The Masters is special. “A tradition unlike any other” is how the television stations often describe the annual tournament. It isn’t just about golf, it’s an event that stretches into pop culture history.
With a million shades of green (including the iconic jacket donned by the winner) highlighted by acres of blooming magnolias and azaleas, Augusta National provides a pristine backdrop for this annual obsession. But aesthetics aside, no course makes players beat themselves as regularly as Augusta.
As traders, we often beat ourselves too. So in honor of the Masters, here are five ways to stay on course and avoid the common traps and hazards that can derail your game.
1. Have the Right Clubs in your Bag
Taking your grandfather’s old wooden clubs from the garage may be okay for hacking around the public course while knocking back a few brews. But serious golfers know the need for clubs tailored to you and your game. Beyond the bevy of different brands, you have to choose the shaft of the driver or the degree of loft in the head for your woods. It gets even more granular when you add the cavity and head size of the club face for irons. Putters, forget about it. You could spend weeks selecting from the thousands of options.
The key is finding the right clubs that match your specific swing. For traders, the choice can be simple when it comes to software that fits your strategy. Whether you are a day trader specializing in Forex or a swing trader focusing on a specific stock sector, VantagePoint is the complete software solution for today’s volatile, intertwined markets.
VantagePoint provides leading indicators for about 600 markets across 22 categories divided neatly into three categories – commodities, financials, and stocks with more than a dozen proprietary, forward-looking and easily-accessible technical indicators. No golf cart necessary to tote around a heavy bag, VantagePoint fits nicely onto your home computer.
2. Timing is Everything
With your golf swing, the key to getting good distance, consistency and control is perfect timing. But this can be elusive for golfers as one millisecond is all it takes to hit the ball too early or too late.
Traders struggle with the same frustrating timing issue. They either get into a trade after a trend has started or got into a trend too early only to get stopped out. They are in the proverbial sand trap because most traders use lagging technical indicators. These indicators rely solely on past data. You can realistically expect better results if you switch to leading technical indicators like those found in VantagePoint.
VantagePoint’s full suite of predictive, leading indicators helps keep your trades on the fairway by achieving that elusive perfect timing.
3. Hit the Practice Tee
Saying you have to practice, whether in trading or golf, isn’t groundbreaking advice. But, practice without purpose doesn’t make you better. Perfect practice does. You can go to the range and hit a bucket of balls with no purpose and have fun, but don’t expect to break 100 on your next outing. Same thing with trading. To get better you have to practice with a purpose. If you are paper trading, be diligent about your journaling or trading log. Remember, when there is real money on the line, there are no mulligans with your broker. You’re only competing with yourself so be honest about your progress.
4. Focus on Your Short (Trading) Game
Sure it’s sexy to crush a 350-yard drive with your Big Bertha. But golf is often won and lost around the greens. The pros know they must rely on their short game to win tournaments.
Smart traders also know the market is a two-way street and you need to trade from the short side. Sticking to “long-only strategies” limits your trading opportunities. VantagePoint’s forecasts provide insight 1-3 days in advance. This allows traders to make money in both up and down markets.
5. Remember the Wind…
…and the green speed, the grass length, the altitude, the softness of the ball and the thousands of other variables that affect a golf shot. It isn’t easy to process all this information, even with the help of a professional caddy.
Traders also recognize there is a confluence of factors affecting any market they trade. Solid analysis must include the interplay of global market forces. The price of U.S. equities can be tied to the price of oil, the price of the Chinese stock market and a variety of other market forces. The challenge is finding trading tools that keep pace with the shifting intermarket realities to help predict market trends. Most trading software ignores these intermarket relationships. Those that do are not updating their parameters to forecast new trends.
VantagePoint employs a sophisticated neural network process to identify which markets have the most influence on a target market. It then produces a set of intermarket data to generate predictive indicators for short-term price trend forecasts for today’s volatile markets.