If you’re anything like me, you can’t stand awkward silences or weird pauses in a conversation. Unfortunately, those moments seem to happen the most when I’m on the golf course. Whether I’m receiving unsolicited advice from some older guy on the range, or if I’m paired up with new faces in a tournament, I try to always fill the void with something because the best part of the game is the social connection! I mean think about it, you have roughly four hours (if you’re playing 18) to spend time with someone, so you might as well move past the awkwardness and get comfortable. Here are some of my go to topics that you can use during your next round.
Ask them where they would play their dream round and who they would play with! This is an easy ice-breaker. We all have that one course we’re dying to play and this gives you insight on if you’re playing with an Augusta or Pebble Beach type aka the Traditionalist or a TPC Scottsdale type, who doesn’t mind noise and is probably running up a beer tab!
Compare warm-up/practice playlists. Golf nowadays isn’t as quiet as people may assume. A lot of golfers listen to music while they practice and play, so this is the perfect opportunity to get some song recommendations.
Ask them which PGA/LPGA tour player they’d give a lesson to. As amateur and recreational players, it sounds crazy to even think about what we could possibly tell a pro but how much fun is it to ponder on that?! Imagine having the opportunity to tell Rory Mcilroy or Nelly Korda what they need to improve on.
Share your funniest memory on the course. This is a bit of a double whammy because not only are you working towards getting to know someone, but recalling a positive memory while playing will foster a high mental state. We all know how mentally taxing a round can be so establishing good vibes are essential!
- Ask them how golf has impacted them off the course. Personally, this is my favorite question to ask any golfer because it has the potential to reveal so much about that person. For example, if you’re playing a round as a networking outing, you can gauge what kind of person you may potentially be working with. It is a simple, yet insightful question to have in your arsenal.
It’s not something that we’re all cognizant of as players in an individual sport, but a tiny white ball connects us all. We each have our own experiences and anecdotes from the game that shapes our lives. Something so basic like having the same favorite player, or wanting to play the same course can turn into a full-blown friendship at the end of a round. Establishing our own communities is how we grow the game we all love, so, go out, smile at someone new, and dive into one of these icebreakers!