Play Business Like Golf
by George Hedley


One of my dreams is to play all the top 100 rated golf courses in the world. Often these courses are exclusive private country clubs that hold PGA golf tournaments. I like to play these tough courses because their design features make it difficult to shoot a good score.

To date, thanks to friends and persistence, I have been fortunate to play over 30 of them. Every year, I look forward to "Golf Digest" magazine's new rankings. When I review the annual listing, I look for new courses I may be able to get on and play.

Playing A Top 100 Course

Imagine getting invited to play golf at a brand new top 100 course. You plan your trip for months in hopes of golf nirvana. You finally arrive and get greeted by the golf professional. You go to the driving range to loosen up and ready for the experience of your life. You can't wait to enjoy the round.

You are greeted on the first tee by a member of the private country club. He hits first and you follow. Your first shot is a driver right down the middle around 240 yards. Not able to see the green yet, you hit your three wood down the left side of the fairway 215 yards. The green should be nearing.

No Targets

As you approach your ball, you still can't see the green. You ask your playing partner for directions. He then informs you this course is very unique. There are no greens, no pins, no holes and nothing to aim at. Only a 7,000 yard 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 it is time to quit.

Can you imagine wanting to play golf without greens. No targets. No pins. No holes. Just hit the ball all day down the 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?

Why Golf?

Think about the game of golf. It takes four or five hours to play. All day out 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 usually you can do better. What makes the game of golf so attractive or appealing to millions of crazy people?

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

Make Business Like Golf

Do you play the game of business like golf? Do all of your employees, project managers, superintendents, foreman, field crews, business teams, departments and divisions know the rules? Do they have clear targets? Do they know where the pin is placed every week? Do they know when they make a par, birdie or bogey? Is there a reward for hitting a good shot? Is their game competitive and fun? What do they get if they win?

Most employees don't have clear targets. There is no competition. There is no reason to try and improve. There are no incentives to work harder or do more than the ordinary. Their work is the same old thing month after month, year after year. No new terrain. No new targets. No new holes to play. Nothing different.

Clear Targets

To make your business more like the game of golf, give everyone clear targets to shoot for. Try one of these ideas. Weekly milestones for most pipe installed, most billable equipment hours, most customer sales calls, most invoices processed, most bills paid or most contracts let. Monthly contests might include: most referrals, fewest service call backs, fastest schedule, most crew days on a jobsite, largest invoice, best new idea implemented or most leads. Quarterly achievements can include: most 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 little wager on the game. The stakes don't have to be very high to keep my mind on the game. A $2.00 bet keeps me focused, improves my concentration and lowers my score every time. Try adding prizes to your business targets to get the team excited about winning the game. Simple and fun incentives often work as well as cash.

The list of ideas to track and target can be endless. The key to a good game of business is to shoot for something! 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 owns a $75 million construction and development company and Hardhat Presentations.  He speaks to companies on building profitable businesses, leadership, and loyal customers.  He holds 3-day in-depth "Profit-Builder Circles" open to construction company owners in an interactive roundtable format every 3 months.  His "Profit-Builder System" includes proven tools to always make a profit, build equity, create wealth, win profitable jobs, motivate your people, and enjoy the benefits of owning a profitable company.