As COVID-19 has hindered in-person functions and made it difficult to find ways to connect, the game of golf continues to be a great way to spend quality time with others outside.
Working at a golf course, I see firsthand the ways that golf can help people connect with others on a daily basis. Whether you’re looking for a competitive challenge to share with a group of friends, wanting to spend a leisurely day outside with the family or planning a fun daytime date with your significant other, the game is perfect for every occasion.
Wanting to build relationships on the green? Here are some tips for using golf as a way to create connections and forge lasting memories with others.
Adapt the Game for All Skill Levels
The greatest thing about golf is that you don’t have to be a pro to enjoy a day on the course. In fact, I am a true believer that having golfers of all skill levels can make a round even more fun and engaging.
There are several ways to make the game less competitive and more collaborative for families and friend groups. For example, one of my favorite ways to adapt the game is to use a scramble-style format. All players hit a tee shot on each hole, then everyone plays from the best shot selected on each consecutive stroke until the ball is holed. All players are able contribute to the score of the hole rather than the score of each individual/themselves. Not only does this format help the group to golf as a unit, but it also helps to build confidence in less-experienced players.
Ditch the Distractions
With today’s never-ending cycle of distractions and digital notifications, one of my biggest tips for building bonds on the course is to leave your devices in the car. Once you’re on the course and immersed in nature and the sport, it provides the perfect opportunity to truly enjoy the company and conversation of your fellow golfers. This rare opportunity to disconnect, relax and enjoy your natural surroundings makes the game an ideal way to re-energize and destress while spending quality time with others.
At some golf courses, golf carts are equipped with state-of-the-art GPS devices that provide high-definition hole overviews, graphical interface of each hole and two-way communication with a clubhouse — so you won’t need your smartphone.
Connecting with Colleagues
Golf has a reputation of being an activity where business professionals can negotiate a deal or secure high-profile business contracts. Although golf is not always the magic ticket to a major business deal, there is credence to the game serving as a tool for bonding with colleagues, networking and building lasting professional connections. With many companies planning to work remotely well into 2021, golf is a tried-and-true way to encourage team-building and help colleagues to become reacquainted with one another.
Personally, I’ve seen several fun and interactive team-building outings on the course, ranging from speed golf and shootouts to organizations developing a list of conversation-starter topics for groups to discuss at each hole.
Don’t Forget the 19th Hole
After a fun day on the green, it’s important to make time for the most important part of the day, the 19th hole, where you can relax and enjoy the company of your fellow golfers. With more than a decade working in the golf industry, I can attest to the many unforgettable memories shared with my friends, family, peers and colleagues over an ice-cold beverage and delicious meal.
Jason Boydston is the head golf professional at Wolfdancer Golf Club at Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa. With more than 12 years working in the industry, he has worked at golf courses throughout Texas. When he’s not on the course, Boydston enjoys spending time with his family, which includes his wife, two boys and two dogs.