Golf is a social game.
While you can certainly enjoy a round of golf on your favorite course even when playing alone, the game takes on another layer of enjoyment when you are accompanied by some good friends. In fact, even total strangers can turn into friends over the course of 18 holes.
The way the game is played—hitting one shot at a time, often with several minutes between shots—lends itself to chatting with your friends, telling stories and jokes, etc.
Plus, a little friendly competition is rarely a bad thing.
Some of the best memories you will have on the golf course will involve those who you share your rounds with. Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to find other golfers to join for a round of golf. Your schedule might not fit in with your regular golf buddies, or you simply might not know anybody that likes to play golf (what?!?).
These are just some of many reasons why joining a golf league can be such a great option for so many people.
Most golf courses offer some form of a league that meets on a periodic basis for some friendly competition and an overall good time.
While golf is the reason for getting together, leagues tend to be as much about the friends that you can make as the golf itself.
Whether you just play in the league for a single season or you stick with it year after year, you are likely to make some friends that will last a lifetime.
Where to Find a Golf League
To locate a league that you can join, simply call around or visit the websites of the golf courses in your area.
You will want to look first at those that are closest to your home or office, as they will be easiest to get to quickly. Many golf leagues are played on weekday afternoons after work, so keep that in mind when picking out a league to join. Most likely, you will find that at least a few of the courses near you offer some form of league, and they will usually be happy to include you.
When you find a league that seems like a good fit, be sure to ask a few questions before making a commitment to join. The following are three good questions to ask the club pro (or whoever happens to run the league):
- What is the league schedule? This is the most important place to start, as you need to be sure that your personal calendar will fit in with the league schedule. It’s okay if you will have to miss one or two days due to other commitments (most golf leagues allow you to assign a substitute for these purposes), but don’t join a league that you will rarely be able to attend.
- What is the handicap range in the league? Most golf leagues compete on a net basis, so the competition should be fair for all involved. However, you probably won’t enjoy playing with golfers who are dramatically better or worse than you. If the league is mostly made up of single digit handicap players and you are a beginner, it might not be a good fit. It’s also worth mentioning that if you haven’t already established a handicap for your game now is a good time to start. Without knowing your handicap you may have a tough time getting yourself established in a league.
- What is the cost? Obviously, you will want to know how much it costs to participate in the league before you sign up. Most golf leagues only charge a slight fee beyond the regular greens fee, which covers the competition prizes and administrative costs. For leagues that are played on weekday evenings, you might even find that there is a discounted twilight rate available to league members.
What to Expect in Your Golf League
Once you have joined a golf league, you might find that you are a little nervous about your first round. Don’t be.
Golfers tend to be friendly people, and you can expect that the league members you are joining will be happy to include you. It should only take one or two rounds before you feel totally comfortable and have a long list of new golf friends.
Plus who knows, you may even make a few lucrative new business or networking connections!
The format of each league varies wildly from course to course, so you will have to find out the specific details when you join. Often, the type of scoring will change from week to week just to keep the league interesting. For example, you might find that one week is a two-man best ball competition, with a singles stroke play game the next week.
Don’t worry if you don’t understand all of the scoring rules right away—someone in the group will be glad to explain them to you or you can also check out our article explaining how different golf formats work here.
Benefits to Your Golf Game
In addition to the great social gains that can be had by joining a golf league, you can also develop your game through the experience.
Here are a few ways that a golf league can help you play better than ever before:
- Playing more often. Quite simply, the league will give you a reason to get out and play. Instead of just heading home each day after work, you will now have a commitment to stop by the course and play a round once a week or so. That consistency is sure to help you play better in the long run.
- Watching others play. There is a lot to learn from watching the technique of other players on the course. Through playing in a league, you will be able to play with a wide range of other golfers, each of whom could potentially teach you something new. Pay attention to the others in the group and you just might pick up something valuable to your own game.
- Competitive pressure. Even in a casual league, you will still want to play your best. Feeling a little bit of competitive pressure is a great way to engage your mind and enhance your focus during the round. Over time you’ll become more and more adept at playing under pressure and you can start to watch those “yips” disappear!
The Final Word on Joining a Golf League
Joining a golf league is something that every golfer should consider. No matter where you live you should have no trouble finding a local golf league that you can participate in—some golf simulator locations even run late-night and winter indoor leagues so you can keep playing year-round! Shop around the local courses in your area until you find one that meets with your needs and preferences.
Between the friends you can make and the benefits to your game that can be enjoyed, the positives of playing in a golf league far outweigh the time commitment that it will require.
Find your own league and get started right away!
Cover photo by Boston Public Library on Flickr