Thursday, June 3, 2010

The familiars in Golf

I always thought that golf was a stupid sport (no offense meant to any afficionados). I thought it was a rich man's sport. A very expensive game of chasing a small ball into a small hole across vast lands. It didn't have the competitive heat of basketball or soccer. It didn't have the team spirit of volleyball. It didn't even have the attractive outfits of tennis! To my naive mind then, it was a 'Daddy's 'sport.

But recently, I've taken golf lessons in the hopes of penetrating the so-called language of business. They say that most business deals are made in the golf course. And I definitely want in on that. So, in preparation for business school and the various networking and social events I will have to tend to very soon, I'm learning the sport and believe it or not, loving it!

I realize that golf is very much formulaic as with many things in life. Grip. Backswing. Drive. Follow-through. Hold. (or something like that). I thought that it would be easy. Just five or so simple moves. But it isn't easy at all. Apparently, golf is not just about a stupid ball into a stupid hole. Precision and consistency are key. A wrong grip, a wrong club angle, or an inaccurate twist of the shoulder can make or break your hit.

So in that sense, golf is like many other things. Formulaic but difficult. Like our jobs. People teach us the basics. In Marketing, it's: insight, concept, product, execution (forgive me, my Marketing is rusty). In Sales, it's: product, selling story, customer service (or something similar). In my job in Management Accounting, it's: numbers, analysis vs forecast, analysis vs historical data, recommendations.

But when you do the actual job, you just don't do steps 1, 2 and 3. Sometimes it's 1, 2, 1, 1, 2, 3 and many other combinations. Like golf, you have to mind your basics but you also have to make everything else make sense. And move in harmony. When you're there and you're actually doing it, you don't just repeat the steps--you feel the ground on your feet, gauge your target, hold your grip and control the energy you exert. In the bigger scheme of things, the basics will have to come naturally. As in our jobs. And in our lives.

Sigh. If only life were as easy as 'lather, rinse, repeat.'

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