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Career Enhancement: 7 Leadership Skills You Can Learn From Playing Golf

golf ball by hole

Leadership skills are traits that allow an individual to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute toward organizational success. While many business people will have these skills naturally, they’re unlikely to have them all. The good news is they can be developed. 

Golf is a great way to not only relax but also hone leadership skills. The sport requires players to be patient, set goals, focus, be disciplined, problem-solve, be self-aware, and employ ethical decision-making, amongst other things. 

These are 7 leadership skills you can learn from playing golf. We’ll go into more detail and provide examples of how these skills can be used in both the golf course and the workplace. If you ever needed an excuse to get out on the golf course, this is it! 

Leadership Skill #1: Focus 

Focus is the ability to stay concentrated on one task or goal without being distracted by other things. As you might imagine, it’s an important skill to have in business in order to be productive and do what needs to be done. 

Playing golf requires a great deal of focus in order to successfully complete each hole. Golfers must stay focused on their shots and their targets in order to hit the ball where they intend it to go. If you lose focus, it’s easy to lose your ball and get a poor score on a hole, which carries over into your final score. 

In the workplace, a leader must stay focused on their team’s goals in order to succeed. Losing focus can mean losing sight of what needs to be done, leading to deadlines being missed. 

Leadership Skill #2: Goal Setting 

Goal setting is the process of identifying specific objectives that need to be achieved in order to reach a desired outcome. This is what a business plan is all about! Without solid goals, it’s hard to know if you’re going in the right direction or not. 

Golf requires players to set realistic goals for each hole they play. By doing this, they’re able to plan out each shot accordingly and make sure they’re able to reach the hole in as few shots as possible. This also requires an analysis of the potential hazards on the course and a plan for working around them. 

In the workplace, a leader must set goals for their team in order to ensure that they are able to reach desired outcomes. Once you’ve set the right goals, it’s easy to understand what steps need to be taken to reach those goals. 

Leadership Skill #3: Patience 

Patience is the ability to remain calm despite challenges or delays. Whether you’re on the golf course, in the office, or even out with friends, this is a valuable skill to have. 

Playing golf requires players to remain patient when faced with difficult shots or bad weather. By staying patient, golfers are able to take their time and make sure that each shot is successful. Shots played in impatience are more likely to land in the rough or somewhere that isn’t an easy approach shot. 

In the workplace, a leader must remain patient when faced with challenging tasks or delays. Allowing impatience to take over only opens you up to making mistakes, which can have disastrous consequences in business. 

Leadership Skill #4: Problem-Solving 

Problem-solving is the process of identifying problems and finding solutions in order to reach a desired outcome. It’s an essential life skill, not just a leadership skill. 

Playing golf requires players to think critically about each situation they face on the course and come up with solutions in order to successfully complete each hole. Golf courses aren’t designed to be easy, so this is a skill you truly need! 

In the workplace, a leader must be able to identify problems and find solutions in order to reach desired outcomes. The ability to tackle problems as they arise means the business won’t stagnate when obstacles come along. 

Leadership Skill #5: Self Discipline 

Self-discipline is the ability to control your feelings, emotions, and decisions in order to overcome weaknesses or reach goals. It’s as important on the golf course as it is in the boardroom. 

Playing golf helps to build self-discipline. If you hit a bad shot, you can let it get you down, or you can control your negative feelings and focus on the next shot. 

In the workplace, self-discipline helps you to push through tough times and reach deadlines, make tricky decisions, and get through the tasks you need to do. 

Leadership Skill #6: Self-Awareness 

Self-awareness is understanding your own strengths and weaknesses, as well as being aware of how your actions affect others. Playing golf requires players to think critically about their own strengths and weaknesses in order to progress. 

In the workplace, a leader must be aware of their own strengths and weaknesses, as well as understand how their decisions affect those around them

Self-awareness also means you’ll be able to catch yourself when you’re reacting to things in a negative way or when behaving in a way that doesn’t serve you. 

Leadership Skill #7: Ethics 

Business ethics is about ethical principles and potential moral problems that can occur in a business or company environment. Ethics is a huge aspect of business that’s not often spoken about, but that can make or break your business. 

Playing golf requires honesty and integrity. It’s up to you to keep scoring accurately and not cheat to get ahead. Nobody polices you when you’re on the course alone, with friends, or with colleagues or business people. 

In the workplace, an ethical leader ensures that policies are adhered to, and things are done with the utmost respect and honesty. Business built on dishonesty is sure to fail in the long run. 


Golf can help business people hone their leadership skills by teaching them focus, goal setting, patience, problem-solving, self-discipline, self-awareness, and ethical business practices. 

These skills can be used both on and off the course for career enhancement. Business people who play golf should use the game as an opportunity to hone their leadership skills so that they can apply them in all situations. 

By Jordan Fuller, a retired golfer and businessman who has played on some of the most spectacular courses in the world.

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