It's Never Too Late to Tee Up Your Golf Game
Over the last 5 years, the game of golf has been growing in popularity among amateurs taking it on as a new hobby or seasoned golfers itching to get back out there after the pandemic of Covid-19. With the controversy that is PGA vs. LIV Golf, the triumphant display of the underdog in Michael Block’s performance at the 2023 PGA Championship, and the new Netflix Series “Full Swing”, it’s no doubt that the game’s trajectory is heading in the right direction.
And given the recent volatility going on in our world – whether that’s capital markets and the economy or the professional golf setting – I think it’s appropriate to bring forth the idea that the two don’t differ too much, and if you’re just getting started, here are few things to consider before you take them on. Patience, persistence, and focus—the qualities that help long-term investors thrive in the markets—are advantageous on the golf course as well. Like investors, golfers are most successful when they can keep their emotions in check and adapt their strategy to face unexpected headwinds (or wind gusts). It's no wonder investors are drawn to golf, after all, they both require time and strategy to achieve success. Gary Player once said, “A good golfer has the determination to win and the patience to wait for the breaks.”
I thought this reflects the comparison of investing and golf well because of how important it is to stay optimistic yet disciplined and allow time (and practice) to achieve the best results. So, if you’re new to the game, here are a few things you’ll need to consider as you get started.
The challenge of the game may seem daunting, but it's never too late to tee up your golf game. Many people find their interest piqued around mid-career when they finally have enough free time to devote to a hobby. Golf combines exercise, fresh air, skill, challenge, and sometimes business opportunity. Of course, becoming a golfer requires an initial investment. New golfers generally purchase lessons, golf clubs, and appropriate attire, including shoes. Greens fees and other ongoing costs of playing can vary widely depending on how often you play and whether you choose public golf courses or private club membership.
Lessons are key, and the best way to find an instructor is through word of mouth. Ask around or check the online directories of Golf Digest and Golf Magazine. Don't hesitate to inquire if a country club's instructor accepts non-members as students; many do. Take your time to find the right instructor at the right price for your budget. A lesson can range from $50 on the lower end to $200 or more on the higher end; purchasing a package of multiple lessons can reduce the average cost per lesson. Like investing, having the humility to defer to experts for help could exponentially improve your results.
Hold off on buying golf clubs until you've had a few lessons and decided you definitely want to play. Your golf clubs do not need to be brand new, but they do have to fit the player's size, swing speed, and strength. Making an appointment with a certified club fitter is helpful. They can be found at large retail chains, boutique golf shops, and golf ranges, and Golf Digest maintains a free online directory. Getting fitted can cost between $50 and $200 and equips new golfers with information on grip type, head model, shaft flexibility, and other features that would help them get the most out of their game.
Armed with a list of golf clubs to purchase, golfers can buy them new or shop around for bargains. Golf pros can be a great source of leads for used clubs. The rules of golf state that golfers can carry a maximum of 14 clubs. It's perfectly okay to buy a full set, but beginners can get by with half as many, or what's known as a "short set." A typical short set will include a 3-wood, 3- and 5-hybrids, a 7-iron and 9-iron, and a putter. 2nd Swing Golf in Columbia, MD is a great place to look for used clubs varying in price and condition. If you are looking to fill a gap in your bag or complete a short set, you can even purchase clubs “a la carte”.
Golf, of course, can be time-consuming. For an experienced foursome, playing 18 holes typically requires around four hours. Playing nine or even six holes can be a great way for a novice to gain experience on the course. If you're new and don't want to feel rushed by the party behind you, call the course and ask which tee times would be best for a newer, slower player.
Once you've got the rhythm of the game, be prepared to fall in love with it. Your ultimate decision will be where to play, how often, and with whom. Public courses are more crowded and less expensive than country clubs, which usually charge initiation fees and annual dues. But time is money. Many players decide to join a country club to play quicker rounds, closer to home, with less hassle and more amenities, including the flexibility to entertain business associates and prospects.
Overall, golf offers a unique combination of mental and physical challenges, making it a rewarding and fulfilling hobby to pursue. With the right guidance, equipment, and dedication, you can tee up your golf game at any stage in life and enjoy the countless benefits it brings.
Williams Asset Management is located at 8850 Columbia 100 Parkway, Suite 204, Columbia, MD 21045. For additional information about the services of Williams Asset Management, please call (410) 740-0220. Advisory services are offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®, a Registered Investment Adviser. Williams Asset Management and Commonwealth Financial Network® do not provide legal or tax advice.
This material has been provided for general informational purposes only and does not constitute either investment or tax advice. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a financial advisor or tax preparer.