Golfing by Yourself? Everything You Should Know About Playing Solo

Golf is a sport that attracts all kinds of different people. However, sometimes those people don’t include your closest friends. Whether it be for financial reasons or simply a lack of interest, you might be left to your own company on the golf course.

This leaves many people wondering if they can – or should – play golf alone. 

What do we think?

Yes, you can play a round of golf by yourself. Every year, hundreds of thousands of golfers tee it up solo on courses across the entire world. In fact, many people prefer golfing alone because they believe it allows them to focus better, helping them shoot lower scores. 

However, golfing solo can be different than playing in a group. Here are a few things you should know.

4 Things You Should Know About Golfing By Yourself

1. You Might Get Paired Up With Other Golfers

If it’s not too busy, most golf courses will let you play alone. However, if the course is busy or it’s a high-traffic time (like weekends and evenings) they will likely pair you up with another group to help open up more tee times.

They do this because, from a business perspective, it makes a lot of sense. For example, each tee time can accommodate up to four golfers. If the greens fee is $50 per player, then this means they can make $200 for each tee time.

However, if you have a tee time by yourself, they would only generate $50 for that time slot.

If they bump you up to play with a group of three other golfers, then they have maximized their return on that tee time, and can now book a new group in your previous time slot.

If you would really like to golf by yourself, your best bet would be to go for an early morning or early-afternoon round on one of the weekdays (Mon-Fri).

2. You Might Get Bored

A possible downside of playing by yourself is that you might get bored more quickly. In order to prevent this from happening, here are a few fun ways to play golf by yourself:

Fun Ways to Play Golf By Yourself

Play Two Balls

This is a great way to make your solo round of golf interesting. By playing two balls, you’re able to have a mini competition with yourself. 

When doing this, I’ll often play two golf balls that are different colors so I won’t get them mixed up.

This way, you can get two rounds in while only paying for one green fee!

Also, playing two balls can help improve your game. Have you ever hit a bad shot but not been able to hit another one because your playing partners are waiting to hit?

When you’re playing two balls, you can make adjustments from your first shot so you can improve on the fly. For example, if you slice a drive on your first ball, you might realize you need to release your hands more. 

You decide to try this on your second drive and BOOM – right down the center! 

Practice Shaping the Golf Ball

When you’re by yourself, you’re free to hit as many shots as you like – as long as you don’t hold up the people behind you.

This provides a great opportunity to practice shaping the golf ball. One of the things I’ll often do is work on hitting a draw on every shot on the front nine and switch to a fade for the back nine. 

Yes, sometimes the shot might call for the opposite shape, but limiting yourself to either a draw or a fade each nine forces you to get creative. 

You can also work on flighting the ball on a low, high, or medium trajectory. 

Many people prefer this compared to bashing balls on the driving range because it makes practice interesting. 

Incorporate a Points System

Instead of just keeping score, you could also try incorporating a points system to your round. This makes the game more interesting because you’re always trying to beat your points from the previous round.

For example, you could award yourself points for:

  • Fairway hit: +1 point
  • Green in regulation: +1 point
  • One-putt: +1 point
  • Three-putt: -1 point
  • Ball O.B: -1 point
  • Birdie: +1 point
  • Bogey: -1 point

…. you get the idea. 

The nice thing about this is you can customize the point system to your skill level. 

For example, if a bogey is your average score on a hole, then you can award yourself 1 point for par and 2 points for a birdie. 

On the other hand, if you’re a scratch golfer, you might subtract one point for bogeys and add one point for birdies. 

Now, every round you play, you can try and beat your points from the last round! 

3. You’ll Play Much Faster

One of the best things about golfing by yourself is the speed at which you can play. But exactly how long does it take to play a round of golf by yourself?

The following chart depicts the average times it will take golfers to play both 9 and 18 holes when playing by themselves: 

9 Holes18 holes
Walking1.5-2 hours3-4 hours
Riding1-1.5 hours2-3 hours

As you can see, the average time to play 9 holes by yourself will be 1.5-2 hours when walking and 1-1.5 hours when riding in a cart.

The average time to play 18 holes of golf alone is 3-4 hours when walking and 2-3 hours when riding in a cart.

