Have you tried getting your girlfriend, fiancée, wife or significant other into golf without much luck? If the answer to that question is ‘yes’, don’t worry – you’re just like me.
While playing golf alone can be fun and have its benefits, there’s something special about sharing a round or a bucket of practice balls with your partner.
But getting them to agree to play golf can be challenging. Trust me, I know this from experience.
It took me many weeks to get my then girlfriend (now fiancée) to even come with me to the driving range to hit a few balls – which was frustrating, because I soon realised that she has a better swing than I do.
If you’ve got such a natural gift, why not use it?! Honestly, it still bugs me. But that’s another story.
To get her to agree to that first range session, which eventually progressed to a couple of rounds at a Par 3 course before we finally tackled a proper nine holes, required me to try a number of different approaches.
Below, I’m going to share with you what worked, and what didn’t work, to hopefully help you get your girlfriend or significant other playing golf too.
NOTE: While in my case I’ve been trying to get my girlfriend/fiancée into golf, your relationship situation could be different – and for the purpose of this article, significant other could mean boyfriend, husband or however else you choose to describe your partner.
Here are some tips to remember when attempting to get your girlfriend, or significant other, into golf.
#1 Be persistent, without being pushy
Getting your girlfriend to the golf course or the driving range for the first time will take effort. Repeated effort.
Very rarely will you get a ‘yes’ answer straight away when asking if she’d like to spend a precious portion of her Sunday afternoon swinging at a little white ball for leisure.
It’s important to focus on the positives: that it’s a great way to spend time together, that it’s fun to learn a new skill, and that it’s a good opportunity to enjoy a few hours in the sun.
It may take a few cracks until she finally agrees to play, so don’t give up after the first attempt!
#2 Get her some clubs of her own
One of the most likely reasons your significant other is reluctant to play golf with you is the thought of having to try and hit your golf clubs, which can make her feel uncomfortable.
The best way to avoid this is to show her how much you want her to play with you, and purchase her a set of sticks she can call her own.
I did this for my fiancée and it worked wonders.
She appreciated the gesture, and it paved the way to her agreeing to our first session at the driving range (and don’t worry, the mats won’t damage her clubs).
You don’t have to spend heaps (I bought a cheap second-hand beginner set), and you can always upgrade later if she, fingers crossed, gets bitten by the golfing bug.
KEY TIP: Get her hitting the shorter clubs first (a 9-iron or wedge is perfect) as they’ll be far easier for her to make contact with the ball. Progress to the longer clubs (mid irons, hybrids and driver) only once she feels comfortable hitting her shorter clubs.
#3 Pay for her to play
Ever had to pay for something you’re not really keen on doing? A birthday present for that aunty you never see, or a going away present for the boss at work who you really don’t like?
That’s how your girlfriend views the round of golf you are persistently asking her about.
She sees it as a wasted expense, and it’s likely one of the reasons she keeps saying ‘no’.
When asking her to join you at the driving range or course, tell her that you’ll pay for it.
If there’s no monetary cost for her to get involved, there’s a greater chance she will agree to play.
It’s a small price for you to pay, but the reward – getting her hooked on the game of golf – is well and truly worth it.
#4 Don’t give pointers unless asked
We’ve all received unsolicited advice from random golfers throughout our lifetimes, and we all remember how we felt at the time.
It’s awkward, it’s annoying and very rarely does it ever improve your game.
You’d much rather be left alone to sort out your swing faults on your own – and seek advice only when you really feel you need it.
Your girlfriend or significant other is the same.
They haven’t agreed to play golf to become the next Tiger Woods – most of the time they’re just happy doing their own thing, so try and refrain from giving them tips unless they ask for help.
Simply encourage them when they hit a good shot, and assist where you can without being overbearing.
#5 Stay patient – don’t get angry
Playing golf with someone who doesn’t have the same ability as you are can be frustrating (we’ve all been paired with a 36-handicapper who just makes you want to tear your hair out).
When golfing with your partner, it’s important not to get angry or frustrated by their occasional whiff or shanked shot as I can guarantee if you do, it will be the last time you play together.
Would you want to play with someone who constantly gets mad or puts you down every time you hit a poor shot? Of course, you wouldn’t.
Stay patient, stay positive, and you’ll both have a far more enjoyable time together.
#6 Be encouraging and communicate clearly
Encouragement is essential when playing golf with someone who has never picked up a club before in their life.
They may not show it, but they’re likely feeling a bit insecure playing with someone who has a lot more golfing experience than them.
To help make them feel comfortable, be sure to compliment them on their good shots, and encourage them when they hit bad shots.
Communicate clearly to them that golf is a hard, hard game to learn and get good at (they’re not going to become a pro after one range session), and that there are plenty of people out there who play off high handicaps and still enjoy it.
If your partner feels like you care about them, and reassure them, they’re more likely to say ‘yes’ to joining you again for another hit in future.
#7 Start small and gradually build
As the hit Paul Kelly song stated so perfectly: ‘From little things, big things grow’.
The same can be said for developing your significant other’s interest in golf.
She may not be hooked on the game after one, two or even three range sessions or Par 3 outings, but if you persist patiently over time – and nurture the seed you planted the first time you both played together – you could soon have a golfing partner for life.
Start by playing once a month, then gradually see if she’s willing to have a hit once a fortnight and eventually once a week.
Soon, with any hope, it will be her asking you to go for a round!
#8 Play with another couple
Playing golf with another couple is a brilliant way to introduce your girlfriend/fiancée into golf, as they’ll have someone who they can relate to.
Not only will it help you partner relax while on the course, especially if they’re a similar skill level to your friend’s significant other, it will also allow you to focus on your game a little more.
While golfing alone can have its benefits, nothing beats playing with friends and playing with another couple can be a great way to spend an afternoon on the fairways.
#9 Most of all, have fun!
Remember the reason why you took up golf in the first place – to enjoy it!
Don’t sulk or get angry if you hit a few bad shots, or if your girlfriend is struggling to make good contact: the reason you’re out there on the course or range is to spend some quality time together trying something new.
Laugh when you hit a shank, smile when you sink a putt and you’ll find it far more enjoyable – and greatly increase the chances of your significant other wanting to join you on the fairways again in the future.