Benefits Of Playing Golf Alone – Ultimate Guide For Solo Players
Playing golf is a game that is extremely rewarding and even when you don’t have a partner to play with, you will surely be thinking of hitting up the course by yourself.
If you’ve been cooped up in work all day you may have the urge to get 9 or 18 holes in straight after. If it’s a beautiful day, you might want to spend it on the course, If none of your buddies are around and you’re sick of going to the driving range, you can always hit the golf course and focus on improving your game.
Playing golf solo can be a lot of fun or it can be a necessity if you are on holidays or new to an area. Playing golf alone comes with plenty of advantages but it also comes with a lot of obstacles that need to be navigated to get you off that first tee box and working on your game alone with nature.
Having lived right next to a public course for all my life, I have a lot of experience in playing on my own. It has not always been plain sailing every time I hit the course but when it’s good, it’s incredibly good and on the few occasions where I’ve had a bad experience it hasn’t been that bad.
Benefits Of Playing Golf Alone
#1. Play Better Golf
When playing golf with others, there is always a level of competition involved and while that may make you play better or worse, It doesn’t allow you to fully concentrate 100% on your own game.
The feeling of being alone on the course allows you to concentrate fully on the task at hand, you don’t feel embarrassed if you mess up a shot, there is no one to impress and that can take the pressure completely off your mind.
Pressure effects us all differently, but if you are someone who plays a bit worse under pressure you can definitely benefit from playing on your own.
Personally, I have always played my best golf when I’ve been on the course solo, it’s just that your friends won’t believe you when you tell them all about it. If you’re going to go the solo route you might consider getting a GoPro for proof of your heightened exploits when on the course alone.
#2. No Distractions
These days we live very busy and distracting lives, our smartphones are always at hand with new Emails, Whats apps And Facebook notifications to keep us amused. Our cities are always busy, a place of work can be manic, noisy and the quality of air can be dismal.
Spending time alone on the course can be extremely peaceful and quiet, you get to spend time alone with nature, taking in all the sights and smells and you can leave all your worries of regular life behind.
When playing with other groups, all the small talk can take your attention away from the peaceful surroundings of the golf course.
When I play alone, I like to turn off my smart phone and all electronic devices and just get some quality alone time to think and play some pressure free golf.
#3 Faster Game
A lot of the time you spend playing golf will be waiting on others to find their ball or sink their putt. When playing on your own you only have to worry about finding your own ball in the rough, which can be bad enough if you’re anything like me. One of the worst things about playing in 3 or 4 balls is that it can take a lot longer to finish a round and everybody is so busy these days, finishing up quicker can be a big bonus.
That being said, playing on your own is a lot faster once you don’t get caught behind a group ahead of you but they should almost always let you play through anyway.
If you get a good run on the course on your own you can literally finish your round in half the time.
#4 Better Opportunity For Practice
Being on the course alone allows you to improve your game with a lot more opportunities for practice shots. If you go past a three or four ball, you know that they’re not going to catch up with you because it will take them a lot longer to play each hole.
When you play in a group you are in a rush because you don’t want to hold anyone up, but playing alone you can take plenty of retakes from the positions where you want to improve the most and you can really drill a lot of consistency into your game by practicing the shots where you struggle over and over again without worrying about who is coming behind you.
If your approach shots aren’t hitting the green, you can take three shots when you get into that position which literally gives you a ton more practice in the areas where you need to improve.
#5 Trumps The Driving Range
The driving range is a great place to go to work on your swing, consistency and overall technique but it is far from the real thing. You either hit the ball from a perfect hitting mat or the same lie over and over again and while it can be highly beneficial, nothing can beat the reality of being on the golf course.
To get better at golf, you have to know how to hit the ball out of the rough, out of various different bunkers and hazards and from different levels of slope whether it’s uphill or downhill.
You can’t replace the reality of actually being on the golf course which is why playing on your own is far better than hitting the driving range every time.
#6 Take The Riskier Shots
When you’re in a group or playing in a competitive game, you may choose to play it safe and take the easy layup option but when you’re on your own you can throw caution to the wind and go right at the pin.
The worst thing that can happen if you’re on your own is that you just have to throw down another ball and take the shot again. If you achieve success with your riskier shots, it might give you the confidence to try it again in a more competitive situation.
#7 Play Whenever You Want
It can be impossible to get a group of people all available to play golf at a certain time or day and you’ll always have to worry about pullouts and cancellations in today’s busy world.
Once you decide to play on your own, you only have to worry about getting yourself to the course at a time that perfectly suits your schedule.
Organizing a round for a group of people can be an extremely stressful situation, anyone can show up late and you miss the tee time or anyone can cancel and ruin the round.
