Mental Golf Solutions


Have Fun Golfing

Carmen Vasey • General
Do you have fun golfing? Or do you find yourself counting down the minutes until you can escape the golf course?
Have Fun Golfing

Do you have fun golfing? Or do you find yourself counting down the minutes until you can escape the golf course?

Some days it can be a challenge to keep your spirits up. But fear not! Even when you're not playing your best game, there are ways to make your golf round enjoyable.

Perhaps you've played with others who seem to be having a blast, while others take the game so seriously that "fun" doesn't even enter the equation. Have you ever stopped to ask yourself if you're enjoying your round? If not, it's time to see how you can add a little fun to your game.


Recreational vs Professional Golfers


Let's start by looking at the difference between recreational and professional golfers.

According to one definition, recreational activities are "done for enjoyment when one is not working." Notice the emphasis on "enjoyment." You take pleasure in the activity as a passion, a hobby, a social activity, or simply to enjoy the outdoors while doing something healthy and spending time with friends.

In contrast, professionals are "engaged in a specified activity as one's main paid occupation rather than as a pastime." These individuals are serious about their equipment, their game, and playing according to the rules. Golf is their occupation, not a pastime.

But what about the everyday golfer who simply wants to have fun and stay active? Golf should be enjoyable, at least most of the time. While it's easier said than done, making fun of your goal will lead to more good days on the course than bad.


New and less experienced golfers often worry about what others think, which takes away from the enjoyment of the game.


For example, you might be ready to putt and suddenly start to worry, "What if I miss this? How embarrassing will that be?" Or, as you prepare to hit a shot on the fairway, you might notice others watching and think, "What if I hit a bad shot? Will they think I'm a terrible golfer? I don't want to let them down." These thoughts, combined with the stress we put on ourselves to play perfectly, only result in a less-than-enjoyable round. Our negative thoughts are often worse than our bad shots.


female golfer looking back


As a novice golfer, I used to feel apprehensive whenever others joined us for a round. The pressure to meet their expectations would get to me, resulting in poor performance and an overall lack of enjoyment.

It took some time, but I eventually realized that we all begin our golfing journey at the same starting point. We are all in the process of figuring it out, learning the ropes, and improving our game.

It is comforting to know that most golfers understand this and are more than willing to offer encouragement and support rather than judgment and criticism. After all, golf is meant to be a leisurely activity enjoyed with friends and colleagues.

So the next time you find yourself worrying about others' opinions or struggling to meet your own perceived standards, remember that you are not alone. Embrace the learning process and enjoy the journey. The camaraderie and joy that come with the game are worth far more than any fleeting sense of inadequacy.


How much enjoyment should you get out of the game of golf?


having fun golfing


As golfers, we often play with people we know, and others we meet on the course. We enjoy the company of our friends and partners, and for many of us, the competitive spirit is alive and well. But no matter how much we love to win, it's important to remember that golf is a game that should be enjoyed. Winning or losing doesn't define us, and nobody cares who comes out on top in the end.

However, there are always those individuals who take it a bit too seriously. You know the ones – they insist you make even the simplest putt, no matter how close it is to the hole. In those moments, I find myself daydreaming about the Camilo Villegas Spiderman check, and taking my time with every shot just to make a point.

Sure, it might be a bit of a stretch, but it's all in good fun. After all, the most important thing is to enjoy ourselves and the company of our fellow golfers. The sound of the ball dropping into the cup is a victory in and of itself, and it's a feeling we all strive for.

So, the next time you find yourself on the course with someone who takes it a bit too seriously, take a deep breath, relax, and remember why you started playing in the first place. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a novice, we all started somewhere, and we all have room to grow and learn. So let's embrace the spirit of the game and have some fun out there on the course.

golfers having fun laughing


Let's talk golf and the elephant in the room - rules. Yes, rules! If you have a few bucks on the line, it might be wise to stick to them as closely as possible. I know, I know, it's not the most exciting word, but bear with me.

