Playing as a single can be a fun social experience

Golf is meant to be enjoyed with a group, but there are going to be times when your group isn’t available and you still want to play.

What’s stopping you?

If you go out there as a single, do you think it’s going to be like waiting to be chosen for a childhood game? When you’re assigned to a group, it’s not as if they’re going to say, “He’s not playing with us. He’s not good enough.”

For one thing, they don’t have a choice in the matter. It’s the decision of the pro shop or the starter.

For another, I’ve never seen that and I doubt I ever will. That’s just not how it’s done in our great game. We don’t treat each other like that.

Golf is the only sport where you can get up in the morning and decide you want to play, and within minutes you can have a game.

Could you do that in tennis? Could you go to your local courts (if there’s anyone even there) and bellow, “Anyone want to play?” I doubt it.

How about bowling? What kind of look would you get from the employee behind the counter if you said, “I don’t want to bowl alone; can you pair me up with someone?” Again, doubtful.

Yes, playing golf with people you know is usually better. You know their games. They know yours. It’s a four-hour social outing – almost certainly your favorite social outing of the day.

But I’ve played as a single about a half-dozen times this year, and it actually has been really good. Time and again, I’ve been paired with nice people. (Makes sense – aren’t all golfers nice people?) At the end of 18 holes, it’s as if we had known each other for years.

We talk about everything – where we’re from, what we do/did for a living, why we love golf, our strategy in playing this course, you name it.

In a way, it’s a nice change of pace from playing with your buddies, whose stories you already know. With your friends, it’s four hours of busting on each other and, if you’re playing a match, getting very intense about trying to win this hole. With people you don’t know, you just play – and talk.

When the round is over, you even might exchange cellphone numbers and promise to play again sometime soon. Just as you can never have too many friends, it’s impossible to have too many golf partners.

Playing as a single can be enjoyable even if it’s late in the day and there isn’t a group to join.

If you’re a social butterfly, don’t look at that as a defeat. It can be nice to play in your own little cocoon, taking in the sights and sounds of a golf course winding down for the day.

And look on the bright side: You can get in a lot more holes if you’re playing alone and the course is wide open. Or maybe you’ll meet up with someone else doing the same thing and meet another new friend.

Either way, there’s no reason why you can’t play today. Yes, golf is meant to be played with a group, but the bottom line is that it’s meant to be played.

What’s stopping you?

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