Golf is a game that is best enjoyed with other players. Sometimes, you can play 9 or 18 of the holes alone. You, a golf club, and you can play the course at your own pace.
Some golfers loathe it while others love it. Personally, I think it’s fun to play solo occasionally as you can do things you can’t normally do when other golfers play with you. There are downsides to being a solo player.
Continue reading to find out more about golfing alone, pros and cons, as well as the best ways to make it a great experience.
Golfing Solo – What You Need to Know
While playing golf as a single may not be for everyone, some golfers like myself enjoy the freedom to play solo when they can. Before you dismiss the idea of playing golf as a single, let’s review some of the benefits.
The pros of golfing alone
Golfing solo is so much fun because it’s time for you to get out on the golf course.
Despite being an extrovert, I’ve had some of my best golf experiences playing alone. It’s great to be able to enjoy the sport you love at your pace and not have any distractions. From the first tee shot to the final putt on 18, it’s a time to assess your own game.
Plus, since we’re so busy with work, life, and family, getting alone time isn’t easy. A nice day on the links, without having to check emails or worry about life, is a great way for you to recharge and just play golf. Again, this isn’t for everyone and we’ll review why it’s also a con in the next section.
Not to mention, as a solo player you don’t have to worry about small talk with a playing partner you may never see again.
Apart from the time spent alone on the course, most golfers find the greatest benefit to being able practice on the course. You’ll find practicing on the range is just as enjoyable as playing on the golf course.
If you think about it, golf is the only sport where we don’t practice on the same field/court that we play on like basketball, soccer, or football.
During practice, we usually:
- Flat lies: Hit the mark
- Many times, you hit from the mats
- Do not set any targets or have any real objective
- Have no way to judge the distance (range balls aren’t accurate)
There is nothing more enjoyable than playing golf. When you’re out on the golf course we often have to navigate difficult lies, hit from the rough, have obstacles to avoid, and nerves.
But when you’re playing golf solo you get to practice any type of shot you can imagine. This is a time to practice shots that you can’t hit on the range or short game area. Some good examples include:
- Long greenside shots
- Fairway Bunders
- The rough is the best place to start
- Punch shots through/under the trees
- Photographing shots around trees or other terrain
You can practice on the course if you are going out alone at your local course. You can drop a second ball, hit shots you fear, and try out different ideas in a real-world setting. It’ll make a huge difference and likely lead to some of the best practice sessions ever.
Record Your Swing
Golfing alone is one of my favorite pastimes. There is no pressure to get the next shot. This gives me the time to study my game and record my swing. I carry a small, collapsible tripod with me. It can be set up behind or in front for some shots. Sometimes I get great shots. Other times, I try different swing ideas.
This gives me tons of information to help me understand my game better on the course. You can’t play golf on the range if you don’t practice on a perfect lie.
Play at a rapid pace
Another advantage to playing alone is the ability to play fast golf. The downside of golf (especially for beginners) is the time it takes 18 holes to complete. Most people find that putting aside 4-6 hours to play 18 holes is a significant time commitment.
But with single golf you can play very fast, especially if you’re in a golf cart instead of walking. If I’m out there by myself I can play 18 holes in about two hours aka record time!
The key is timing it right – if you go out midday on a weekend there is a good chance you’re going to get paired up with other golfers. You can sometimes go out on your own if you go out in late afternoons or early mornings. This is a great way of saving time while still playing a full round.
Plus, you might be able to play 27 or 36 holes if there aren’t many golfers!
Golfing with others can be a disadvantage because you feel pressure to always score well. But when you’re out alone, there is no pressure to knock every putt in or always score your best. It is ironic that being relaxed leads to better swings and lower scores.
Cons of golfing solo
While there are many pros to playing single-handed golf, there are also some disadvantages. Let’s review some of the biggest reasons players don’t like teeing it up alone.
Golf is a sport that many people enjoy because of the competition with other players. But if you’re out there alone, a lack of competition might make it hard to stay focused.
Solo rounds are a great way to practice and not keep score. Save the competition for rounds among friends and use solo rounds to improve your skills even though no one is watching.
Play at a slow pace
Playing golf with one player is likely to have the biggest drawback. If the course is open, it’s a huge benefit because you can zip around in a few hours without waiting for other golfers. But if the course is jam packed, playing golf as a single isn’t always fun.