Of course, if there's no cash at stake, play as you like, nobody's watching! But when it comes to a few dollars on the line, don't let rule-breaking get the best of you. In fact, some rule-breaking can even speed up the game, which is always a good thing when you're in a group that's right on top of you.

That said, it's never a good idea to do things that slow down play, like taking extra mulligans or practicing your putting during the round. That's just not good practice, and it can really hold up the pace of play. So, keep things moving and remember that golf is about having fun, even if there's a little money on the line.


When my husband and I play golf together we don't play for money.




However, being competitive as we are, part of the fun is keeping score based on our handicaps. That's not possible or much fun if each of us is playing by different rules. So we make sure to play by the same rules. Whatever we decide and agree upon.

I find it more challenging and tend to focus better and have better results when my husband and I play match play. Match play is the lowest score per hole (of course he gives me a certain amount of strokes based on our handicaps).

While I might not beat him on the overall score I can beat him on match play some of the times. It does wonders for our confidence ladies! Just don't beat him too often though. (wink wink)".


Where and which rules to follow?


When you're out there on the course, the rules can vary depending on where you're playing and who you're playing with. Some folks are real sticklers for the rules - they've been playing for ages, have crazy low handicaps, and want to make sure everyone's following USGA protocol to the letter.

But let's be real, folks - those rules can be a bit dense and hard to decipher, especially for newer golfers. I'm all about having fun on the links, so I tend to just go with the flow when I'm playing with different groups. I'm not out to rain on anyone's parade by calling them out on a technicality. Plus, I never play for high stakes - I value my friendships more than a few bucks on the scorecard. So let's keep it light and breezy out there, okay? Happy golfing!


Make sure you do your best to keep an accurate score.


Keeping an accurate score is a must, but let's not cheat ourselves, shall we? When I'm on the course, I make sure to take my time and count every shot - even if it's not pretty. I mean, who am I fooling if I write down a 6 when I took 7 shots to get to the green?

I don't know about you, but I don't like taking gimmies. Sure, it might be tempting to save ourselves from the embarrassment of a missed putt, but that's not what golf is about, right? Plus, who knows, that 7 might be an 8 - and if we take too many gimmies, we might never get better at those short putts when they count (like during a tournament, yikes).

Now, don't get me wrong. This is your game, and you should do what feels right for you. But if you plan on playing in tournaments in your golf league, then you better make sure your score is on point. So, take your time, count every shot, and remember to have fun out there!


If you are a brand new golfer don’t beat yourself up if you miscount your shots.


Finding a way to keep track of your shots is crucial for an accurate score. There are various methods to choose from like using a counter, keeping mental notes, or even enlisting the help of a partner to keep track of your shots.

I used to rely on my Sky Caddie to keep track of my shots and putts, but now I use my trusty Garmin GPS watch. It's always on my wrist and it's easy to check the yardage no matter where my ball lands. These gadgets are great at tallying scores accurately, which is more than I can say for myself sometimes!


gps watch


However, relying solely on these devices can be risky. It's easy to forget to update your count after a few bad shots, so always have a backup method. My advice is to train yourself to remember every shot by the club you used and where you were standing. For example, using the driver, 3 wood, 7 wood, pitching wedge onto the green, and 2 putts equals a total of 6 shots taken.

Don't worry if you struggle to keep count at first. As you play more, it will become second nature. Don't be afraid to buddy up with someone who can verify your shots either. Remember, the most important thing is to have fun! Your score doesn't matter as much as enjoying yourself and improving your game.


Golf is a mental game.


golf is a mental game


To perform with confidence in challenging situations and make incredible shots, you must first get comfortable with the uncomfortable. It's where the magic happens!

Imagine the thrill of attempting a risky shot that could save your game. Take a chance, and instead of taking a mulligan, try to recover from a bad drive. Who knows, you might surprise yourself and make an amazing shot from behind that tree!

