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11 ways to make golf fun again

November 10, 2022
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Golf burnout can be a thing even if you love golf. For all the joy the game can give us, its unrelenting difficulty can lead to bouts of prolonged frustration. Have you reached the end of the line with the game, where it’s feeling more like a liability than an enjoyable activity?

Sometimes a simple adjustment can restore your relationship with the game, so we’re here to help with 11 ways to make golf fun again. Before you head out for another miserable round—or worse, hang up the sticks for good—give some of these a try.

1. Play with only five clubs in your bag

When golf stops being fun, often it’s because we have so many technical swing thoughts floating around in our heads. Instead of worrying about face angle and shaft plane, we need to tap into our creativity.

To force more imagination, consider bringing just five clubs for your next round. With fewer options, you’ll have to play shots you normally wouldn’t. When you’re in between clubs (and you will be a lot), you’ll have to play with more finesse and won’t be so focused on technical jargon.

2. Move up to the forward tees

Low on confidence? Getting bored with hitting the exact same shots at the same course everyday? Try moving all the way up to the forward tees for a few rounds. You’ll be hitting shots you never needed before and seeing the course in a new—hopefully refreshing—way. And your scores will (likely) come down, restoring the self-belief that the game had stripped away.

3. Mix up your foursome

Maybe your frustration with golf is misguided. Perhaps you’re in a rut with your usual game, and the vibes aren’t what they once were. Next time you’re looking to get out for a round, try a new group. You’ll quickly know if it was the golf or the company that was the problem.

4. Stop keeping score

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Karl Hendon

Sometimes it can be hard to separate our scores from our identities as golfers. When we go through inevitable stretches where our scores are higher than normal, we struggle with the sense we’re not meeting expectations.

Having a golfer identity crisis? Throw out the scorecard and pencil and stop letting a number dictate whether that round you just played was worth it. Without the number taxing your confidence, you’ll be freed up to start enjoying the game again.

5. Try hitting shots that curve a lot

Think “Bubba golf.” Desperately trying to hit 2-yard draws and baby fades can get old fast, especially when the ball has more … creative plans. Instead, aim way (like way) right and sling it back. Try the other way, too. Who cares if you succeed. The point is to mix it up.

6. Play an alternate format

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J.D. Cuban

Next time, play alternate shot with a friend. Or if you’re playing on an empty course late at night, hit two balls and try a scramble with yourself. There are plenty of worthy formats beyond the standard 18 holes of stroke play.

7. Play 9 holes instead of 18

Maybe you’re sick of golf turning into an all-day affair of five-hour rounds and 19th-hole drinks. Try playing a quick nine and enjoy the extra hours that have suddenly been freed up.

8. Take a lesson

Notice the singular “lesson.” If you’re playing poorly and aren’t sure why, a lesson with a local pro might produce a simple remedy. Just make sure you don’t fall into the trap of multiple lessons from different teachers, which will bury you further in swing thoughts. Now is not the time for an overhaul—you’re just trying to get back to “normal.”

9. Break out the old clubs

If you have old persimmon woods or blade irons from the last century, now is the time to dust them off. Sure, the smaller sweet spots are going to lead to some poor shots, but mixing it up will lessen your expectations and provide a new, fun challenge. And, when you do switch back to your modern clubs, the game might seem a little easier.

10. Play at a different time of day

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Nutthaseth Vanchaichana / EyeEm

Golfers love routines—and that includes when you play. Try changing it up. Dew sweepers, try chasing the sunset and vice versa. The course will play differently, and you may come to appreciate the new routine.

11. Take two weeks off

If you’ve tried all 10 of these tips and still aren’t enjoying the game, it may be time for a break. Put the clubs away for a couple of weeks and see if the itch returns. The timeline will be different for everyone, but the game has a way of always bringing us back.