Golfing & Business: My two life-long journeys of improvement.

Sammy ChangBusiness, GolfLeave a Comment

Golf and Business - two life long journies of constant improvement

The game of golf is one of the most frustrating sports out in the world. Being an avid golfer for more than 15 years, I can count on my hand the handful of times that I’ve scored an eagle on a hole (that’ll be 2) but have lost count on how triple bogeys I’ve shot or have many times I’ve picked up the ball to ensure that I’m not slowing play down.

Playing partners, friends, acquaintances, random strangers at the driving range (you know who you are) love to give advice on what you should be using, in terms of equipment, who you should be seeking, in terms of lessons or tweaks in terms of swing changes. So after multiple swing changes, multiple equipment changes and multiple superstition tenacities, I still shoot about 20-30 above par.

So, Sammy, why are you blabbing about golf? Isn’t this a business blog? Well, the game of golf is like the game of business. What I’ve learned in the game of golf in the past 5 years now resonates within all the business decisions made. Here are my tips and tricks of golfing vs. business.

Find the right equipment

For years I used a set of muscle backed forged irons for golf. When they were in my golf bag, they looked amazing and the “feel” that you would get when you strike the perfect ball was incredible; I wouldn’t even feel the ball striking the club face except for the explosion you get when the ball launches from the ground.

The bad news was that the clubs were extremely unforgiving so the majority of my shots were never perfect and I could feel every shank and ricochet. Having spent a fair amount of money on the clubs, I refused to look at anytime else and my scores kept ballooning round after round. After years of frustrating scores, I decided to get new fitted clubs. It was an eye opener to actually know how I swing vs. my perception of how I thought my swing looked. Reality was much less like the PGA swing that I was striving for. My new set of golf clubs look chucky and fat but the scores are now in the 80’s. I realized that my enjoyment of golf was linked directly to how well I was doing and not how I looked.

This applies to business also. Having equipment that doesn’t fit your business doesn’t make sense; having the wrong solution might actually bankrupt your company.
People love the latest and greatest tools for their business; who doesn’t like showcasing a shiny new toy? Yet business owners nowadays are jumping into solutions without testing them or actually sitting down to see how it can benefit them. We can help ensure that the solution that you have for your business is the correct one. Much like my wants, the tools for your business aren’t always right because someone else uses the same thing, or every so often you make an incredible shot. The right tools will just fit and you’ll know because it helps your bottom line.


In golf, sometimes it’s the right decision to say “Hey, I’m not the expert…maybe I should find one” I’ve taken lessons over the course of my playing career and worked with a variety of them. The best golf professionals I found are the ones that actually take the time to understand what you’re looking for. Better putting. Better iron play. Better chipping around the green. Better driving off the tee. By them taking the time to fully understand what you’re looking for as a golfer, they can tailor a specific lesson plan that will help you achieve those goals. The one that I’m still working with has been gracious to sometimes take a step back and ask for an opinion for a colleague to help satisfy my goals and expectations.

In business, you need to have the same mentality. Not everyone is an expert when they start their own businesses. There’s going to be failures and there’s going to be successes. The key is having someone with initiate knowledge to help you navigate around potential pitfalls that will lead towards failure and help strategize a solution to help you best achieve the success you envison for your company or brand. At Tangle Creative, we believe in flexibility and scalability. The right marketing solutions should truly fit your needs and be able to grow with your business. We’re experts at what we do so let us help you on your journey.


Practicing your craft is important in the game of golf. Golf is about muscle memory and familiarity with your surroundings and your equipment. With hours of practicing, you will start to notice tendencies of certain shots. For example, if I need to hit a soft shot 175 yds. to the green with 2 hops that is then followed with a 5-foot roll, I trust my 8 iron for that. The reason? I’ve hit that shot multiple times on the driving range that I know that for certain, I’ll make that shot. (the unfortunate thing is I can’t seem to go against convention and just use a 8 iron with a putter…I’m pretty sure I’ll be shooting into the 70’s with that mentality) That shot only comes with practicing so you “feel” that shot.