It can be tiring to play a course with so many players. I’ve had this happen more times than I can count and had to quit early because I couldn’t handle how long it would take to play each hole.
The group in front of you feels awkward because you’re waiting on every shot. But they can’t let you play through because 3-4 people are in the groups ahead of them.
While the group behind you might get annoyed if you’re playing two balls or hitting mulligans (despite being a single). It can lead to a slow pace on the links, which can be uncomfortable. Playing golf alone on off days (weekdays, evenings) is a good idea.
Tee Time Options with Less
More people are playing golf now than ever before. This means that there are fewer tee times overall and fewer singles options.
It’s not always easy to book singles (and some courses don’t even allow it). Plus, some golf courses might not allow you to book as far in advance so it’s a good idea to call ahead.
If you play golf solo, you run the risk of people not believing you if your score is high or you get a hole in one. I couldn’t imagine making an ace and having no one there to witness the feat but that’s a risk you take when golfing solo.
If you make a historic shot, be sure to take a video of your walk/drive up to the hole to pick it up. However, you don’t have to spend as much on drinks for everyone.
Can’t Count Scores
Did you know that you can’t enter a score for the GHIN handicap system if you’re playing solo? Despite being a game of integrity, you can’t enter a score if no one was there to witness it. Ironic to say the least – which is why it’s a good idea to hit extra balls and practice on the golf course.
Some golfers like to go out alone, as it allows them to be more independent. Others dislike the PGA Tour-like silence. To get more energy, you can always bring a Bluetooth speaker.
FAQs about playing golf alone
Do you have any questions about teeing off as a single golfer with no playing partners? Continue reading if so.
What are the best ways to play golf as a single player?
How do you solo play golf? These are some tips to help you get the most out of your round solo.
- Always be considerate of others. While practicing on the course is a big benefit to playing alone, don’t let it slow up the pace of play (or anger the members if you’re at a country club). Fill your divots and fix any divots on greens. Follow the basic rules of golf.
- Don’t skip ahead of groups. If you’re wedged in between a lot of other groups on a busy day, don’t skip ahead without asking. You might end up running into them later, which can lead to uncomfortable conversations.
- Ask other groups to join.. If you’re playing solo and it’s a busy day, ask the group ahead or behind to link up. This will improve the pace of play and, hopefully, make for a better day overall. Plus, you might meet someone fun and have a new golf buddy for days you don’t want to golf solo.
Is it really fun to play alone golf?
Sometimes I enjoy playing alone golf. While I wouldn’t enjoy it every single time, it’s great to play golf alone occasionally to learn more about your game and practice on the course. Not to mention that you can play faster and spend less time.
Is it rude for a player to play only golf?
Many players enjoy going out on their own to relax and get away from the hustle and bustle of life. It is possible to save hours playing golf alone, as it can take so long for 18 holes.
Is golf a lonely game?
What’s great about golf is that you get to decide the journey.
You can choose to play casually, or you can use it as an opportunity to get out and meet new friends. Others may prefer to go to the driving range with headphones and play by themselves, while others will enjoy it as a solo experience.
Some golfers prefer to play in a mixed group, while others prefer to practice alone. Others like to go out after work and hit the balls with their friends. This great game can be enjoyed in many different ways.
Ultimately, I don’t think it’s a lonely sport at all as you can meet new people and interesting people every round. The only time it might feel lonely is if you’re in the middle of a tournament and your game is spiraling downward. This sometimes makes you feel like you’re Tom Hanks in the movie Cast Away.
However, these moments can teach you a lot about yourself. They can also help you build mental fortitude. Knowing that your game is off and you’re struggling but stay in the fight and finish strong is wildly rewarding.
Final Thoughts on a Single Round of Golf
As you can see, there are many pros and cons to playing single-handed golf.
If you are allowed to play alone, practice on the course without slowing down the pace. This is the best time to hit shots that you can’t do on the range and overcome any fears of certain shots or specific clubs. It’s also fun to test yourself on challenging shots or even play a best ball event with yourself!
If you’re golfing solo on a busy day, it might be best to link up with another group to not wait on every single shot. It can be difficult to find your rhythm and play your best when you play at a slow pace.