you're reading...


The Golf Principle (80/90 rule)

I took a trip to the mountains this weekend and was able to get a round of golf in with family and friends. I recently purchased a new set of golf clubs and this was the first full round of play with them. It was during this game that I came up with a new business model, not to rival the Pareto principle (known as the 80/20 rule) but to accompany it hand-in-hand.

While the 80/20 rule relates to most aspects of business – 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers or 80% of your problems will come from 20% of your customers– I find golf to exist outside these parameters. I’ve concluded, from my own play and of those around me, that 80% of golfers will lose 90% of all the balls. Based on my experience, there is a slim minority of golfers who will lose the other 10% and this is mostly due to new clubs or other factors!

I also find that it’s the golfers who are mid-range players that will have more trouble in the rough than the rest. The number of balls you lose will depend on where you fit on the golf skill bell curve.

If you are first starting out, you probably won’t hit very far so no balls lost. As you increase your skill you will by default think you are better than you actually are. This means you try things that only pros should do and lose the most balls (this is the 80%) As your game gets even better you begin to know your limits and your clubs, thus losing less.

Maybe it’s a bit of a jump to call it a “Golf Principle” but it sure felt like a cosmic rule at $3.00 a ball!