The golf season here in the PNW is about to begin, and even though we will still have some days when playing will still require some amount of “nails” or fortitude, we are all looking forward. For so many of us, the “tradition like no other” that takes place the first full week of April in Augusta, GA is when we feel like the new season really begins.

As we wrap up the series on utilizing stoic principles, “Convergence Towards Your Best Year (Yet) as a PGA Professional” we’re going to turn our focus to Wisdom. Interestingly, it will be these four principles (along with talent and luck) that will likely be present in the top performing players (and likely the winner) of the Masters. We will see courage, moderation, justice (e.g. kindness to oneself/others, patience, professionalism) and wisdom on display.

As stated in the previous four articles in this series, the goal here is to think more about “making the most” out of today (and this season) based on convergence. In an effort to provide context, please refer back to these three articles for reference as we continue to build on the foundation of Convergence: Overview (Article 1), Convergence: Courage (Article 2), Convergence: Moderation (Article 3) and Convergence: Justice (Article 4).

Don’t forget that in the last article, we defined Convergence as: “the act of converging and especially moving toward union or uniformity and consistency.” The goal is ultimately convergence in our three phases (mental, physical and spiritual) with alignment (vs separation), leading to being more “at peace” with ourselves. Like John Wooden’s “Pyramid of Excellence” when these three phases are stacked up well, they create a “more powerful, more effective whole, than what the three separate parts ever could.”

Hinge #4: Wisdom The “anchor” of the four “cardinal virtues” or characteristics of a Stoic is Wisdom. These four characteristics are what being a Stoic hinges on. And to get the benefit of these four “hinges” we need to do our best to apply them. I like seeing Wisdom as the anchor as it is the virtue that is required to “best use” the other three (and any other virtues that are of value).

“It is perhaps wisdom though, that stands out as the virtue around which all the other cardinal virtues revolve. Like Aristotle, the Stoics were concerned with applying virtue in real life, and without wisdom that was difficultwisdom is often considered to be the primary value in the four virtues of Stoicism, under which all the others sit,” according to Tim Lake, who shared his article An In-depth Understanding on the Four Virtues of Stoicism on He goes to on explain:

Justice is wisdom in social life, courage is wisdom under pressure, temperance is wisdom in decision making. But despite the discrete virtues, they all work together, and you can’t genuinely have one without having the others too. You cannot, for example, be temperate without having the wisdom to know how much is enough or without having the courage to take the necessary action. The same is true of the other virtues too. They are a single expertise and applying one virtue depends on having and using the others.”

So, what does wisdom look like in some common (and possibly uncommon) situations for us who are privileged to work in the golf industry (and with fellow employees, customers, members and similar stakeholders? (We could go so many directions with that, but here are a few that are at “top of mind” for me.)

  • Who You Hang Out With MATTERS, PART 1: Wisdom Doesn’t Have to Come With Age | One of the many reasons why I’ve had any success as a leader, (at facilities, within Section(s) and as a PGA member service person) is because of who I have chosen as my mentors. Instead of “learning the hard way,” I found it easier to learn from others who have “gone before me.” When I was a young PGA head professional, my first time with the title, I was a long way from my Dad (who, as some of you know was and still is, a key resource for mentoring, wisdom and more for me). I noted to him that I felt I was lacking his support, so he said (paraphrasing):

“I’ve been there, so I know what you’re feeling. Let me suggest something to you. Find a few ‘good men’ that seem to have good relationships with their spouses, with their kids and seem to have the kind of success you’re looking for. Find one that is about 5-10 years older than you, find another that is 10-15 years older and then another that is 15-25 years older than you are. Start close observation of them, and if they ‘pass the test for you’ and remind you of what you value in our relationship, let them know you’d like to develop a deeper relationship with them that would include mentoring. See what they think. If you’ve chosen well, they will probably think it is a great idea. Make sure you give them permission to call you out when you need it, to lift you up when you need it and push you forward when you need it…and finally ‘Mont’, let the fact that they are 5, 10, 15, 20 or so years ahead of you in life be a shortcut to wisdom (and it’s wise application) for you. Let their hard lessons be your easy ones.”

  • Who You Hang Out With MATTERS, PART 2: With Age, Wisdom IS NOT Guaranteed (Like Wrinkles) | Let’s be honest, we all know people who have the outward appearance of wisdom, but often fail to show such wisdom when it counts. In observing these people with any real effort, we may be able to see they’ve chosen to do the opposite of what we were mentored to do. This may not be in every area of their life, but in the area(s) we can see, it may be apparent. It is important to note that these people can be reverse mentors for us too, and sometimes provide us with a good laugh. Further, we’re talking about the appropriate use and manifestation of wisdom, not being funny, not having a good time or showing youthfulness. Those are different things. Maturity and wisdom are commonly found (and understood) together. My Grandpa Lafe taught me this: “Maturity is knowing how to act, when ___________________. (Fill in the current challenging scenario/situation.)” Question for you (and for me): In certain situations, especially those that matter, is your wisdom (or maturity) showing?
  • Who You Hang Out With MATTERS, PART 3: So You’ve Got Some Age (and Wrinkles), Are You Sought Out to Be Someone’s Mentor | As I think back to Part 1, I am thinking of people named David, Sam, Tom and Patrick and to this day, they’re still the same number of years older than me (no kidding), and they’re still providing me the same value they did when I was 27-ish (thanks guys). These are “life/family mentors” for me, but I have professional mentors too, and if you’ve ever read, heard or engaged with me, you have felt their impact or learned about them from me as they’ve been that impactful. As I approach my 11-year anniversary as a PGA employee focused on career coaching for PGA professionals and a business coach for golf employers, I can say I feel so blessed to be trusted as a coach/mentor to so many (and I’m trying to continually earn that trust too). Conclusion: No matter your age, you can be mentoring…so how are you doing?

(Sneak Peak: Now that we are ready to wrap up this series on the Four Cardinal Virtues, our next series will be on “What Matters in Our Professional Brand.” Here are a few topics planned in this series.)

  • “Being In (or Out) Integrity” Matters
  • “How is the World Occurring” Matters
  • “The Hall of Context” Matters
  • “The Details (Because of the Message)” Matter

A final thought for this series on making all these virtues “converge” for you.

  • “Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one.” (Marcus Aurelius, Mediations)
  • Modernized for us as PGA professionals/golf industry leaders: “Waste no more time arguing what a good PGA professional and/or golf industry leader should be. Be one.”

As with the previous topics in this series on Convergence (and the Four Cardinal Virtues of Stoicism), I would love to hear any thoughts you have on how these concepts apply to your work and career. Please feel free to email or call me at my contact information below.

Monte Koch, PGA Certified Professional, CEIP
PGA Career Consultant | PGA of America Career Services

PGA of America
Business, Operations & Career Coach in the Pacific NW and Rocky Mountain PGA Sections
Lea Hill, WA

My LinkedIn | My Professional Blog