It happens to every golfer eventually. One day, you’ll be minding your own business, just returning from your latest golf lesson and enjoying the satisfaction of a practice well-done, but before you can even scarf down your post-golf reward, it happens.
“We should go golfing together some time.”
And you’re standing there, staring at the person who you thought was supposed to love and support you just drop this bombshell, expecting you to eventually give some sort of response.
This usually ends either one of two ways:
- You say “Sounds great, hon. Love you!” And now you have a golf date with the person who means the most to you in the world.
- You jump back in your car and head straight for the border to make a fresh start in a new town.
At least, that’s what it can feel like if you’re not sure whether you’re ready to golf with someone important to you just yet.
Maybe your significant other is the reason you got into golf? Maybe you’re learning golf to spend more time with the people you love? Maybe you want to show off all the progress you’ve made in your golf lessons, but you’re nervous you’ll forget everything when someone other than your instructor is watching?
Regardless of the millions of reasons out there, golfing with the important people in your life—whether that be your spouse, your parents, your friends, or really anyone at all—can seem simultaneously like the best and worst idea of all time.
So, before you take the plunge, here are the pros and cons you might want to consider before playing a round of golf with the important people in your life.
Golf Shows You a Person’s True Colors
The first time you golf with someone who you think you know really well, don’t be surprised if by the third hole you feel like you’re playing with a complete stranger. But before you start looking for the zipper to their human suit, take a minute to understand that golf has a ridiculous way of bringing all sorts of repressed personality traits out of a person that a night of binging Stranger Things and ordering in takeout never would.
Suddenly, quiet, bashful types who would rather set a spider free than squish it with a tissue will swear the sort of vengeance on a missed, two-foot putt that would give Liam Neeson a run for his money. Or, a person who caught your eye because of his shameless extroversion might shy away from celebrating narrowly avoiding that sand trap because he’s not sure what the proper etiquette is for such a thing.
The same could also be turned back on you. Maybe you pride yourself on being a by-the-book gal who always puts the shopping cart back at the grocery store, but in golf, you tend to “forget” to rake up after you hit from the bunker because no one was around to catch you. Or you’re worried you’ll embarrass your playing partners when they find out you’ve been wearing golf gloves on both hands because you don’t want uneven tan lines.
You can run from the truth, but you can’t hide it in golf.
But here’s the thing, whether good or bad, you love the important people in your life for a reason, and they love you for a reason as well. A few surprises here and there can make your relationship stronger. And if the flaws are too glaring to let go, well, there are worse settings than golf to find that out.
You’re Compatible in Everything but Skill Level
Another thing to consider before golfing with someone you love—especially someone who has been golfing for a long time before you started playing—is the inevitable power dynamics that go on in a round of golf. You might be worried that your boyfriend, who doesn’t stop telling you about how he was this close to getting a hole-in-one that one time on his college golf team, is going to get annoyed at you for slowing down the pace of play.
On the other hand, you might come to find that, though he can drive farther than you can even imagine, you might show him up with your short game.
Because golf can often be just as personal of a game as a social one, it can be hard to golf with people who do things differently or have a hard time remembering that golf is just a game. But just like in all relationships, no one side is as equally matched as the other. You will be good at things he isn’t and he will be good at things you’re not. As long as you both approach the differences with a positive attitude, you might learn something from each other and about yourselves.
Golf is a Long Game
In theory, spending an extra four hours on the weekend with your loved ones sounds great. Who wouldn’t want more time with their friends and family as they play a wonderful game on a beautiful course and while away the day outdoors? But, just like what happens an hour or two into every Thanksgiving, things can get real when it’s just you and your loved ones.
If golf started as something you did alone to have some well-deserved me-time, suddenly inviting the people you see every day into your outdoor sanctuary can sully that experience for you, and you might run the risk of losing that initial spark you had for golf.
But golf is a long game. Even if the first hour starts off disastrously, there’s always time to turn things around. Look for the moments you can share. Though not every second is going to be a Norman Rockwell painting, there will probably be inside jokes that will crack you up a week later, or you’ll have time to bond with someone about something they might not have shared with you yet.
And if not, there’s always the nineteenth hole to look forward to.
In the end, the choice is ultimately up to you. No one else can decide for you if you’re ready to golf with someone you care about; if you just want to keep golf between you and your clubs for a while, that’s fine. But if you’re waiting for the time to be right, or for your short game to improve just a little bit more, or for Mercury fall into retrograde so you have something to blame your missed putts on . . . keep in mind that you’re never truly ready for anything. And if you’re nervous, you can always start small. Just going to the driving range or TopGolf for date night is a step in the right direction.
Who knows? You might just discover some whole new reasons to love someone during your next round of golf together.
Have you ever been golfing with your loved ones? Let us know your pros and cons in the comments below.