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Driving your career forward with lessons learnt on the golf course


Sports are an inexhaustible source of career advice.  Our sponsorship of Manchester City already proved this, but there are plenty of tips and tricks to be gleaned from other sports.  Golf can also teach you a thing or two about how to develop your career.

A team sport like football teaches you quite a lot about working as a team. Competition sports teach you to push yourself to give it your very best. It goes without saying that sports can enrich your life in many different ways.

Using the example of Manchester City, we looked at what we can learn from male and female football players to give our career that extra push.  But there is also plenty we can learn from golf. What do you think of when you see a golfer? Do you think they are rich and successful? I don’t have an opinion on the former, but I do find golf players are often successful. They use the life skills they developed during their career on the golf course.

Likewise, when in the office, they use the life skills they acquired on the golf course to continue to develop their career.

I’m a keen golfer, which is why I would like to share what I learnt from my favourite pastime and which lessons from life you can apply to your own career. While I can’t guarantee you will hit a hole-in-one, this will definitely get you one step closer to the putting green.

Accuracy vs. power

As a golfer who is just starting out, you may be sorely tempted to take a swing at the ball with all the power you can muster in hopes of getting as close to the hole as possible. But as long as you don’t take aim and your swing is wildly inaccurate, all that power is just a waste of energy.

The business world is no different. You may have all the influence and wealth in the world, but if you use it thoughtlessly, without a sound strategy, all your efforts will be wasted.

Continue to hit the ball

As I already mentioned before, the chances of a hole-in-one are rare, even for outstanding players. Most of us are patient and will need a few strokes to score.  If you aren’t successful on your first course, don’t just give up. Be patient and never stop trying. On the other hand, if your first stroke is a perfect stroke, then always remember to keep your cool and think about your next step.

Practise good sportsmanship

Good golfers always shake their opponent’s hand, whether they won or lost the game. It’s a sign of sportsmanship and will only enhance your reputation. Being equally dignified in your career, both about your successes and your failures, will only make you stronger in the long run.

Take your time

A serious golfer always takes the time to consider all possible angles of attack, the layout of the fairway, and the game.  Apply this same principle to your work, whether you are developing a new product or a marketing strategy. Always take your time and make sure to get your project headed in the right direction.


When your ball ends up in the bushes, you have two options (besides looking for it, of course). You can either grumble about your misfortune or have a good laugh.  Do the same when a project fails. Laugh instead of being angry. You’ll learn faster from your mistakes if you do this.


Golf is all about practice. Practice. And more practice. But even professional players take some time out for a breather just before a major tournament. You will end up exhausting yourself if you never stop working.  Instead of better results, your work will become sloppy and you’ll make bad decisions. So take a holiday, go for a walk, or, why not, find the time for an occasional game of golf!

Silence is golden

Don’t play golf yourself?  Then chances are you think the game looks rather boring. Golf, however, is a sport that requires players to be extremely concentrated. It is not just important to learn when to be quiet or when it is okay to make noise on the golf course. You also need to understand when this is acceptable on the work floor.  Ever been in a situation where someone’s behaviour was inappropriate or disrespectful of others? Well there you go.

Practice makes perfect

Yes, I know this is a cliché, but I can’t not mention it. Nobody is born an outstanding golfer.  Golf requires a lot of training, endless hours of practice, and above all, you need to keep up with your game. I play much less golf now and I can feel the difference. The same applies to your career and your skills. Try to constantly improve your game and, above all, make sure not to get stuck in traditional ways of working.  Don’t allow yourself to become complacent!

-- Philippe Dullaert, CFO Hays Belgium

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