Keep in mind, these times will vary depending on if you’re riding or walking, how long you spend hitting each shot (or looking for golf balls), and whether or not you get held up by groups in front of you. 

*Fun fact – Wesly Bryan holds the record for the fastest round of golf ever played on the PGA Tour. He jogged the course during the final round of the 2017 BMW Championship and finished in a lightning-quick 1 hour and 28 minutes. The best part? He still managed to shoot a 69. 

4. Your Scores Might Improve

One of the more interesting things many players notice when golfing alone is that their scores tend to improve.

But why exactly do you play better golf alone?

One possible explanation is that it’s a result of focus. An article by Harvard Business Review presents the idea that focus is a limited resource. 

“The problem is that excessive focus exhausts the focus circuits in your brain. It can drain your energy and make you lose self-control.”

Harvard Business Review

You might not realize it, but when you’re playing golf with a large group or even one partner, you need to focus on many more things that are not related to golf compared to when you’re golfing alone.

For example, you need to be able to hold a conversation, make eye contact, and abide by the general social guidelines that we all follow. 

These things dip into your limited stores of focus and can potentially cause you to make poor decisions on the golf course.

This could mean going for the green when you should be laying up, or taking the driver off the tee when a safe mid-iron was the right choice. 

Compare this to golfing alone. Now, it’s just you and the golf ball. Nothing else. 

When this is the case, you can direct 100% of your focus and energy into planning and executing the perfect golf shot. 

5. You’re Not the Only One

Like many other things in life, a lot of people are nervous about playing golf by themselves because they’re worried about what other people might think of them. 

This leads them to the question – is it weird to golf by yourself? 

The answer is no, it’s not weird to golf by yourself, and thousands of other people do it every day. It can actually be very fun, and you might even shoot better scores than when playing in a group because you will have more focus.

After all, who else is there to say otherwise 😉 

Unfortunately, many of your friends just won’t have the time, money, or interest to get started with the game. 

That doesn’t mean you can’t still have a great time on the course!

However, if you are interested in meeting other golfers, here are a few things you can do: 

Sign Up for Men’s/Ladie’s Night

Most golf courses will host a men’s/ladies night on one evening out of the week. On these nights, they’ll book off several tee times, organize golf games, and even provide those who sign up with the chance to win prizes.

These events are a fantastic way to meet other golfers and make new friends you can golf with during the week. 

Sign Up As an Alternate for Scramble Tournaments

Another great way to meet new golfers is to sign up as an alternate for local scramble or best ball tournaments at your home course. 

These tournaments usually require teams of 4-5 golfers, but often teams will only have 3 people and will need an alternate to join.

To get put on a list of alternates, just talk to the tournament organizer and ask them to give you a call if any spots open up. 

Remember – teams who don’t have enough players likely won’t be allowed to play unless they find someone to fill in. 

This means they will be extremely grateful if you join their team. Who knows – they might even decide to pay your entry fee or buy you a few drinks!

Strike Up a Conversation on The Range or Putting Green

Golf is a very social game. Those who play it love to talk about the latest new equipment they bought, what’s happening on tour, the course conditions, and a number of other golf-related topics. 

One of the best ways to find people to golf with is to simply strike up a conversation on the range or putting green. 

A simple question about the club someone is using or a remark about how the greens are rolling could lead to you finding a new playing partner.

Check-in With The Pro shop 

You could also try checking in with the pro shop and asking if there are any other singles on the tee sheet who might want to pair up with you. 

Chances are, they’ll be just as happy to have someone new to golf with as you will.

Use The Tee Up App

There’s an app for almost everything these days. And that includes finding playing partners to golf with. 

The Tee Up app lets you connect with thousands of other golfers across the country who are looking for people to play with.

They even filter matches based on handicap, interests, age, and other things so you have the best chance of finding someone you have something in common with!

Tee Up is available on both android and IOS.

The Takeaway…

Golf is a social game, but sometimes it’s nice to hit the links by yourself. Not only can this help you improve focus and shoot better scores, but there are also many ways to make golfing alone fun.

However, if you would prefer to find golf playing partners for your round, the points mentioned in this article should help you to do that as well!

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