Avoiding certain shots or always taking do-overs will only hinder your progress. How will you know if you're improving throughout the season? It's easy to kid ourselves by taking shortcuts. But remember, golf is a game of honesty and integrity, and it's ultimately between you and that little white ball.

So, don't put pressure on yourself to play like anyone else. Enjoy the process, embrace the challenges, and have FUN! Everyone starts somewhere, and with patience and practice, you'll improve your game and have a blast doing it.


Playing by the rules doesn't have to be a drag!

How strictly you follow them varies depending on your play style, your company, and the type of game you're engaged in (think tournaments, leagues, and scrambles).

Are you a casual golfer who hits the course for some occasional R&R, where your score isn't a big deal? Or are you a die-hard who plays every weekend, and lives and dies by their scorecard?

If you're playing with other leisure golfers but take your game very seriously, it's worth cutting them some slack if they're just looking to have a good time.

But if you crave the company of players who share your passion for rules and golf, find like-minded people to partner up with, and you'll have a blast while keeping things legit.

When I go out with certain groups of friends, I know it'll be all jokes and laughs, and that's fine by me. I keep track of my score accurately and strive to hit my shots as well as I can. But when I'm with my husband, we're focused on our game and play more seriously.

I also have friends who are serious golfers, but they still know how to have fun on the course. They have a great attitude, and we always enjoy the time we spend together, even when the game gets intense.


Following the USGA rules.


As golfers, we are all familiar with the USGA rules and the importance of following them.

However, when playing with a high handicapper or beginner, it's crucial to remember that the rules can be overwhelming and may impact their enjoyment of the game.

Rather than pushing the rules onto new golfers, we should focus on modeling good fundamentals of golf, such as grip, alignment, posture, ball position, etiquette, and pace.

By doing so, they can learn from our example and play with more confidence, allowing us to all relax and enjoy our time on the course.

Of course, we can teach them the rules along the way, but we should not expect them to remember them all or care as much until they learn enough golf.

With time, they will understand the importance of having an accurate score, especially if they wish to enter tournaments and win prizes.

So, let's take a step back and relax the rules for our beginner friends.

In doing so, we can create a more comfortable and enjoyable atmosphere for everyone on the course, while still ensuring they learn and grow as golfers.


An article published in the Wall Street Journal on March 7, 2016, highlighted the decline in golf participation.


While plenty of people are trying out the game for the first time, very few of them are sticking with it. According to the National Golf Foundation (NGF), this is not so much an indictment of the game itself, but rather the operators of the country's more than 15,000 courses.

Unfortunately, many courses are failing to stay relevant with the times and are not doing enough to bring in the next generation of golfers. This has caused a significant drop in golf participation, and too many players are dropping out or not even attempting to play.

When they do play, they often play too slowly and without any consideration for those around them, which is a major frustration for more skilled players who may then consider giving up the game altogether.

The Washington Post also reported on this issue in a March 5, 2015 article, where Adidas CEO Herbert Hainer expressed concern about the decline in active players, causing problems for the entire industry.

The qualities that once made golf an elite and exclusive sport are now working against it, according to analysts.

Even legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus, perhaps the greatest golfer in history, recognizes the challenges facing the game. The number of young people, aged 18 to 30, playing the game has declined by nearly 35% over the last decade.

"I'd like to play a game that can take place in three hours, Nicklaus told CNN in January. I'd quite like to play a game that I can get some reasonable gratification out of very quickly -- and something that is not going to cost me an arm and a leg.".

As golf enthusiasts, we must recognize the challenges facing the sport and work to overcome them. This can involve changing the way we play, making golf more accessible to a wider range of players, and finding new ways to keep players engaged and excited about the game.


Handling the rules as a weekend golfer.


As a weekend golfer, it can be frustrating to try and navigate the rules and regulations designed for the pros.

These rules don't always translate well to the casual golfer, who is just trying to have a good time on the course without slowing down play for others.

Professional golfers have the luxury of playing on perfectly manicured courses, which is often not the case for the public courses that weekend golfers frequent.

