We have a few suggestions for things to try if you’ve begun to fall out of love with golf.
It’s recently come to my attention that there are a number of golfers falling out of love with the game. Golfers who have previously spent most of their lives playing the game, some who have spent decades as members of golf clubs have grown increasingly frustrated with it.
I’m personally aware of several golfers who after decades of playing twice a week, realised they no longer love the game and questioned why they were spending so much time playing golf. They have walked away defeated, leaving the clubs to collect dust in the garage and on some occasions, disposing of them altogether.
I once saw a golfer empty out his golf bag into the bushes next to the clubhouse at Barnbougle Dunes. What an unfortunate place to lose the love for golf.
It’s not an uncommon story. But in a time when golf is booming, club membership thriving, and new golfers flocking to the game, it’s hard to believe anyone would want to walk away from it.
It’s never for the same reason and often a mix of several that contribute to the discontent.
Time pressure, poor golf, poor scoring and constantly playing the same golf course are all contributors to life-long golfers no longer spending their days on the fairways.
With this in mind, I’ve come up with a number of suggestions that may help you fall back in love with golf.
Right off the bat, I should say that some of these may require a change of mindset. If you’re the overly competitive type, for example, you may not initially find these that attractive and you may suggest they’ll be detrimental to your golf game.
Rest assured, none of these suggestions will make your golf game any worse. In fact, I’d be happy to predict some of these ideas will make your golf game even better.
Personally, I’ve never played so little golf in my life but I’ve never enjoyed the game more – largely thanks to a few of these suggestions.
Some of them are worth trying for those of you who still enjoy golf but are stuck playing the same course, with the same people, at the same time, in the same way, every week.
Let me know what you think. If you’ve tried them or have a few other tips for those falling out of love with golf.
1. Strip it back
There are a growing number of golfers going all Marie Kondo with their golf bag. Starting with the number of clubs, strip a light golf bag back to its bare minimum. A few tees, a handful of balls and 7-8 golf clubs mean you’ll find a golf game that requires more decision making, more shot shaping and a variety of more fun golf shots. I wished I’d done it years ago.
2. Don’t score at all
If you’re someone who must count every shot, this may take some getting used to, but playing golf without scoring can be a revelation. After some time, you’ll chat more, walk taller and generally just breathe easier. Ditch the scorecard for a while, you can always come back to it another time.
3. Play new formats
Ditch the strokeplay, and Stableford for a while and try a few other scoring formats. Try out Wolf with your three mates, two-ball ambrose is great for the confidence or just play a silly ol’ game of Bingo, Bango Bongo. If they don’t take your fancy, play some match play – it’s the best format you can play and if you have a bad hole, just forget about it and bring your A-game to the next hole.
4. Play new courses
So many golfers play the same golf course, over and over again. While I understand that if you’re a member of a club you want to get the most out of your fees, but it’s worth strolling the fairways of some other golf courses once and a while. Mix it up. Play your local 9-holer or getaway for a few days and try out a few rural golf courses. Australia is full of hidden gem courses that may reinvigorate your love for golf.
5. Get a lesson
Every lesson I’ve ever had, I’m always chomping at the bit to get out and play golf straight afterwards. And while it doesn’t always translate into productive golf immediately, it feels like I’m making progress with a swing change that’s been recommended by someone qualified to do so.
6. Play shorter golf courses
There is nothing I hate more than long, brutal, resort-style golf courses. So if that’s your usual place of play, then please go check out something shorter and easier for a while. Or perhaps just stay clear of the back tees at least. Try the front tees next time and tee off with a different club. Anything to mix it up. (The blue tees at Barnbougle are fantastic, for example – make sure you try them out next time you’re down there).
7. Watch golf
No two golf tournaments have me itching to play golf more than the Masters and The Open. I realise watching professional golf isn’t for everyone, but it can stir up the longing to get back on the golf course. Just make sure you’re expectations aren’t as high as what you’re watching.
8. Play with your friends
I’m the first to accept that turning up for a round of golf with complete strangers is a great way to meet people. But now and again, it’s great to play with your best mates. Even if they’re infrequent golfers, get them out on a public golf course one afternoon with some food locked in for the way home. No one will go home disappointed.
9. Have a chat and smell the roses
There is a lot to like about playing golf, and not all of it is actually about playing golf. The walk, the surroundings and the company all contribute to the game being the greatest of them all. Some of the most interesting days on the golf course has included meeting new people or just getting to know old friends even better. Play golf at a good pace but when the opportunity arises, relax, take your mind off the game and have a chat.