You can learn a lot about a person by playing a round of golf with them. And sometimes you can learn a lot about a complete stranger.
I shared this around on social media earlier this week and think it also needs to be disseminated here as well.
It’s a wonderfully written piece by Daniel Riley in The New York Times Magazine where he delves into the joy and interesting moments you can have by playing golf with strangers.
If you’re turning up to a golf course on your own, many of us probably prefer to simply go and play on your own. And there is no harm in that whatsoever.
But there is a joy, or at least a curiosity in spending four to five hours in the company of a bunch of strangers with the common thread, (sometimes the only common thread) being the game of golf. Often if the golf goes bad, it can save your day from being a complete waste of time.
Riley lays it out eloquently recounting his younger days mixing it with strangers at his local public course.
I recommend the full article – Letter of Recommendation: Golfing with Strangers – and the act of playing golf with a bunch of strangers.
Conversation on a golf course is its own kind of chatter. The small talk is relevant: There is always the shift in the wind or the yardage to the pin or the speed of this green versus that last one to blab about. Golf is also forward-moving. You’re never just stuck there. A lot of people with children say it’s easier to talk to them in the car; when everyone’s staring straight ahead, the revelations start to flow. Golf is like that.
Your eyes are always directed down the fairway, even if you’re talking about layoffs or dead dads. The overlaps with strangers may not always be obvious. But you feel around. You shine your flashlight into the cave and see if maybe you’re fans of the same burger chain or whatever.