By Tom Abts






We all know people who are good at getting what they want.

I don’t mean that they’re selfish narcissists … I just mean that they’re good at navigating and reaching goals. 

They’re usually good at planning … but what they’re really good at is strategy. Planning can be too rigid and not adapt to changing conditions.

A good strategist is usually aware of changing conditions and can adapt in ways that work.

Here’s an example using golf:

The night before a round of golf … you’re excited and can’t sleep … so you’re plotting your way around the course … you’ve got a plan for every hole.

But the next morning while playing … you don’t have any rhythm … and don’t trust your swing. So … you play more conservative … lay-up when you normally wouldn’t … and just use clubs that you have some confidence in.

Then … surprise-surprise … you shoot a good score … though it wasn’t exactly sexy.

Or … it can be the opposite: You know immediately that today you “have it” … so you play aggressively … not stupid … but going-for-it.

Some of you might remember Jim Colbert. He played on the Tour … yet had his success on the Senior Tour. He once talked about how golf was like gambling. If he won in blackjack, he doubled his normal bet because he was playing on “house-money”. If he lost, he went back to his normal bet. He said that he took that system to the golf course. If he made a birdie, on the next hole he tried to make another birdie because he was playing on “house-money”.

That strategy worked for Colbert. His game was not “sexy” … but he could really play golf … he understood it was a game … not a driving range contest with judges holding up scores for prettiest swing or longest drive.

I used to tell some of our young hot-shot Pros that they had to develop a game that was like an old Volvo. I said that their game was more like a Ferrari … it needed constant maintenance … and if they wanted to be a Head Pro they wouldn’t have that extra time … and they still needed to shoot a pretty score.

These young Pros weren’t TOUR players. TOUR players need to be Ferraris. Tour players basically have to keep their foot on the gas and pass everyone. The rest of us need to focus on getting around the track without having an accident.

We all know stories about coaches and/or generals who clung to their game plan even though it was obvious that the plan was a failure.

Not only do golfers need to plan and strategize to be good players … but golf course operators have to plan and strategize to keep golf going.

I don’t mean just their course going … but to keep golf going. If a golf course folds or is deemed unnecessary … and becomes a real estate development, etc … it’s gone.

If a bowling operation or a tennis club goes away … you can open another one nearby. You just need another building. But if a golf course goes away … that land is gone. Probably forever.

I started this blog by saying “We all know people who are good at getting what they want …”. Well … if they like to play golf … if they like living on a golf course or having a golf course in their community … they better not take it for granted.

To be a good golfer … you need to be a good planner and strategist.

The game of golf needs good planners and strategists to survive. It can’t be taken for granted.