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You don’t have to play golf to admire the beauty of a course or the elegance of a game that is governed by certain niceties. I’m a poor player, but I find endless meaning in the game and I always look forward to learning what golf has to teach. Want to be a better person on or off the course?

Here are 10 timeless golf lessons that are metaphors for life.


Give it your all. “If you’re going to come out and play, be prepared. Don’t be wishing you were back at home or doing something else.”— Jay Haas

Know yourself. “Golf is the only-est sport. “You’re completely alone with every conceivable opportunity to defeat yourself. Golf brings out your assets and liabilities as a person. The longer you play, the more certain you are that a man’s performance is the outward manifestation of who, in his heart, he really thinks he is.”— Hale Irwin

Don’t expect life to be easy. “Golf is a puzzle without an answer. I’ve played the game for 40 years and I still haven’t the slightest idea how to play.” — Gary Player

Appreciate the simple things. “As you walk down the fairway of life, you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round.” — Ben Hogan

Focus on improvement—not perfection. “Mistakes are part of the game. It’s how well you recover from them, that’s the mark of a great player.” — Alice Cooper

Let go of the past. “Do your best one shot at a time, then move on.” — Nancy Lopez.

Do the right things when no one is watching. “Golf… is the infallible test. The man who can go into a patch of rough alone, with the knowledge that only God is watching him, and play his ball where it lies, is the man who will serve you faithfully and well.” — P. G. Wodehouse

Don’t try to do life on your own. “Whatever sport you play, you have to have help to succeed. You have to learn the fundamentals, and it’s so difficult to learn them by yourself.” — Kathy Whitworth

Never fear failure. “I never learned anything from a match that I won.” — Bobby Jones

Live your plan. “In golf as in life, it is the follow through that makes the difference.” — Dr. Seuss

In Indiana, golf season is already in full swing–pardon the pun. My ladies league has our first outing this weekend and I can’t wait. What’s your sport and what’s the most important thing it has taught you?

Life is short. Wear the good stuff.