12 Ways to Have More Fun on the Golf Course
It’s pretty much a given that if you’re on a golf course, you’re probably enjoying yourself. However, if you want to make your round even better, we’ve got a few ideas on how to up the fun factor. Even golfers who are passionate about the USGA and abide strictly by the rules of the game can learn to cut loose and try something new on the course. So without further ado, here’s our list of ideas for how to have more fun on the golf course:
*Note: All of the recommendations on this list have been thoroughly tested and have been approved for use by Austad’s Golf staff – we thought you’d like to know.
1. Play a game.
Yes, we are aware that golf is a great game in and of itself. But why not spice things up a bit and play a game that will make things more interesting. There are some fantastic games on the market (we really like Mazuma) but there are also some really fun games that won’t cost you a penny extra like Bingo Bango Bongo, best ball or even match play. Whatever game you choose, just know that you may never want to go back to playing regular golf again.
2. Leave some clubs at home.
This is an interesting one and can be frustrating for golf purists. Next time you go out, try taking a few clubs out of your bag (try leaving your 5, 7 & 9 irons in the car). A limited bag forces you to think differently about how to manage the course and will challenge you to think creatively. You may actually find that you develop some new skills that can help you in your regular rounds as well, which is always a plus.
3. Scratch the stroke play – match is where it’s at.
Here’s a little tip that will speed up your rounds – switch to match play. In match play, each hole becomes it’s own separate battle and if you’re playing with people who are honest about their handicaps, the lead can very easily switch 4 or 5 times throughout a match. Instead of an 18-hole marathon, you’ve now got 18 holes that are equally important. An added bonus is that because you’ll likely be conceding holes from time to time, your pace of play will speed up and that’s definitely a good thing.
4. Team up.
Even though golf is inherently and individual sport, there is something magical that happens when you form a team. The concept that you’ve got someone relying on you and someone to help pick up the slack when you fall apart adds a whole new level of interest and fun to the game. Team best ball is a format that works really well for most foursomes. The beauty is that while you get to play your own ball, you’ve also got a teammate to help push you to victory.
5. Make up your own rules.
The USGA might just hate us for this one, but we’ll risk it. When you’re playing a casual round of golf, there is no reason why you have to stick to the USGA rulebook. Why not invent a few of your own rules? Breakfast balls become guaranteed, fluffing your lie can be encouraged and all putts can certainly be good within 4 feet. Get creative and form your own governing body – don’t worry, we won’t tell the USGA. ;)
6. Crank the tunes.
The thought of blasting some classic rock from your cart may not appeal to golfers of the stuffier variety, but adding a little background music to your round is an instant mood lifter. When music is playing, people instantly become looser and more relaxed, which is not only great for your game, but it’s great for your social life. There are some awesome small Bluetooth speakers on the market that are perfect for golf and push comes to shove, your smartphone works just fine.
7. Put a little cash on it.
Let’s just get this out in the open, we are not advocating high stakes gambling. However, if you’re so inclined, making a little side bet will definitely help make your round more interesting. The great thing is that it doesn’t have to be high-stakes to be fun. Put a quarter per hole on it for match play or have the loser buy the round after the match. Whatever the stakes are, make sure that it’s something that you’re entire group is truly comfortable with and then go forth and dominate!
8. Tee it forward.
The tee it forward concept is one that is heavily advocated by golfing legend Jack Nicklaus and also by Austad’s owner and CEO, Dave Austad. It’s always tempting to play the back tees to see just how you’d compete with the big guns, but our stance is that you’re going to have a much more enjoyable round if you move up to a closer teebox. Think about it – when you tee it up, you’re going to have a closer, easier second shot, which means that you’re going to have a better shot at hitting more greens in regulation and having more short puts for par or birdie. As an added bonus, you’ll probably be able to complete your round faster as well.
9. Take your style game up a notch.
You know that pair of khaki shorts and blue polo that you wear for every round? It’s time for a change. Why not head to your local golf store (preferably Austad’s) and get yourself a new ensemble. It’s a fact that the better you feel, the better you’ll play. If you really want to embrace the concept, have your group show up in the craziest outfits they can find. You may get some unwanted stares, but the memories from that round will stick with you much longer.
10. Play fewer holes.
You may not know this, but playing a full 18 holes is not a requirement. There are some days where you may be pressed for time or you just don’t feel up to playing the full course. There’s no shame in just playing 9 or 12 holes. The good news is that when you play fewer holes, you still get to enjoy some time on the course, but you’ve freed up several hours to do other things like spend time with your kids or attack that “honey-do” list that’s been hanging on the fridge for weeks.
11. Ditch the cart.
Here’s a pretty well-kept secret in golf – walking is awesome. Something like 85% of rounds in the U.S. are now played with a cart and we think that’s kind of a shame. Not only is walking great for your health (you’ll burn an average of 2,000 calories walking 18 holes), it also gives you a chance to experience the course in a whole different way. And contrary to popular belief, walking the course doesn’t actually take more time than riding in a cart. If you’re a regular golfer and typically ride, start small and walk every other hole or walk the front 9 and ride the back. We guarantee you’ll feel better and probably play better too.
12. Stop keeping score.
Yep, we said it. Stop. Keeping. Score. Just go out and hit the ball and have some fun with your friends. Use the time on the course to catch up and appreciate great shots. You probably won’t want to go without keeping score for every round, but every now and then, why not go out and just enjoy the sunshine, your friends and this great sport we call golf?
Want to stay up to date with all the latest stories, trends and gossip from the world of golf? Make sure you sign up for our Austad's Golf Insider Newsletter!