The chairmen of the board have long danced to golf’s seductive tune. The attraction is no mystery. Immune to money and power, golf kowtows to no man. Those accustomed to having their own way find this refreshing and beguiling. A permissible pressure valve, golf additionally offers robust opportunities for heroism. Its value in observing the human condition is also unmatched in peace time. They mix as seamlessly as Scotch and water.

A recent book, Deals on the Green, probes for the life and business lessons gleaned from golf by some notable corporate high rollers. One suggests a successful approach to business is akin to the process of wining a major. “You don’t focus on winning when you start,” he told author David Rynecki. ”You focus on being in the hunt on Sunday.”

Bullying may take one far in commerce but only so far in golf, and I was taken by the following observation:

Golf may be either a game of pleasure, or a matter of business – i.e., it may be a means of relaxation from the care of life, or it may be used as a road towards a personal end. The “pot-hunter” is usually an egomaniac, with the instincts of a savage whose aim in life is to add yet another scalp to his belt; for him golf constitutes a life of selfish attainment.

Theo Hyslop’s observation, written, incidentally, in 1927, reveals both the attraction of golf and a danger. Should the purity of the game be threatened into becoming just the quest for another scalp, nothing more than the bottom line of selfish attainment, success will ultimately exclude what can only be regarded as the game’s essence, which has little to do with the outcome.

It is up to each of us to steward and shepherd the game’s course, setting a tone for consideration that distances golf from the other sports where success often comes at terrific human cost. And, yes, this obligation to each other and to golf extends to all, from the humblest duffer to the wealthiest titan. No one, be it by wealth, influence or power, is excluded or immune from their obligations.
By Sir Walter

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