Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Recipe for Happiness in Golfing and Entrepreneurship

Okay, you are probably wondering whether such a recipe exists, right? My experience—as an entrepreneur, as a lawyer advising primarily entrepreneurs, and as a generally happy golfer—is that entrepreneurs are successful because of energy, focus, creativity, and efficiency, plus a little luck sometimes. The same applies to golf (and happiness).

But let’s start with this proposition (and remember, you read this here first): THE KEY TO HAPPINESS IS REASONABLE EXPECTATIONS! This applies to business, pleasure, relationships, and essentially everything that we do, including golf. Whether you are an entrepreneur or a golfer, if you have high expectations but you don’t have high energy, focus, creativity, and aren’t efficient (and a little lucky), then I strongly recommend that you adjust your expectations downward or resign yourself to an unhappy existence.

Once you have your expectations in a reasonable place and have a reasonable goal for your game of golf, then you are ready to go forward. Let’s start by focusing on people who shoot between 80 and 120+ (handicaps of 10 to 36, if you care). I will get to the rest of you later, but this still might have some application to you.

Energy? Entrepreneurs rarely start a business, much less grow it, with a 9 to 5, five-day-a-week schedule. Similarly, golfers rarely get better by being out of shape. My advice for entrepreneurs and golfers? Get in shape. Stay in shape. Walk, don’t ride. Take the stairs, not the elevator. You get the point. You don’t have to kill yourself, but good conditioning should be a factor in your expectations. Simple.

Focus? An entrepreneurial daydream rarely becomes a successful business without focus. Really good golfers tend to be very focused on golf in general and especially when on the golf course. But most of us think of golf as entertainment or fun, so we would prefer to not spend lots of time “focusing” on the game of golf. Good for you, I say! But those of us who think this way should probably remember this when we are setting our golfing expectations. If focusing less helps you enjoy it more, no problem. On the other hand, if focusing more helps your friend enjoy it more, no problem. You will both be happier. One of the beauties of golf is that you can still play together!

Creativity? This is often a key part to the success of an entrepreneur, and also to that of a golfer. Neither person has to do things just like everyone else. There is no playbook for most entrepreneurs. And you will rarely find two golfers with the same physique and the same golf swing. So what’s my point? Take a few lessons—search out a golf instructor (or business mentor) who will work with you, just as you are. Tell this person about your expectations and make sure they will work with you within your parameters. If they don’t get it, find someone else. As you develop your game or business skills, a good “teaching pro” will work with you about creative shot making and creative strategies.

Efficiency? For an entrepreneur, this generally means planning, cost controls, efficient staffing, etc. When it comes to golf, this can mean many things, including an efficient golf swing and planning the most efficient type of shot to get the ball in the hole with the fewest strokes. Those things can be learned, but it’s important to have the right tools. Don’t try to fit your business or golf game into a box designed by someone else. Each one is unique in some aspect. I’ll tell you about custom-designed clubs—one of my favorite topics—in a future post.

Remember, I want to help you meet your reasonable expectations when it comes to golf, business, or life—which can help you find HAPPINESS, whatever the course.


  1. It would be helpful to know if the author has taken his own advice with respect to his golf game and, if so, an explanation of why his handicap remains so high . . . .

    1. Ahhhh Mr. Damon, thank you for your reply. I remain extremely happy with my handicap because it meets my low expectations. And, in my case, low expectations are very reasonable. Life is good. Pass it on.