A doctor, an ad guy, an ex-banker, and a chief of police walk onto a golf course . . . .

No, this isn’t the beginning of a joke. This is the makeup of my dad’s foursome who met each Thursday afternoon for years while I was growing up. These guys were lifelong friends who bonded over golf. As the years passed, the foursome dissolved, but my dad looks back on their Thursdays as some of the best times of his life.

After hearing stories such as the round where my dad (the doctor of the group) diagnosed his buddies’ ailments in 9 holes flat, it’s evident that these guys knew each other pretty darn well. They shared things they normally wouldn’t. Golfing together helps people grow together–both as golfers and as people.

The great part about golf, whether we’re golfing in our teens, twenties, or eighties, is that golf introduces us to amazing people and helps us form lifelong friendships, which is amazing in so many ways.

Golfers let each other show their true colors.

In golf, we know that our shots aren’t always that pretty. Bad shots are easier to take when we make them in front of people we know and love. And, we bring baggage with us in our golf bags, and I’m not talking about 5 irons. Sometimes, laughing, crying, venting, or whatever down the fairway with a trusted friend can be a nice way to work out a problem.

Golfing Buddies share in each other’s successes.

There’s nothing better than watching a foursome high-five each other on the green when someone makes a long putt or birdies a hole. Chances are that same foursome will be talking about that shot for years after. these are moments that full up the memory book for golfers. This also counts for sharing life successes. Golf buddies learn all about your life, and they will be there for the new job, the bad boyfriend, the big move . . . Whatever it is, chances are it will come up during a round.

Golfers also share defeats.

It seems that the more we golf with people the more they develop the sense of when to deliver an “it’s okay” for a bad shot, when to remain silent, and when to deliver some razzing. This is just what happens with close friends. The same goes for other life scenarios that are shared on the course. Breakups, first dates, family issues . . . these have all been discussed with my golfing buds.

Golfing with friends lets you learn about each other and yourself.

Getting comfortable with golfing buddies means you feel okay commenting on certain behaviors that others might call questionable.

“Julie, slow down. You drive the care like a maniac.”

“Kim, stop checking your phone.”

This also means others can call you out on behaviors that might now be so attractive. Golfing with regular partners puts you in an audience similar to siblings where you can say almost anything. While this has its pros and cons, usually it’s a pretty good thing to develop friendships that stand the test of true honesty.

Golf is the perfect way to find your people.

Like attracts like, and we’re drawn to people with like ideas. Most golfers find that the more they golf with the same people, the more they just enjoy the company of those people and golf becomes the added bonus. Golf helps us develop true friendships that stand the test of time. Golf outings lead to golf weekends, golf vacations, and time off the course spent with people you truly know and who truly know you.

Perhaps the best thing about finding great golf buddies is that because golf is a lifetime sport, it means you’ve got lifetime friends. Unlike the two high school football stars who can only reminisce about the glory days, golfers can actually golf together for their entire lives. One of my dad’s partners was about ten years older than him and always said he’d golf until they had to carry him off the course. True to his word, he golfed his last round at 98, leaving his buddies with lots of great stories and memories to share.