Golf

Real Hobbies are not “Pass-Times”

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golf 2Though many people find the idea of chasing a little white ball around a golf course for 4+ hours as being something close to madness, the reality is that this is more than an activity to just “pass time”. It challenges your skill, patience, perseverance, mental resolve and not alone do you compete with others but you also yourself. People come off a golf course with a wide range of emotions from elation to total frustration and every conceivable feeling in between. At a basic human level it actually fulfills a fundamental human need.

The late Robin Williams is famous for his sketch about golf (click here for great laugh!). Though not for the faint hearted due to his unique style, he takes on the Scottish accent as he hilariously describes the origin of the game. As he does you can see many metaphors about life, it terms of the tools we are given (golf clubs, balls, etc), the challenges we get presented with (trees, bunkers, tiny hole to put ball into, etc) and then the expectations in terms of results (strokes, scorecard, etc). This sounds pretty similar to what happens every day we go to work!

Golf is also about performance and the positive energy that comes from doing something you love. You typically play in front of 3 other people, there might be money on it or it could be a tournament and so the outcome has a consequence. Most golfers are very nervous on the first tee; “oh please just get me to the fairway or I just don’t want to “duff” my first shot”, are pretty common thoughts. Because of this somebody even came up with the idea of having a “mulligan” to offset the first tee nerves. Of course the reason for this is that we all want to do well, experience success and, most importantly, feel good about ourselves.

And finally, the most critical aspect of golf is its social capacity. You get time to spend quality moments with other people and hear about the work, their families and more. Four to five hours with 3 people is a long time and can create many moments of conversation; it is this basic need for community and belonging that is at the very root of our human existence.

I am not suggesting that you run out and buy a set of golf clubs. Rather take a look at your hobbies or things you love to do and make them a key part of your life. These activities are not intended to “pass times” or be gap filers. In truth, they are as critical as everything else you do.

The Energy Gap

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For many years I have been very curious as to what really enables performance at the optimum level. In fact I was of the belief that if you had the technical knowledge and the people skills (via personality type and emotional intelligence) to compliment this, then you had the full package. However there is a missing component – the energy to project this complex machine forward in the desired direction. If using a car as a metaphor, it’s like having a fully functioning car plus a very capable driver but forgetting to put in the gasoline.Z

iPEC Coaching, in its ground breaking work, has proposed that one’s energy holds the key! It can be influenced by many variables and unlocks optimal performance. iPEC are taking many of the fundamentals of Life and Business Coaching and seeking to use these directly with athletes relative to their excelling on a consistent basis. One key element of this is understanding the role of energetic presentation. This speaks to one’s motivation and the degree of stress at a given point in time and essentially is the “level of gas” in the tank at that moment.

energyAs an example for golfers, think about that moment on the first tee; for most of us it’s not a good feeling and very often is the precursor for poor performance. Constant practice alone or expensive equipment is not sufficient. In order to fully understand one’s energetic presentation relative to your golf game you must look at it in the context of the following six variables:

  • Spiritual – what’s your purpose for playing golf?
  • Mental – how do you respond to competition?
  • Emotional – what happens when you have a really bad hole?
  • Physical – do you get tired before finishing a round?
  • Social – who don’t you like to play with and why?
  •  Environmental – are you a fair weather player?

These influencers all have a bearing on how you show up energetically and, whether you are a professional or amateur, they have a huge impact on your ability to perform to your own potential. Ever wonder why athletes have bad days?

Golf – A Metaphor for Life and Business

by necoaching necoaching No Comments

golfWhile watching the Golf Channel recently after the US Open, Dr Gio Valiante the sports psychologist, was asked to disclose three tips he could offer the average golfer to make a big difference in their game. His simple response was interesting as he selected:

1. Soft Hands
2. Pick a Target
3. Live with the Shot

To anybody not familiar with the game of golf, it may mean very little to you. However, please read on as golf is a great metaphor for the game of life and indeed business, so let’s see how these might translate.

When golf instructors talk about soft hands, what they are really saying is release the tension. Most inconsistency in golfers comes about due to tension which then influences the swing. By being low in tension, you trust the process; you have faith in your ability and the surroundings. As a parent or a manager, the presence of “soft hands” eases mental tension and creates harmony, understanding, agreement, cooperation and much more.

In picking a target, it’s about setting a goal. It’s funny when you ask some golfers what is their target, they often respond “to get it out there in play”. However for good players that’s way too big a target. Instead they pick something very specific on the fairway or in the distance. Similarly in life and business, achievement is generally derived by identifying what success might look like and setting very specific goals around that attainment. Where do you want your ball to land?

Finally, what does it mean to live with the shot? This really speaks to how you mentally want to deal with each event, which sometimes will have a good outcome but there will be occasions where the result is not what was intended. With the latter, you can either get upset which will then add to the tension, or you can learn from it quickly moving on to the next shot. Similarly in life and business, we must continuously learn to “live with our shots” to make things even better next time.

For many, golf seems like a pointless game where people hit a little white ball with different sticks and then walk after it and hit it again. However, like most things in life, there is often a deeper meaning to be extracted and this is why the game of golf holds a mysterious intrigue to every fan of this great game.

Golf and Business

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During the recent US Masters Golf Tournament it was hard not to be struck by the many similarities the game of golf has with business. The golfer is the product, they hire people such as agents and so many of its subtleties are quite metaphorical for many aspects of entrepreneurship. Above all every golfer would testify that this is a dream come true; they love playing golf, they are good at it and they get to do it full time as a career.

Business Lesson 1: Work at something you are good at and love doing (why not?).

There was one point in the tournament where the eventual runner up Louis Oosthuizen putt to within, what was described as, “a dimble from the hole”. Each golf ball has approx 400 dimples per ball and when you consider the size of a ball it will give you some appreciation for how near the ball was to dropping. He still had to putt it into the hole and it counted for one stroke. In contrast Bubba Watson who went on to win, hits one of the longest drives on the PGA tour averaging 313 yards per drive and they also count for one stroke. Watson had the elation of success and Oosthuizen had to settle for second place and bitter disappointment; if only for that dimple. Read more