The Hardest Hole Perfectly Played

A metaphor for life?

Number 11 at my local golf course is the hardest hole on the course. It’s a par 4 with a large, long pond on the right and a river on the left. I recently hit a perfect (wind-aided) straight drive, a 2nd shot near the hole and made the putt for a birdie.


I’ve thought of that hole often. I played it as perfectly as I could’ve. Maybe I think about that hole because the different parts of my game – driving, pitching, and putting – all came together at once.


More broadly, I’ve thought of that hole as a metaphor for my more important “life game”. How often do all facets of my personal and professional game come together on any day? Am I as deliberate in analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of my life game as I am about my golf game? I know what parts of my golf game typically kill my scorecard and work on them accordingly. Am I doing the same in my life?


Working on my golf game is easier because the feedback is immediate and objective. It’s also a lot easier to admit shortcomings in a game that doesn’t really matter. Saying my putting sucks and needs work is easier to say than I suck as a husband or father and I need to work on it. And just because my life scorecard is more subjective, it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t continually evaluate each shot and do everything I can to improve.


To play life and golf well, the same rules apply…


1. Be thoughtful (what’s the situation and what do I need to do?)

2. Be present (let what’s right in front of you be your focus – block out the unnecessary distractions)

3. Analyze your game (what are your strengths and weaknesses and what are you doing to improve?)

4. Be accountable for your game (you’re swinging the clubs – you own the score)

5. Get help when needed (you can’t fix everything yourself)


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