So the stereotypical dentist works four days a week and goes golfing the other three. That’s not a huge stretch for some of us (although I know several collegues who could not care less about golfing). A recent survey of dentists revealed that about 52% of dentists golf at least once per year and only about 18% play more than 15 times each year. For some of us, it gives us the ability to decompress from our careers, hang out with friends, compete, or just get outside. However, when you look at it a little closer, dentistry and golf have several other similarities that probably draw dentists toward the game.
1. Golf is used as a segway to business meetings because it can reveal more about a person than just a business lunch. Put a person in a dental chair and you may learn things that his/her friends don’t know.
2. Golf has many highs and lows. You can lose your composure after a bad shot, but have to figure a way to get back on course. When working with a human being and human teeth, things can go awry, but a dentist has to figure out a solution.
3. Golf is game played with others, but the final result is yours alone (your score). There are hygienists, assistants, and front desk employees helping the dentist, but ultimately the dentist is responsible for the end results.
4. A small number of golfers have to have the latest driver or game improving golf ball. A small number of dentists will be the first to own the latest piece of equipment or newest material.
5. Even the same golf course will present new challenges each time you play it. The dental practice and its patients will challenge the dentist differently each day.
6. Golf will test your patience. Patients will test your patience (our practice has very few that test our fortitude however).
7. Sinking a long putt, hitting a great drive or recording a birdie will keep you coming back for more. Cementing a great fitting crown, finishing a extensive treatment plan, or seeing your patient almost to joyful tears when they see their new smile; those are some of the moments that bring a dentist back each day.
8. No matter how good of a golfer you are, you always want to get better. One of a dentist’s top priorities should be to never stay satisfied and always improve his/her ability to provide the best care possible.
Let me give credit to the great writers of Dentaltown magazine for helping me with some of these insights. I suppose you could say the more golf I play the better my dentistry will be. If only my wife would believe that…