Managing the Workplace Vs. Playing Golf Similarities

By M.L. Rose
You don't have to take your clubs to work to learn valuable business lessons from golf.
You don't have to take your clubs to work to learn valuable business lessons from golf.

In some industries the golf course is an extension of the workplace, where important contacts are made and deals negotiated. In other cases, golf may serve as a metaphor for a variety of workplace challenges. Smart managers can often find many inspirations on the golf course to help them run a more effective office and maintain a positive workplace culture.

Dealing with Gender Bias

While women have made gains in the workplace in recent decades, some industries remain male-dominated. Golf, too, is mostly played by men. Even though there are many accomplished professional and recreational women golfers, some male golfers may still see women as unworthy players, just as some male business executives may undervalue their female employees. In both cases, men may make inappropriate comments regarding women players, co-workers or employees. Ideally, at least one of the men will challenge any sexist comments that make the golf course, or the workplace, uncomfortable for women.


Golfers are supposed to police themselves. Even at the highest levels, a violation of the Rules of Golf may go unnoticed if the player doesn’t self-report the mistake. There are also occasions in many workplaces where an employee’s mistake may go undetected if he doesn’t inform his boss. To run an effective workplace, managers should instill the importance of honesty, just as golf instructors and coaches often do with their pupils. Honesty can help the golfer to improve because he’ll always report an accurate score and can therefore better judge whether he’s improving. An employee who admits his mistakes is better able to learn from them, thereby becoming a more effective worker.


Stress may be an inherent part of many workplaces in today’s competitive economy. Likewise, golfers may feel stress when playing in a tournament, or just when trying to impress their golfing friends. In either case, stress can hamper performance. Employees under stress may not perform their jobs well, may become argumentative with co-workers, or may even try to escape the pressure by finding excuses not to come to work. Over-stressed golfers may grip the club too tightly and constrict their muscles, or may rush the downswing and throw off their timing. In the workplace as well as on the golf course, you must find must find a way to prevent stress from hurting your performance.


Some golfers play for fun, but many are competitive and want to beat anyone with whom they play, even if they are friends. The trick is to play your best and try to win while remaining sportsmanlike, to make sure your golf buddies remain buddies. Likewise, a junior executive may need to maintain good working relationships with fellow employees while still competing for any available promotions. A manager might highly value an employee who can achieve such a balance.

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