I like playing golf by myself. Prefer it actually.
Of course I golf with other people. I have a regular partner I play with all the time, but he can’t play ALL the time, and if it’s busy at the course, I’m ready and willing to join up with someone. I can get along with anyone, high handicapper, or scratch. I am courteous. I don’t cuss. I know golf etiquette. I can even handle the braggart, the two-ball mulligan hitter, and the not-count-the-strokes guy when he hits out of bounds. I can even handle the guy that should write down a ten, but picks up the ball and takes a seven because that’s all he can post. I don’t care. It’s their score, their game. I’m not competing with them. I’m focused on my score. I don’t cheat. I take all the penalty strokes I incur. I don’t bump the ball. I’m a purist when it comes to my score, and I post everything, because I want to know what my true handicap is. I want to see how my scores ebb and flow throughout the year. The other day I shot a 76. Today I shot a 92 (never try to duplicate a good score–just won’t happen–well, not right away, unless you’re Bernhard Langer). Yes, I do post my score when I play alone. I’m that trustworthy.
When I play by myself, I can whip around the course in two hours and ten minutes. Two hours when I don’t take the flag out (I don’t post those scores).
When I’m out on the course, I get in a zone. A semi-euphoric, robotic state. I talk to myself. I rejoice when I hit a miraculous shot. I don’t need anyone to tell me it was a good one. I don’t need the recognition. Good shots feel good, like a drug. Bad shots bother me, but I’ve been doing golf for so long, I just see what I can do on the next shot to make up for the bad one.
Sometimes I do a play by play as if I am an announcer on TV. I do shot by shot announcing like Jim Nance, and color commentary. I’m a cross between Gary Koch and David Feherty. “Looks like he’s going to use a 7-iron Jim, and he’ll need all of it to make it to the front of the green. Ohhh, just slipped by the hole. Good shot, though. He’s still got a tester of about three feet. It’s no gimmee, but it’s below the hole, so he’ll most likely have no trouble making par.”
Stuff like that. You know what I mean.
There’s a lot to be said for playing golf alone. I’d rather go alone than hit balls on the driving range. It’s better practice. Just you and the course.
I like to go out early. Sometimes I’m the first guy out. The greens mower and I dance around the course. We know each other’s moves, habits. We even have hand signals to communicate how many holes behind the next group is, so he can plan his route to accommodate me and stay ahead of them. Alternatively, I go out about three hours before dark. Most everybody is pretty much done by then. At my home course, everybody knows me. I wear a floppy hat all the time. When they see me coming they just wave me on through. They know I won’t hold them up. They know they can go ahead and hit before I’m out of the way. I watch for them. No sweat.
Golfing alone started when I wasn’t able to find a partner. I’d just go to the course and join up with anyone. I’ve met a lot of good friends that way. My current partner included. Sometimes there wasn’t a sole on the course. That’s when I discovered the joy of playing the game solo. Mmmm, perfection.