Practicing your craft for business is also crucial. With the more familiarity that you have regarding your business, you’ll then start to trust your intuition as you’ve “practiced” this method or business case over and over again in previous dealings. The repetition of certain daily tasks, marketing campaigns, systems or even on boarding new staff makes it easier and scalable. Without having the repetition, you can lose reputation as an expect since you’re out of practice and it become parts of your business that you couldn’t delegate or improve. Knowledge is power. But having enough data from multiple instances allows you to get the comfortable “feel” that unlocks your ability to improve and refine. We see this with many marketing campaigns that haven’t been given enough time or budget to reach a saturation that provides enough data.

For example, a campaign ran for a client that had relatively specific criteria based on the client’s top 10 current customers. The first response was a closed deal to someone who didn’t even fit one criteria. The client was so ecstatic that the campaign worked, he wanted to do refocus exclusively on this particular type of customer. We suggested to wait until the campaign could run its full course and we could then accurately interpret the results. At the end of 6 weeks, that first person was the only one out of 165 sales that didn’t match similar criteria to the current top 10 customers.

Sometimes uncovering the latest or greatest thing is best. But when you have the data, your comfort zone is usually where the resources are best used and profitable. If only a golf course would make 18 holes that are 175 yards.

Course Management

One of the hardest things to learn in the game of golf is course management. Golfers have a saying “Drive for show…putt for dough” This saying sums up everything about course management. It’s looks great when you smoke a drive 300+ yds down the course but if you’re stuck in a well-placed sand trap, then it’ll be a while before you are out of that hazard and onto the green for the final score. After the round of golf you may talk about the big shots made, but you only really care about your score. The things that stay on your mind is what you usually need to fix. Golf is no different. The long drive worked, but you need to find out where you can shave a few more strokes off your round to get closer to par. After all, we’re all chasing par.

We all would love to drive the ball every hole but if you really sat down and dissected a golf course, you’ll come up with basically the same statics. A golf course has 18 holes. Generally, you have 5 par 3’s, 8 par 4’s and 5 par 5’s as the general framework. You shouldn’t be using a driver for the par 3’s and most of the par 4’s need at least two shots to make the green so with proper course management, you can avoid using a driver on those holes. The easiest benchmark to flow is going after GIR (Greens in Regulation). GIR means you’re on the green two shots below par, giving you the luxury of a birdie opportunity. This Key Performance Indicator or KPI, helps analyze where you need to improve. For example, if you are hitting all of your Greens in Regulation, but finishing the round 18 over par, you’ve got to work on putting since you’re averaging 3 putts per home.

With proper course management, you can help mitigate risk by placing shots in areas where you have a higher chance of scoring well. It’s hard to break par when you’re always between the trees trying to hit a low fade under the branches…unless you’re Bubba Watson but that’s also where practicing comes in…

Understanding your business landscape is your course management. There’s nothing worse that making a snap decision that ultimately costs your business’s time or money. Running a small business have their difficulties on a normal basis; running a business where you’re constantly in the “sand trap” or in the “water” will make your future that much more difficult and murky

Knowing your Limitations

Ironically, you really only need a driver for 5 out of the 18 holes yet it’s the most reached for club. Why? Well, generally from a survey of playing partners over the years is because it’s the most expensive piece of equipment and it’s shiny… PGA pros can drive a ball between 300-350 yards within a variance of 1-2% off centre for the majority of their drives. Most amateur golfers drive the ball between 180-270 yards with a 20-30% off centre. That’s a lot more trees and different fairways that you’re coming out of. It’s good to know what you can or can not do. At the end of the day, it’s about the score so play to win and not play for show!

This article was written by Sammy Chang, who can work throughout the day and visualize the birdie putt that got away and the hole in one that is bound to happen in the near future. If you liked this article, you can sign up for the Tangle Creative newsletter to receive the latest content delivered to your inbox.



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