The Mental Similarities of Playing Golf and Trading

Discussion in 'Psychology' started by sheridan, Jan 6, 2006.

  1. sheridan


    For Fun:) Compliments of

    The Mental Similarities of Playing Golf and Trading
    Golf clubs theoretically are put away from summer play. With the drought like conditions in Chicago this summer, I took advantage of the weather and played golf and played more golf. Living in the Chicago land area all my life I have learned that when the sub zero winds blowing off of Lake Michigan aren’t whipping in your face, take your clubs out. If you play golf, I am sure that you understand.
    To ease my guilty feeling about playing so much golf, I decided to write an article on the mental similarities of playing golf and trading. The more I played, the more ideas I got. The best of both worlds.
    Below is a summary of my thoughts and hard work on the golf course on the similarities of Golf and Trading;
    1). Before you take your first swing, you evaluate the course conditions. Is it windy or still, where the tee box is aiming you, is there a dogleg in the fairway, location of hazards that might come into play, is the ground soft or hard, is the hole going to play long or short, and the pin placement.
    1). Before you make your first trade, you evaluate the market conditions. Where did the market close the day before, what is the pre-opening call, what is in the news, what economic data is coming out and what are traders looking for in these numbers, where are the support and resistance areas.
    2). You tee up the ball, get your direction and keep your eye on the ball. You need confidence in your shot.
    2). You get your entry/exit points and keep your eye on the numbers. You need confidence in your execution.
    3). You need to focus on every shot. Is the ball in the fairway, first cut, sand, or in the woods? Your position will determine your next shot.
    3). You need to focus on every trade. Is your trade in the money or out, are you on the right side of the trend, is the market volatile? Your position will determine your next trade.
    4). No “Hail Mary’s”. You have a bad shot or a bad trade; you get yourself back into play and take the penalty.
    5). The objective of golf is score well. Maximize your good shots and minimize your bad shots. Make money if you are the betting type.
    5). The objective of trading is to make money. Maximize your good trades and minimize your bad trades. Make enough money to play golf.
    You want to “play” the course and “trade” the market. Be aware of how each is set up, don’t try and beat either. The golf course and the market will tell you what to do, you just need to: “LISTEN”.
  2. Hey Sheridan, I play Golf and use the similarties of it and trading alot when trying to explain things to newbie traders...just wanted to say I really Liked the Post! good luck in the market and on the links :)
  3. sheridan


    Thank you for your kind words. I was fun writing the article. Good luck to you too:)
  4. How about:

    6.) Play to par the hole. Sometimes you'll play it well enough that you birdie it, which is wonderful. However if you play to birdie, many times you will make bogey or worse, since courses are set up to punish the bold when they err.
  5. sheridan


    I like your point 6.
    How about the trading side for 6; Trade the trend. Buying at the low or selling at the high is nice but don't forget " Bulls and Bears make money, but Pigs get slaughtered":)
  6. golfnut


    As you can see from my name I'm an avid golfer also. Although living in Hawaii, I don't have to consider the weather like you do in Chicago.

    Anyway, I like your comparison. Golf and trading are the same in the sense that you control everything, and the only one to blame is yourself when a bad shot (or bad trade) happens. Following your strategy is the toughest thing to do when you are in the field of play.
  7. I see a few similarities but not as many as you point out in your opening post. I would say trading is similar to competitive golf, as opposed to a casual round, where a bunch of guys give each other 2 foot putts, take unnecessary risks on par 5's, etc, etc. In competiton, one's core personality emerges because the consequences are very real for any miscalculations or foolish decisions. Conservative personalities(in a competitive sense) tend to take fewer chances, play for position, shoot away from pins, etc, etc. Aggressive personalities tend to do the exact opposite.

    However, I still feel that golf has a completely different rhythm to it than trading. With golf, you follow a progression of 18 holes and can consciously control your pace, your pre-shot routine, your mental focus, etc, etc. In trading, you play much more so by the market's rules and there is no consistency in terms of how often the opportunities are there or how much time will elapse between opportunities. IMO, it takes much more focus to stay sharp in trading than it does in competitive golf. You can train your mind to focus for those 4-5 hours as you know which holes you will play, how you will play them, etc, etc. With trading, you are required to be in a constant ready state even though you really dont know when or where those opportunities will come from. Just my humble opinion.
  8. sheridan


    Thank you. I would like to have my "field of play" in Hawaii:)
  9. I recently bought a book named "Be the Ball" which is filled with wonderful golf quotes from guys like Butch Harmon, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Tiger Woods, among many others, that nicely apply to trading.

    One of the phrases that I always keep in mind while trading is one from Butch Harmon that says, "Sometimes we get so afraid of hitting bad shots that we don't let ourselves hit good ones".
  10. guy2


    There's another excellent book that I recommend to all traders whether or not you're a golfer. In fact I've bought the book 3 times and don't have a copy myself because I've given it away that many times. It's Bob Rotella's Golf is Not a Game of Perfect

    Bob Rotella is a great golf psychologist who has worked on the inner game with the best of them. If you're a golfer as well as a trader then this book is a double bonus.

    Thanks for your very apt golf and trading comparison sheridan!! :)
    #10     Jan 12, 2006