There are benefits to playing by yourself that you may have never considered. One of the most important is that you can learn more about golf by playing alone than you can ever learn by just pounding balls on the range.
If you have never enjoyed the peacefulness of playing golf by yourself, either early in the morning or late in the afternoon, you don’t know what you’re missing out on. Golf is a rarity in sports because it can be played and thoroughly enjoyed without depending on anyone else.
I grew up playing baseball and football for as long as I can remember and didn’t take up golf until the ripe old age of nine when a golf course opened in my hometown. I immediately fell in love with it for one reason. I didn’t need anyone else in order to play and practice. I loved not having to depend on a teammate to do well.
If I had $5 dollars for every hole I’ve played by myself, I would never buy another lottery ticket. Even late in my career as a club professional, I cherished getting out of the office/golf shop for a quick nine late in the day.
With the major complaint in golf today being slow play, playing by yourself allows you to play at whatever pace you find most enjoyable. You do have to pick your battles especially when the course is very busy. For most courses, that’s either very early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Check with the courses near you to find out what their best times are.
I find this one of the most compelling reasons to play as a singleton. It is a scientific fact that people learn anything better by doing and golf is no exception. You will improve your golf game faster by playing nine holes than you will by spending an hour and a half on the range beating balls.
You get to experience actual golf shots under actual playing conditions instead of a flat driving range with no well-defined targets. It also forces you to work on all aspects of your game from driving to putting. There seems to be far too much emphasis on the technical aspects of how to swing the club than actually getting better at scoring. Contrary to popular belief, you can have a great golf swing and not be a great golfer.
Playing by yourself eliminates all pressure. You don’t have to worry about the temptation to outdo your playing partners or impress them. It gives you the chance to discover what your golf game really is. You are not trying to make a certain score because a bet is riding on it or to help your team out.
The choice of riding or walking is completely yours without having to consider what someone else wants to do. You also can play from whichever tee you are most comfortable with and you don’t have to feign interest in your playing partner’s vacation, political opinions, marital woes, or what swing thought he or she is working on.
Just like anything else, rhythm is important. Playing alone will get into a rhythm since you’re not spending time hunting for someone else’s ball and figuring out whose turn it is.
One of the things I enjoy the most is the simple fact that I’m not obligated to show up at a certain tee time regardless of the weather. If you think that you have to play with someone else, then you’re missing out on a truly enjoyable experience. Mark Twain once referred to golf as a good walk spoiled. I find the walk far less likely to be spoiled, at least for me, if I do it alone.