This can lead to poor lies and difficult shots, making the game less enjoyable for those who are just starting.

If the game isn't fun, what's the point? That's a question many golfers ask themselves when faced with the strict rules of the sport. By relaxing these rules and focusing on increasing the enjoyment of the game, we can speed up play and encourage more people to keep coming back and improving their skills over time.

After all, golf should be a fun and challenging sport for everyone, not just the pros.


Playing on Saturdays during our fall through Spring season.


Golfing on Saturdays with my friends is a weekly highlight. We stand at the first tee, brainstorming what FUN game we should play. Mulligans? Moving our ball to a nicer spot?

You betcha! Our priority is clear: we're here to have a good time and make memories.

Playing with a group that's in it just for laughs means that everyone should decide whether they'll be playing by the official golf rulebook or by their own unique rules.

And let's be real, it's best to keep your score to yourself and focus on the good vibes of the company you keep.

At the end of the day, we all know that golf is just a game, and the real value is in the relationships and connections we make along the way.

So let's hit those balls and enjoy the ride!


golfing with friends


Relaxing the rules doesn't mean you're throwing ethics out the window - it just means you're allowing yourself to enjoy the game in a more laid-back way. If you're playing for fun, there's no need to stress about sticking to the official rules of golf.

You can modify the rules as you see fit, especially if you're just playing with friends or looking for a more casual round.

Of course, if you're feeling competitive and want to add a little something extra to your round - like a friendly wager or a beer at the end - then it's important to declare what rules you'll be playing by. This ensures everyone is on the same page and there's no confusion later on.

The beauty of flexible rules is that they open up the game to more people. New and recreational golfers no longer have to feel overwhelmed by a laundry list of rules designed for the most accomplished players.

It's important to still learn the basic rules, but don't be afraid to make modifications to make the game more enjoyable.

When it comes to official tournaments, though, it's a different story. Players are required to follow the rules set by the tournament organizers, and it's important to do so to ensure a fair and enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

By allowing for more flexibility in the rules, we can help grow the game of golf. It can lead to an increased demand for better-designed courses and more equipment manufacturers entering the market, which can only benefit the sport as a whole.

So let's loosen up and enjoy the game - who knows, maybe we'll even see more courses opening up in the years to come.

​​​​​​More golf courses closed than opened in 2013 for the eighth straight year, according to the National Golf Foundation.


The goal is to make the game of golf more appealing, enjoyable, fun, and faster to play.


The decline in golf participation has been attributed to several factors, including cost, time, and difficulty. However, we can help new golfers overcome at least two of these barriers.

One way to address the time issue is by teaching new golfers to pace themselves and play quickly. A round of golf for a foursome should last no longer than 4 hours.

By adopting these strategies, new golfers can make the most of their time on the course.

Difficulty is another factor that can deter new golfers. To help them overcome this challenge, we can relax some of the rules that make the game more difficult.

For instance, if a ball is behind a tree, we can allow them to move it out for a better shot. Such changes not only make the game more accessible but also speed up the pace of play.

Cost is a significant hurdle for many new golfers, and while golf course fees are non-negotiable, there are ways to get around it. For example, you can help new golfers find used clubs at pawn shops or online for low prices.

You might also have extra golf clubs in your garage that you can donate to help new golfers get started.

Moreover, local youth programs for low-income youth could benefit from donated clubs to introduce them to the game of golf.

By addressing these challenges, we can encourage more people to take up the sport and enjoy its many benefits, both physically and mentally.


In a nutshell:


  • Determine the nature of your golf game: competitive or recreational.
  • For competitive rounds involving money, awards, or tournaments, adhere to the official rules of golf.
  • For recreational rounds (i.e. those played for fun), be open to modifying the rules to improve the pace of play and enjoyment, and to encourage new golfers to return.

Above all, remember to have a blast!


female golfers smiling


“If you watch a game, it's fun. If you play it, it's recreation. If you work at it, it's golf” - Bob Hope


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