des affaires au golf même si le golf ne m’apprécie pas! Merci de nous partager tes connaissances par l’entremise de Café LIna!

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