The Masters: 10 Inspirational Golf Quotes for Entrepreneurs

With the Masters just teeing off, golf's greatest players offer up advice on how to put your best foot forward at work.

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By Craig Cincotta

Debby Wong | Shutterstock
Arnold Palmer

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The NCAA men's basketball tournament came to a dramatic conclusion, baseball season is in full swing and in a few weeks we'll have the NFL draft.

But the can’t miss event for me is the Masters. It is the first of professional golf’s four major championships to be played each year, and it is a sign that spring has sprung and golf season is officially open.

I have always loved golf. From a young age, I appreciated the complexity of the game and the need for preparation and practice to truly get better. Even the world’s best players need to practice every day.

There are a lot of similarities between success on the golf course and success in the boardroom. To excel at either one you need to have the right balance of skill, discipline, hard work, and a little bit of luck.

Related: 5 Lessons Golf Teaches About How to Succeed at Your Business

To help inspire my fellow golf-lovers who spend more time in the office than on the course, here are 10 quotes about golf that can easily be applied to corporate life. 


1. You need to want it.

"Success in golf depends less on strength of body more on strength of mind and character."

-- Arnold Palmer

How this applies to corporate life: So much of what we are able to achieve comes from our ability to carry forward good character traits and strength of mind. To me this means perseverance, grit and tenacity. If you maintain those characteristics, you will go far. 


2. Put your mind to it.

"Competitive golf is played mainly on a five-and-a-half-inch course... the space between your ears." 

-- Bobby Jones

How this applies to corporate life: When you are playing golf it is easy overthink the game. The same can be said in many work settings. There are times that you need to trust your skills and preparation and just execute (vs. over-thinking the approach).  



3. Expect the unexpected.

"Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get bad breaks from good shots; you get good breaks from bad shots - but you have to play the ball where it lies."

-- Bobby Jones

How this applies to corporate life: No matter how well you prepare, you always need to be prepare for one certainly: the unexpected.


4. With age comes wisdom.

"A kid grows up a lot faster on the golf course. Golf teaches you how to behave."

-- Jack Nicklaus

How this applies to corporate life: There is a moment when you begin a career when you realize how to act. I notice this a lot in people coming right out of college. There is this moment when they understand the behaviors and habits needed to succeed, such as the importance of empathy, empowerment and intellectual curiosity. The sooner people understand these values the sooner they begin to excel. 

Related: 15 Motivational Quotes From Legends in Sports


5. Learn from your failings.

"I never learned anything from a match that I won." 

-- Bobby Jones

How this applies to corporate life: One of the bits of advice I often give colleagues at my current company,, is to “embrace the red.” You get far more out of analyzing the losses -- the misses on the scorecard -- then you do from focusing just on the wins. It is okay to fail (as long as you are committed to learning from it). 


6. Luck is part of the equation.

"It's a funny thing, the more I practice the luckier I get." 

-- Arnold Palmer

How this applies to corporate life: Not much more to say here. Palmer pretty much nailed this one. If you are lifelong learner and work to reject complacency, you will find that luck sometimes finds you.


7. To get results, you need to focus.

"Concentration comes out of a combination of confidence and hunger." 

-- Arnold Palmer

How this applies to corporate life: Over the years I have learned the people who stay humble and hungry achieve great things. I would agree that confidence is an important ingredient, too. Concentration is not easy, but if you focus on the right things and apply your superpowers, you will see tremendous results.


8. Always be looking towards the future.

"The most important shot in golf is the next one." 

-- Ben Hogan

How this applies to corporate life: It is important to respect and learn from the past, but you always need to be thinking about what comes next (and how you aim to get there). 

Related: 30 Inspirational Quotes for Entrepreneurs (Infographic)


9. A positive attitude will take you far.

"A bad attitude is worse than a bad swing." 

-- Payne Stewart

How this applies to corporate life: A few weeks back I wrote about the importance of attitude. The one thing everyone can control is his or her attitude (and a great attitude goes a long way). 


10. Don't let fear be your enemy.

"Of all of the hazards, fear is the worst." 

-- Sam Snead

How this applies to corporate life: There are moments in your career when you just need to jump forward and take a risk. Even if you don’t succeed or hit the goal, you will be better off trying as you are certainly going to learn something new that you can apply down the road. 

Related: Tricks of the Trade: Advice from Those Who've Made It Big

Craig Cincotta

Senior Director of Marketing Communications at SAP

Craig Cincotta serves as Senior Director of Marketing Communications for the Business Network and Applications Group at SAP.

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