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Relationship between golf technique and financial decision making

Anyone who makes an argument that understanding golf techniques can help the average person with financial decision making is either a golfer who wants to find a justification for their hobby or someone hoping to market financial education to golf fanatics. Both are true for the writer of this article.

Take the example of deciding whether to invest in a particular opportunity. One way to organize and evaluate that decision is to split it into four parts: (1) the project, (2) the financing, (3) the partners, and (4) the management. If you don’t understand one or more parts of this situation, or see a potential issue in one of these four areas, it may be very unwise to move forward.

On the golf course, with a bit of a stretch of the imagination, you can use the same model to decide whether to go out and enjoy a round of golf. Two of these areas are very easy to understand. If the financing isn’t in place (green fees, babysitter, food and beverage costs, tip for the caddy, reserve for lost bets), or if you really don’t want to golf with the other people in your party (for example a client that you can’t stand), then staying away from the links may be a good idea. Of course, if the project is attractive enough (a round a Pebble Beach, golfing with a US Senator), you may find the resources and motivation to deal with the partner and financing issues.

The hardest thing in both financial decision making and golf is management. In business, while you should have at least of basic understanding of how to manage the investment, you often have the option of evaluating an outside manager or management group to take over many and perhaps all management aspects of your investment. That option doesn’t exist in golf.

In managing one’s golf game, some things like deciding what shots to take in a particular situation is a function of experience, with the decisions often getting better over time. Other things, like golf technique, also depend on experience, but are affected by the the quality of the formal training you get, or the kinds of advice you may get, especially from an experienced golfer like Neil Haboush. As is the case with financial decision making, the best advice may not come from someone with the best textbook or theoretical knowledge, but from someone who has been out there in the middle of if all an knows from personal experience how to get out of a bad situation.

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