Playing Golf Solo vs. Playing With a Group

Many of us have been in the following scenario: you get off work early, it’s a beautiful day and you have a full afternoon to play some golf. You call your favorite course and they have a wide-open tee sheet. Finally, you start calling up your golf buddies and you reach an impasse. They’re all either stuck in the office or have plans with the family that afternoon. While playing golf solo may not be an ideal way to spend an afternoon on the golf course, don’t despair. If you find yourself with a free afternoon to play some golf, but no one to play with, there are several different things you can do to not only make your round more enjoyable, but also help improve your game and show off to your buddies the next time you join them.

Hit a Lot of Practice Shots on the Golf Course

On a typical weekend during golf season, it’s probably difficult to do more than play a normal round of golf. Other than the occasional mulligan, the only extra swings you can make is while you’re warming up (looking for a guide to the proper warm-up? Click here).

Some of the best practices you can experience is on the golf course. Instead of focusing on your score and trying to finish quickly, take your time and try some other shots. If you hit a bad one, tee up another one and try again. Even if you hit a good one and feel like trying some different ball flights on a particular hole, now is the time to do so.

As long as you don’t hold up play behind you, utilize this time to yourself to work on your game. Also, don’t worry too much about keeping score. You can try to play one ball that you keep score with and not count the rest, but you’ll get more out of your round by focusing on a variety of different shots, giving each of them your full attention.

Play a Match Against Yourself

If the idea of playing golf by yourself seems boring or uneventful, you can also try playing two golf balls, one against the other. There are at least a couple ways to play this match. The easiest format is to play each ball and shot normally, each one trying to beat the other. Another option is to play one ball conservatively while you play the other one aggressively, and see which style wins in the end.

No matter what you choose, there are several benefits to playing a solo match. The extra swings will get you more golf for your money, you can test yourself in pressure situations that you create, and you can keep yourself mentally engaged without having anyone else there to play with.

Play “Worst Ball”

For a true test of golf while playing alone, you can play a worst ball game. You play two shots on every hole, and take the worst of the two. If one drive is in the fairway and the other ends up in the woods, you play your next two from the woods. You take the worst of the two approach shots, worst of two putts, etc.

If you make your first putt, but leave the second one an inch short, you have to put both balls back to where the last one finished and make both from there. While this may seem tortuous, for those of you who take the game seriously, it’s the ultimate test of your golf performance. Having to hit two good shots in succession for a full round of golf is incredibly difficult, but will help you become a better player over time.

The Takeaway

Playing single doesn’t have to be a drag. In fact, by trying some new things, you can become a better player and be able to take all the bragging rights away from your usual foursome the next time you see them on the golf course!

Try out some of these options the next time you have a round to yourself and make your solo rounds more challenging and more fun!

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Ryan S

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