The Mental Game of Golf (and Business)

Arnold Palmer once said, “Golf is a game of inches. The most important are the six between your ears.”

Jay P. Granat, Ph.D., is a sports psychologist named one of America’s top mental gurus by Golf Digest who has hosted the seminar “How to Lower Your Golf Score and Increase Your Sales.” He studies the correlation between mental lapse and failure, and can quickly draw parallels from the boardroom to the links (which just happen to be a fine place to do business, too).

Whether lining up a chip shot or closing in on a sale, a multitude of variables could stand in the way. Training yourself to stay dialed in mentally has its own challenges. Granat suggests imagining your mind is like a drinking glass. “Empty the glass,” he says. “A clear and relaxed mind is useful on the green, on the fairway and in the boardroom. Try playing and working with a single idea or with an empty, but open mind.”

Some more tips from Granat, equally applicable on the golf course and in the business world:

• View every setback as an opportunity and a learning experience.

• Set measurable goals—“take five strokes off my score this season,” or “cut my number of three-putts this round” or “increase my social media following 50 percent.” 

• To grow your business, get out of your comfort zone. In golf, that means taking on tougher courses.

• To be successful in business and in golf, you need to have a short memory and be very resilient. “Remove yesterday’s rice from your bowl.”


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