Golf’s Love Languages

By: Tina Mickelson - Feb 16, 2021

With February being the official “Month of Love”, I thought it would be fun to bring the “L” word to the golf course and see how it translates. I mean, we’ve all heard of the five Love Languages, right? Why not utilize that information as a way to strengthen our relationships with our playing partners? So let’s dive into these five Love Languages and how they pertain to the game of golf:

1. Words of Affirmation

If you want to quickly put the group at ease and make friends easily on the golf course, be fast and loose with the compliments. Don’t be afraid to tell someone you love her skort or their golf swing is “looking exceptionally fluid today”. And if you REALLY want to score points my favorite is “Have you been working out? Your calves are looking extra muscular.” Wink. Wink.

Since confidence on the golf course is so important in order to play well, you have just upped their game before they even stepped onto the first tee box. That does not go unnoticed.

2. Acts of Service

If a playing partner is running late, one of the most thoughtful things you can do is check them in, make sure you have the cart ready to go and leave some extra balls for them to hit on the range so they can warm up, even if it’s just a few swings. Whether you realize it at the time or not, the tension level of the whole group immediately goes down, which can only help not only your game but overall experience as well.

Fixing someone’s ball mark on the green might sound like a minor expression but sometimes the mere act of searching for your ball mark takes more time than you would like, especially when you have a tricky putt to read. When you fix someone’s ball mark you are basically freeing them up to solely concentrate on their next putt and sometimes the mental relief of that is greater than the physical effort of having to bend down and repair the earth.

3. Receiving Gifts

I once showed up to the golf course and found that my playing partner had a breakfast burrito waiting for me in the cart, complete with plenty of napkins. We are now married.

Even the smallest tokens can mean more than we could ever imagine. Giving a golf buddy a special ball marker, a hat from a golf vacation or extra sleeve of balls “just in case” might seem like a whisper but they really scream, “I CARE!”

4. Quality Time

Friendships spike a notch when someone helps you look for your lost ball. Your playing partner could be contemplating their next shot or diving into a to-go box full of nachos. Instead, they choose to brave a possible snake infested pasture to help you search for your ball. That is a devoted friend. Keep that one.

However, bear in mind that there is a slippery slope here. If your playing partner tells you they are done looking for it, that means they are DONE LOOKING FOR IT and just want to hit their next shot. If you keep looking when your playing partner says, “That’s OK. Let’s just keep going,” then those extra friendship points quickly become null and void. And it’s a bummer.

5. Physical Touch

Go the extra mile after a player sinks that 12-footer. Walk over to them and give a high-five or fist bump and then maybe even a pat on the shoulder. It might sound like a small effort but it can make an impact, especially if that particular player favors this type of gesture.

Since COVID is still a thing, sometimes LACK of touch (and extra physical distance) is most appreciated. We’ve all had that person in the group who simply cannot grasp the concept of personal space. Don’t be that person.

And speaking of love languages, we are so eager to try to lift everyone up around us with encouraging words and acts of kindness, yet we tend to forget that we, too, deserve positive self talk. Why is the language we speak to ourselves so much harsher and more careless than the way we speak to others? There have been times when I hit a bad shot and said things to myself that were so bad I can’t repeat them here. But in the next breath I told my golf buddy that his OB was a fluke and he’s been playing great up to this point so let’s focus on that. I’m getting better with the self-talk but I can always do better. Let’s ALL do better with ourselves and others. Golf is just a game. But relationships are fundamentally vital to us as humans, including the relationship we have with ourselves. Happy Love Month!

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