Once you can get a good tee time, solo golf is also excellent in this regard.
#8 More Golf Under Your Belt
Because organizing a round of golf with friends can be so difficult, it can negatively impact the amount of time you get to spend on the course. Once you decide to add solo golf do your itinerary you can easily double the amount of golf you get to play within a year.
If I get to play 100 rounds a year, I would estimate that at least 70 of them will be playing by myself.
It has become a well known fact that once you practice anything for 10,000 hours, you will become an expert and the more time you get to spend on the course the better you will become.
#9 Play As Many Holes As You Want
You don’t need group consensus when you’re on your own, if you want to play six holes, nine holes, 12 or 18, the choice is yours. You can get your fill of golf without overdoing it and no matter what kind of time constraints you’re under.
Disadvantages Of Playing Golf Alone
While playing golf on your own has a lot of benefits there are a couple of hurdles and obstacles that you will have to overcome to get out on the course and have a successful round.
#1 Solo Golf Players Have No Rights On The Course
In the game of golf, the player who is on his own has literally no rights on the course. He must let any other groups play through even a four ball that would take much longer than him to complete each hole.
That being said, these rules will only be enforced under strict circumstances as it doesn’t make sense for one person to wait behind four who will take much longer but it is something to keep in mind.
I have personally never got caught behind a large group that wouldn’t let me play true so I can’t imagine it’s something that happens or is enforced that often when it doesn’t make sense, which leads on perfectly to the next issue.
#2 The Dreaded Swing When You Get To Play Through
Playing through in a group can put a lot of pressure on you on the tee box, you can multiply that by 10 when you’re on your own. The other group is already gonna be looking at you weird for playing golf solo and if you hit a stinker off the tee it can cause some serious embarrassment.
Believe me, I’ve been there more than once and if the pressure gets too much bI might even hit a three iron off the tee for safety.
#3 Not All Golf Courses Will Allow Solo Players
Most golf courses like bigger groups of players as it allows the course to get more people out playing and bring more money into the club.
I was lucky to live beside a public course where this wasn’t a problem, but there are plenty of courses that won’t allow solo play or only at off peak times.
#4 You May Be Paired Up With Someone Else
If you show up alone to play a round of golf, you may easily get teamed up with someone else who is also on their own or even shunted into a group.
This can either go quite well and you can have a good time with the person or it can end up being a very awkward round and you lose almost all of the benefits of playing on your own.
You may be paired with someone who is much better or much worse than you and that is obviously not ideal as you will either be waiting for them or they will be waiting for you.
This has happened to me a couple of times unluckily it has never gone too bad and looking at the bright side you could even make a new golf friend if you get on well and you’re both around the same level.
#5 Social Stigma
There can be a lot of social stigma around playing on your own, people aren’t used to seeing solo players that often and you may get judged negatively.
This isn’t something that bothers me a whole lot but if you can be thrown off by a bit of negativity it’s something that you need to keep in mind as it is quite possible.
#6 Can Get Boring
I have played the local public course near my house between 3 and 500 times. When you play the same course that much on your own there’s going to be days where you really enjoy it and other times where you might get a bit bored of the same holes over and over again.
Playing different courses can add a lot of spice to your golf game even if you’re a solo player, but sometimes it’s just not that easy to attend new courses when you’re on your own.
#7 Can’t Enter Your Handicap Into Official Scoring Systems
When you play the game solo, you can’t submit your scorecards to go towards your official handicap. Golf is a gentleman’s game and a game based largely on trust but the temptations to move the odds more in your favor when you’re on your own are too great for the average man to overcome.
You can play by yourself to improve all you want, but you need to do it in front of others to make it official on your scorecard and in your handicap.
Tips For Budding Solo Golf Players
Get Out And Try
My top tip for people who want to try golf on their own would just be to go out and give it a go, you don’t know what you’re missing until you’ve tried it.
Solo golf is something that I really enjoy and wouldn’t hesitate to do if I don’t have anyone to play with or sometimes even if I do.
Try Off Peak Times
The one thing that has to be mentioned, if you are on the course when it is quieter, you will have a much more enjoyable round on your own.
There will be less people around for you to worry about, less groups that you will have to play through and even less witnesses for those amazing shots that you only play when you’re on your own.
There are so many Tee booking apps available now online you should easily be able to find a time that suits, my favorite is early in the morning before anyone else gets out you can really have the course to yourself, especially on a weekday.
Get out and give it a go and let us know how you got on in the comments
Hi, I am Matthew, a mid handicap golfer who likes to play as much as possible. I love trying out new gear and this blog is where you can find all the gear I have tested over the years!