Play Business Like Golf

One of my dreams is to play the top 100 rated golf courses in the world. Often these courses are private country clubs that hold professional golf tournaments. To date, I have been fortunate to play over 30 of them. Every year, I look forward to "Golf Digest" magazine's new rankings to look for new courses I may be able to play.

Why Golf?

Think about the game of golf. It takes four plus hours to play in the hot sun fighting the elements. You hit a little white ball into the rough, lakes, traps and out of bounds. You miss shots and look for lost balls. Every once in a while you hit a good shot, but you can always do better. What makes the game of golf so attractive or appealing to millions of crazy people?

Golf is a competitive and challenging game. There are lots of different shots, club selection is a personal choice and the game is enjoyed with friends working towards a common goal. No matter what you shoot, you can always improve. The targets are clear and the greens are easy to see. Everyone knows exactly what they're shooting for. Par is a good score and everyone knows the rules and what's at stake.

No Targets?

Imagine getting invited to play golf at a brand new top golf course. You plan your trip for months and finally arrive excited. On the first tee you hit your first shot right down the middle around 240 yards. Not able to see the green yet, you hit a three wood down the left side of the fairway 215 yards. The green should be close now. As you approach your ball, you still can't see the green so you ask your playing partner for directions. He then informs you this course is unique as there are no greens, pins, or holes to aim at. Only a long fairway meandering through the beautiful countryside. The object of this four hour round is to enjoy the scenery and try your best. No score will be kept. Just golf all day until time to quit.

Can you imagine wanting to play golf without greens, targets, pins or holes. Just hit the ball down the continuous fairway. Seems absurd doesn't it? Look at your business. Is it like this game of golf? Are there clear targets for everyone to shoot at?

Make Business Like Golf

Do you play the game of business like golf? Do all of your employees, project managers, supervisors, foreman, field crews, business teams, departments and divisions know the rules? Do they have clear targets and know where the pin is placed every week? Is their game competitive and fun? Do they know when they make a par, birdie or bogey? Is there a reward for hitting a good shot or being successful? Most employees don't have clear targets. Without a scorecard or targets, there is no competition, no game or incentives to work harder, improve or do more than the minimum. Work becomes the same old thing, month after month, year after year. No new terrain, targets, holes to play, or anything different.

To make your business more like the game of golf, give everyone clear targets to hit. Try one of these ideas:

  • Weekly targets for most work installed, most product produced or shipped, most customer sales calls, most invoices processed, most bills paid, or most contracts let under budget.
  • Monthly contests can include: most referrals, fewest service call-backs, fastest schedule, fewest crew days on a project, largest invoice, best new idea implemented, or most new sales leads
  • Quarterly achievements can include: most cost estimates, largest proposal, best customer service action, fewest accidents, most job profit, most man-hours saved versus the estimate, most new employees recruited, or accurate on-time job cost reports.

Add A Wager

As a golfer, I always play better when there is a small wager on the game. The stakes don't have to be very high to keep my mind on the game. A $5.00 bet keeps me focused, improves my concentration, and lowers my score every time. Try adding small prizes to your business targets to get the team excited about winning the game. Simple and fun incentives work as well or often better than cash.

The key to a good game of business is to shoot for something. The list of ideas to target can be endless. Any target is better than no target. Keep them simple and clear. Align them towards your top business priorities. Involve everyone and have fun. Playing business like golf is the perfect shot towards shooting par. Keep your head down, tee it high and watch them fly!

George Hedley is a professional business coach, popular speaker and best-selling author of "Get Your Business to Work!" and "The Business Success Blueprint For Contractors" available at his online bookstore. He works with contractors to build profitable growing companies. E-mail: to request FREE admission to his next webinar, signup for his e-newsletter, be part of a group BIZCOACH program, join a peer mastermind BIZGROUP, take a class at Hardhat BIZSCHOOL online university, or hire George to speak. Visit