During these past summer months of uncertainty and travel restrictions, I have found solace in the sport I love most, golf. Yes, my recreational passion is playing golf. Enjoying a round of golf with friends and acquaintances on a beautiful, sunny day is my therapy for a good day. Friendly competition can sometimes lead to frustration over bad shots, but all in all, experiencing mother nature and her scenic beauty while on a golf course restores my passion for life.
During these unprecedented times, with social distancing being the new norm, a golf course can be a sanctuary to experience. Yet, what I really enjoy about golf are its life lessons. There are plenty rules in golf, more than one can imagine, some questionable, but rules made over a century ago in Scotland by the forefathers of golf, to keep the integrity of the game intact.
Integrity, by dictionary definition means “a firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values”. In the game of golf, your integrity to the rules of golf is everything since there are no referees, umpires, or fans watching your every move as in other sports. If by intention or mistake, an infraction of the rules occurs, even if no one else witnesses the infraction, you, the golfer, must call out a penalty on yourself. To be honest with oneself can be difficult for some. A little ”foot wedge” to improve one’s lie in golf while no one is looking, a miscount on strokes on a given hole to lower your score, “sandbagging” your scores or not entering your good scores in the handicap system to keep a higher handicap for future competitions are all examples of dishonesty and a lack of integrity.
It’s so easy to gain an advantage over others in the game of golf and life by stretching the rules. We all have free will, but our free will almost never moves toward wrong seen as wrong. It moves toward wrong that we convince ourselves is good. We justify in our minds what is right from wrong, even if it goes against the rules of integrity.
Applying integrity to my life, to my business of financial advice to others, to my family and faith in God, and to the game of golf is very important to me. To do what is best for others and not necessarily for myself is a high standard I try to live up to. To not give myself a ‘foot wedge” to improve my bad lie in golf, but rather figure out a way within the rules to play on.
To win at all costs is not winning but cheating one’s integrity. Have the courage to face the truth, to be able to look yourself in the mirror and respect the person you see.
Our team at Legacy Wealth Advisors of NY adhere to integrity and honesty with our clients. In everything we do and discuss in our practice, our #1 rule is to do what is in the best interest of the client under their circumstances first, not what is best for us. We’re here to plan, grow, and protect you, your family, your businesses and your wealth.
Written by Jeffrey Chapman, Partner, Legacy Wealth Advisors of NY