Foot-Wedges, Amen Corner and the Green Jacket

I am sitting here watching the Masters and thinking of the lessons I learned as a high school golfer (that’s me below, second from left)–important nuggets of wisdom the game gave me. They apply equally as well to the game we play: Accounting.

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Play the Ball as It Lies

No foot wedges.

The tendency in golf and life is to give ourselves an unfair advantage (also called fudging). We nudge the ball to a favorable location when no one is looking. The problem: We say we are a five handicap, but we are a twelve. And because we lie, we never pay the price to truly be a five. So we remain mediocre. Excellence is a product of honesty.

Always Applaud Your Opponent

We tell our kids to be a good sport and, meanwhile, we verbally trash–of course, not in their presence–our competitors. Speak well of those in your field. When you see your competitors do well, tell them. Give them a fist pump and smile. We are known by our words and never more so than when we speak of those with whom we compete.

Go with Mo

Realize, especially if you are young, success will come and go. When momentum (Mo) is your friend, roll with it. Ride it. Enjoy it.

But when failure comes (and it will), remember, “a better shot is coming.” See yourself as moving on, learning from the experience, and succeeding again. Focusing on the next good shot will enable you to leave your last shot–and, yes, to strike the ball well. Click. Don’t you love that sound?

Amen Corner is Key

Augusta has a pivotal set of holes called Amen Corner: a place where you sweat a lot and pray, more. It is here you win or lose. (I just watched Jordan Spieth hit his ball in the water on 12.) Identifying your strategic set of holes is important. And your caddie (those who counsel you) will never be more important. Take time to listen and reflect. Then trust your swing.

Be an Ambassador of the Game (Profession)

Arnold Palmer has always been a hero of mine. Not just because he was a winner on the tour, but because he honored the game, working unselfishly even after he left his playing days. He gives his time to the game and those associated with it–because of his affection for both.

The Green Jacket

Being a native-born Georgia boy, I take pride in the excellence of the Masters. A crowning moment each spring is the awarding of the Green Jacket. On this last day of the Masters, I hope it is you who will be wearing green (along with Bubba Watson–a graduate of my alma mater, the University of Georgia–Go DAWGS!).

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