Some time last year, after 25 years of resistance, I took up golf. I blame it on the lockdown.
But it turns out that golf is a great game. I don’t score well but enjoy it immensely and I learn more and more as I go. Here are four lessons I’ve learned so far:
- Get some lessons – having some semblance of a repeatable swing really helps.
- Don’t go to the last lesson – that’s when the coach tells you “and now we need to work on this” and that leads to self-doubt and more lessons.
- A ball is a ball. Different balls don’t make you a better or worse player.
- Pick the club you can hit with, not the one your mate just used to cream it 250 yards down the middle of the fairway.
It’s club selection that I’m just getting my head around. Put simply, it’s much better the ball goes 100 yards in the right direction than 200 hundred the wrong way. The right direction is best achieved by using the club that you can hit best with.
For example, I love my 7 iron – I use it to putt from just off the green and to run the ball along the ground to the green when further away. I should be using a pitching wedge but it’s as much use in my hands as a stick of celery.
Similarly, I’ll often take a 5 iron or hybrid off the tee because they invariably go straight. Whereas my driver manages that about 1 in 5 times.
And my idea of a good round is a decent walk and a pleasant time. Not to practice anger management. Knowing my own game, playing within my ability results in an entirely pleasant experience and better scores.
And the relevance to financial planning is simple.
Stick to what you know works – use the tax allowances, simple investments, put enough aside, etc., and you’ll have a very enjoyable round.
Try too hard (exotic investments, complex structures) and you’ll spend a lot of time in the bushes thrashing around, losing balls and getting very, very frustrated.