Moving Us Closer To Osler
A Miller Coulson Academy of Clinical Excellence Initiative

Medicine is Like Golf

Kau Sai Chau Public Golf Club, Hong Kong.


In both medicine and golf, it's helpful to accept that much is beyond our control. Trusting our ability —grounded in thousands of hours of focused practice—may allow us to have the confidence that our best efforts will usually translate into favorable results.

My grandpa got me into golf when I was five. It was simply something to do together—chipping around in his backyard, reading golf magazines, and drinking orange pop afterwards. After he passed away, I wanted to make him proud. I golfed competitively through high school, practicing constantly and reading everything possible about golf. One of the most inspiring books I read was “Golf is a Game of Confidence,” by Dr. Bob Rotella.



The margin for error is so small

In “Any Given Sunday,” the 1999 sports drama about an American football team, Al Pacino’s character gives a locker room speech:


“Because in either game—life or football—the margin for error is so small. I mean, one half a step too late or too early and you don’t quite make it.” -Coach Tony D’Amato, “Any Given Sunday”


The same applies to golf—a 7 millimeter difference in the path of the club is the difference between a perfect shot and one that hits the side of someone’s house. Trusting our ability in both medicine and golf —grounded in thousands of hours of focused practice—can allow us to have the confidence that our best efforts will usually translate into favorable results.



Fortune favors the bold

Boldness and confidence are critical to success. Without confidence, it doesn’t matter how much the golfer practiced, she’ll inevitably tense up at just the wrong moment or contort her body in a way that sends the shot offline. But with confidence, her body flows smoothly and gracefully, the club’s path falling perfectly into place and striking the ball crisply.



But it’s not easy

The energy invested in building confidence—and competence—can help forge stronger relationships with your patients, who tacitly exhibit their confidence in you every time they visit.