Why professional golfers often succeed in business

I once read a sports columnist attempt to justify the way professional athletes are paid. Now, I don’t mind that professional athletes are paid well – salaries wshould always reflect the value a person brings to an organization, specifically the revenue someone is able to produce.

What this columnist was attempting to explain to the general population is why athletes receive guaranteed salaries for services yet to be rendered. His conclusion: athletes are paid well in their current contracts for the work they did in their previous contracts. Right, as if they were living in poverty making hundreds of thousands or millions to play a game. Is anyone else paid this way?

This is why I appreciate what professional golfers endure in their trade and why they often become successful in business once their playing days are over.

The facts about professional golfers:
1. They pay for their travel to and from all tournaments.
2. They pay for their accommodations (hotel/rental home & food) for the week, as well as their health, dental and 401k benefits.
3. They pay their caddy’s wages (usually a base amount plus a percentage of the winnings).
4. They pay for their coaches (i.e. strength & conditioning, nutrition, swing, etc.)
5. If they don’t have a sponsor to provide clothing, clubs, balls & gloves, they pay for these as well.
6. Less than half of the players who enter a tournament make the cut, which means they have earned the opportunity to make a paycheck. Those who miss the cut do not get paid and have lost money for the week.
7. For the players who make the cut, their paycheck is based solely upon their performance compared to the other players. This means a player could play his best tournament and if others play better his paycheck will shrink.
8. Only players who complete all four rounds receive a paycheck. If a player makes a mistake that results in disqualification, he does not get a paycheck.
9. Oh, and don’t forget they practice 3-6 hours, often more, every day for years for free to have and/or keep this opportunity.

To state it simply: professional golfers are entrepreneurs who work on 100% commission in an ultra competitive environment. No one hands them a dime – everything is earned – and it is this experience that trains them for long term success in business once their playing days are over. For reference, see Greg Norman, Jack Nicklaus, Annika Sorenstam, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player & Tiger Woods.

It would be beneficial to anyone striving for excellence and longevity in business to appreciate their effort and learn from their example.


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