Last week in our blog, Austin wrote about how it is fun to golf with others. While it is very fun to golf with others and is something I enjoy very much, I have empathy with those who would rather not be paired up with strangers at the golf course. Sometimes, we all just want a relaxing solo round to ourselves or a nice round with the one friend we brought with us. Evening twilight rounds or really early morning tee times can still allow for this type of round, but most rounds played at busy times will likely not give you that luxury.
Golf courses have to pair people up to achieve a steady pace of play and to also ensure the maximum number of golfers can use the course on a given day. Since this is something you will likely experience at many golf courses you may play, I wanted to talk about some tips to help make your paired up round stress-free and fun!
Tip #1: Maintain Pace of Play
I think one of the biggest misconceptions I have seen related to pairing up is that people may not enjoy playing with you based on skill level. Many people do not want to play with strangers because they feel they are not good and do not want to interfere with a stranger’s round. From what I have seen working at the American Classic Golf Club and playing many other golf courses, people do not care how good you are. What they care about is how fast you play. It does not matter what you score and shooting a 110+ can still be enjoyable with any person, regardless of skill level, if you do not hinder pace of play and pick up when necessary. So, play fast and have a great round with players of all skill levels!
Tip #2: Play the Tee Boxes for Your Game
A good way to keep pace with any player is to play the tees that best fit your game. If you are paired with experienced golfers who decide to play from the back tees, do not feel like you have to play back there with them. Playing from forward tees will not only make your round more enjoyable but will also help keep your group moving.
Tip #3: Play One Ball
It can certainly be annoying getting grouped with somebody who constantly drops 2-3 balls onto the tee after their first tee shot. This not only slows the pace of play within your group and the course, but it can also hinder your playing partners rounds. Some people might not know they are not supposed to do that, so if you happen to get paired up with somebody who is constantly doing this, politely asking them to play one ball will likely get them to stop. If the course is not too busy and your group is on board, then by all means play an extra shot or two here and there but avoid doing this right out of the gate.
Tip #4: Don’t Show Off
For more experienced golfers, I think the easiest way to ruin a golf round with strangers is to show off. Constantly talking about how good you are and always looking to one-up you’re playing partners can make for an annoying round. Many people you may be paired up with are not looking for competition and did not show up to the course to watch how good you are. Play your game as you want to the best of your ability but avoid showing off to your playing partners!
Tip #5: Be Friendly
This is a good way to be in anything you do, but this is especially true in golf. Even if you are unhappy to be paired, there is no reason to be rude to your playing partners. There is no need to be ultra-social and outgoing, and it is totally fine to do your own thing on the course by yourself or with your one friend you came to the course with. Regardless, being friendly and somewhat social with your playing partners will make for a great round no matter who you are paired with.
I understand the pressures that can come with playing with strangers. I used to dread being paired up with strangers too, but now I enjoy it. Stick to these tips and keep an open mind, and who knows you may just meet some great people in the process!
-Sam Cresta, Assistant Golf Professional at American Classic GC