Have a hankering to get in a few rounds but can’t seem to find anyone else with time to play? Looking to improve your game at your own pace? Find yourself needing a little more than a driving range can provide?
There are plenty of legitimate reasons to golf on your own, however many are often hesitant to do so. As a golfer, you’re likely used to playing in a group as well as seeing others play in a group. Golf, for all intents and purposes, is usually a social game. Because of this, heading over to the club for a solo round might feel slightly intimidating, or perhaps too unfamiliar. Do solo players have any say on the course? (Yes.) Isn’t the social experience integral to playing the right way? (No.)
Despite any initial reservations, playing alone can turn out to be a very beneficial and efficient way to golf. In certain instances, it can even prove more advantageous to play alone than with a group. Below you’ll find a few of the unexpected perks you may not have realized were possible while going it solo.
You will play at your own pace.
No coin flip, no deciding who’s away, no waiting on others to locate their balls on the fairway. While playing by yourself, you can simply drive and go. Or if you want to be leisurely, taking the time to read the greens or play the conditions is also possible.
You’ll feel noticeably less pressure.
Ever notice a player who starts off with a few bad swings and afterward can’t seem to get back on track? Oftentimes when we play with others we can ‘psyche-our-selves-out’ due to the competitive context.
You might be all too familiar with the concept of the ‘yips,’ an entirely psychosomatic affliction that affects about a quarter to one half of all golfers. The ‘yips’ throws off a golfer’s game despite their best efforts. Playing without competition is the ideal circumstance to figure out ways you can manage the condition.
You can get more exercise. Or not.
When playing with a partner or in a group, you may find yourself constrained to moving about the course how the majority chooses. Can’t have some players walking and others riding the cart… However, while playing alone, the choice is yours. Interested in getting some extra exercise? Grab a pushcart for your bag or strap it up and you can stroll from hole to hole as you’d like. Think you’d rather use a cart and save some time? Take a swing and drive the cart directly to where it lands. Not only will you be able to choose to walk or ride, but if you opt for riding to the next hole, you’ll also have full control of the radio to help you enjoy the game that much more.
You have an opportunity for some quality ‘me’ time.
Even the most social of us from time to time find the need for moments to our selves. Golfing alone proves to be a great way to clear your head. Without the distraction of other players, all you have to worry about is your own game. This can allow you to relax, as there’s no need to keep score. You can also take more mulligans and drops without being penalized, just so long as you don’t hold up other parties trying to play through.
All in all, golfing alone is an excellent way to become a better golfer. You could even go so far as to say that any golfer motivated to significantly improve should play on his or her own every so often. So when you feel that urge to get out on the course, don’t be discouraged if your friends can’t make it – get out there and play your game anyway!
Samantha Richards is a freelance writer with several years of experience writing in the sports, technology and lifestyle fields.