Beginner tips: How to meet golf buddies

Beginner tips: How to meet golf buddies

At the start of spring this year, I was getting excited about kicking off another golf season. It'd been a cold and boring winter, but as I started to think about my next tee time, I came to a startling realization:

Where did my golf buddies go?

In taking stock of the people I'd most often text to round out a foursome, I realized that filling one was getting tough. I'd been living in this city of 1-million-plus residents for 13 years. How did this happen?

Well, a couple buddies moved, another got a new job and stricter schedule and another joined a private club. One bought a house and then tweaked his back. Schedules and parenting obligations changed due to COVID-19. I'd given up on others over time because they always said no (or worse, canceled last-minute) too often. So at dinner one night I sort of sheepishly confessed to my wife I was running out of golf buddies and was determined to find more.

Life happens and your golf crew will rise and fall like the tides. A wise older golfer once told me that the best thing you could possibly have in the game of golf is a regular foursome of good friends who can play the same course at the same time as you and have a similar ability and you enjoy each other's company.

"Hold on to that as long as you can," he told me. That sounds like a golf goal worth working towards.

If you're new to golf, you may have no buddies bench at all to begin with. But there are golfers everywhere, and in 2021, there are a lot of people either starting in the sport or picking it back up after some time off. You can literally never have too many golf contacts. I've had some success over the years using a combination of the tactics below.

Local golf leagues and clinics

Weekday leagues, beginner clinics and social meetups are a good first place to start, especially in the summertime when it stays light out well after work. Evening nine-hole leagues on weekdays have proliferated in the past year as many people got back into golf after some years on the sideline. These leagues are especially prolific in the Midwest and Northeast. To find one for you, check in with every public-access course near you to see what their league or golf association offerings. View bulletin boards in or around the locker room for potential events and sign up for their email lists for announcements of new programming. These leagues range from serious to "Wine and 9" where socialization is more of the goal than going low.

One relatively new example that is ideal for newer players is Spark Golf, a nine-hole league that is growing coast-to-coast and promotes a very casual, two-person team environment. They are held at public courses that features a net-scoring system. No official handicap is required, and it even includes gimme putts. Golfers can come alone and get paired up or bring a golf buddy.

If you are brand new to golf, you may be too nervous to join a league with scoring at first. Instead, look for group clinics on the evening or weekends to join. These are full of new and aspiring golfers who are probably in need of making golf buddies as well.

Posted in News By Lorenzo Benavides