Improving Your Swing
How long have you been playing golf?
What do you most like about playing golf?
What are the parallels between golf and trading?
Another very clear comparison to me is the importance of having the right mindset in both golf and trading. It’s so important to get the psychology right; you have to manage your emotions. If you get angry and upset about stuffing up shot in golf you’re probably going to continue to play badly for the whole round. You have to be able to forget about it and approach the next shot without any residual resentment. Similarly, in trading, I see so many people get badly affected when they lose trades. They lose money and it totally throws them off balance so that they start making bad decisions about future trades. You have to walk away from every bad shot like you have to walk away from every trading loss.
I love how in both golf and trading you are playing the same course (and respectively the same money markets) as everyone else. In football you can’t just show up and play at White Hart Lane, you have to be a professional to play there. The same applies to tennis, you can’t turn up and play in Wimbledon, you have to qualify. In golf, however, I can go and play at St Andrews or Augusta where the pros play. We can all play on the same courses. When you are trading, you are trading the same money markets as the top hedge fund traders. Furthermore, in both golf and trading you have a fair chance of beating the pros. If I’m playing a pro or a scratch player (i.e. someone who plays at par) and I’m playing off an 18 handicap, it’s perfectly possible for me to beat him. If you make a better decision than a hedge-fund trader with a multi-million pound account and you make money on a trade that he or she misses, you make more money than them, even if you only make £100.
I’d also say that golf and trading are similar in that both are lifelong journeys of learning and improving. You have to give time and commitment to both, and look at both as lifetime pursuits. You don’t take up golf and if you’re not playing off scratch in 6 months give it up. Similarly you shouldn’t take up trading and if you’re not a millionaire after 6 months give up! In both it’s a process of taking the rough (pun intended) with the smooth, taking your bad shots and losses on the chin, and always moving forward and gradually getting better.
To sum up, and to expand on the comparisons I’ve already made, I think the thing I like best about both golf and trading is how collaborative and supportive you can be in both. I don’t lose money by helping my students win. And I encourage them to share information and help each other. Similarly in golf, if I help my friends get better we all have a better round.