Professional Courtesy Rx for Happiness: Golf by Dr. Thomas Giacobbi

Dentaltown Magazine

by Thomas Giacobbi, DDS, FAGD, editorial director, Dentaltown magazine

How Golf Is Like Dentistry

Golf Dentistry
Golf is an adjunct to many business meetings because it will reveal more about the people you are with than a business lunch.
Put someone in a dental chair and you will learn things about him that his friends don’t know.
Golf is filled with highs and lows; you can be playing well and then lose your composure after you hit an errant shot. Now you must figure out a way to get back on course. Some procedures are completed without complication, but others present surprises when your patient is “feeling it,” your proximal contact is light, a file is separated, a root tip breaks off, an impression has a bubble ... figure out a solution and get your case back on track.
Golf will test your patience. Patients will test your patience.
Golf is never the same game twice, even when you play on the same course. Every day in your dental practice is different, even when you see the same patients from one day to another.
Putting requires a player to read the contours of the green and make a decision about the best path and speed for his putt. Dentistry requires that a dentist can mimic the existing contours of an anterior tooth when shaping a composite filling on the adjacent tooth.
A small number of golfers are quick to purchase the latest driver or newest game-enhancing ball. A small number of dentists will be the first on their block to own the latest piece of equipment or newest material.
No matter how good you are at golf, you want to get better. No matter how long you’ve been a dentist, you can always get better.
The satisfaction from sinking a long putt, hitting a great drive or scoring a birdie brings you back for more. Cementing a crown without adjustments, finishing an extensive treatment plan or receiving a letter from your patient; these are moments that make it possible to come back another day.

I recently returned from the 16th annual Townie Meeting in Orlando, Florida. This was the first time Dentaltown hosted its yearly gathering anywhere besides Las Vegas, and it turned out to be a resounding success—the location attracted many first-time attendees, and some terrific old friends as well.

The meeting has always been a mix of education and entertainment; one of my favorite events is golfing with Townies. This year, we were guests of Scheduling Institute at Disney’s Magnolia Golf Course. Whether I’m on a golf course alone, playing with my family or, in this case, playing with dental colleagues I’d just met, golf is always a wonderful rejuvenation. Those who don’t play golf will say they don’t understand why anyone would chase a little white ball around for four hours. On the other hand, those who love the game see so much more than just the goal of getting the ball into the hole.

In fact, there are so many similarities between golf and dentistry that it makes total sense that dentists have long been associated with the game of golf. I think there are fewer dentists playing golf now because the time commitment has been a challenge in this age of distractions. If you’re looking for an outlet to ease your frustrations at work, or you need a hobby to usher in your retirement, consider golf. Play nine holes if you’re short on time, or simply spend time working on your short game. There are few activities that can keep you active well into your golden years.

I know there will be many others who share a similar level of passion for fishing, tennis or other activities—the most important message is to find something that energizes you outside of your office! Spend enough time doing these things that you can find balance and recharge your batteries before the next Class II composite walks in the door.

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