How Trading is Like Playing Golf

04/15/2013 6:00 am EST


Certainly there are differences between sports and trading, but just as top pro golfers use a routine comprised of preparation, execution, and review, so do top traders, and Charles Kirk of The Kirk Report highlights just how similar the two are below.

Last week was one of best weeks of the year as the Masters officially marks the start of another golf season. This year, I will be starting my 26th year of playing golf, and I am as excited as ever to take my clubs out of the closet and head to the golf course. Those of you who don’t play are truly missing out on life’s best game!

Several years ago at a mentorship retreat, I had a very long conversation with members about how playing golf and trading the markets are similar. Many other traders have made the very same connection.

After the retreat, one member in particular shared his favorite quotes about the game of golf noticing how if you substituted the word trading for every time the word golf appears in the following list of quotes, the same statements about both endeavors would hold equally true.

Take a look:

Quotes About Golf and Trading

“Golf/Trading is a compromise between what your ego wants you to do, what experience tells you to do, and what your nerves let you do.” –Bruce Crampton

“Golf/trading is not, and never has been, a fair game.” –Jack Nicklaus

“You don’t know what pressure is until you play/trade for five bucks with only two bucks in your pocket.” –Lee Trevino

“No one will ever have golf/trading under his thumb. No round ever will be so good it could not have been better. Perhaps this is why golf/trading is the greatest of games.” –Bobby Jones

“Golf/Trading is not a game of great shots/trades. It’s a game of most accurate misses. The people who win make the smallest mistakes.” –Gene Littler

“Golf/Trading is the closest game to the game we call life. You get bad breaks from good shots/trades; you get good breaks from bad shots/trades—but you have to play the ball where it lies.” –Bobby Jones

“Golf/Trading is a difficult game, but it’s a little easier if you trust your instincts. It’s too hard a game to try to play like someone else.” –Nancy Lopez

“Golf/Trading is about how well you accept, respond to, and score with your misses much more so than it is a game of your perfect shots/trades.” –Dr. Bob Rotella

NEXT PAGE: More Similarities Between Golf & Trading


“Golf/Trading is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated.” –Arnold Palmer

“Concentration in golf/trading comes out of a combination of confidence and hunger.” –Arnold Palmer

“Golf/Trading is not a wrestle with bogey/loss; it is not a struggle with your mortal foe; it is a physiological, psychological, and moral fight with your self; it is a test of mastery over self; and the ultimate and irreducible element of the game is to determine, which of the players/traders is the more worthy combatant.” –Arnold Haultain

“Golf/trading is the loneliest sport. You’re completely alone with every conceivable opportunity to defeat yourself. Golf/trading brings out your assets and liabilities as a person. The longer you play, the more certain you are that a man’s performance is the outward manifestation of who, in his heart, he really thinks he is.” –Hale Irwin

“It takes hundreds of good golf shots/trades to gain confidence, but only one bad one to lose it.” –Jack Nicklaus

“If you think golf/trading is relaxing, you’re not playing it right.” –Bob Hope

“Golf/Trading is a game, which brings out the peculiarities and idiosyncrasies of human nature. It permits no compromises, recognizes no weaknesses, and punishes the foolhardy. Yet the apparent simplicity in hitting a small white ball from A to B lures all potential golfers/traders into a false sense of security. Every instinct in the human psyche says the game looks easy, therefore it must be. That, for many of us, is where the trouble starts.” –A.J. Dalconen

“The most important shot/trade in golf/trading is the next one.” –Ben Hogan

“A leading difficulty with the average golfer/trader is that he totally misunderstands what is meant by concentration. He may think he is concentrating hard when he is merely worrying.” -Bobby Jones

“A lot of guys who have never choked in golf/trading, have never been in the position to do so.” –Tom Watson

“Of all the hazards in golf/trading, fear is the worst.” –Sam Snead

“It’s a funny thing, the more I practice golf/trading, the luckier I get.” –Arnold Palmer

“Like most professional golfers/traders, I have a tendency to remember my poor shots/trades a shade more vividly than the good ones.” –Ben Hogan

“One reason golf/trading is such an exasperating game is that a thing we learned is so easily forgotten, and we find ourselves struggling year after year with faults we had discovered and corrected time and again.” –Bobby Jones

By Charles Kirk, Trader and Blogger, The Kirk Report

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