How to avoid getting paired up in golf in 2022 (Expert tips)11 min read

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How to avoid getting paired up in golf

Sometimes when playing, the golf course attendant will pair you up with another player to maximize their player throughput. Especially if you are a single-player, a twosome, or a threesome. This usually is no fun. Especially, if you are a close group of friends and need the time to have fun and share laughter. This is why we discuss how to avoid getting paired up.

Just in case you are wondering, we have discussed similar topics. We have discussed how to play golf as a fivesome (5 players) and also how to play golf alone or with friends.

On a slightly different note, you can also check out our article on teaching golf without certification.

The best way to avoid being paired up

If you are experienced at playing with a regular group, it is best that you form your own foursome. This will help you avoid getting paired up. However, there are ways to avoid getting paired up with other random golfers.

If you think it would be better to play as a pair or a threesome, talk to the clubhouse attendant before teeing off. Tell the attendant that you prefer playing with your friends or golfing buddies alone. In this way, you are simply expressing your discomfort with being paired up with golfers who you do not know.

If this fails, you can try using the five (5) ways we suggest below to avoid getting paired up.

Five (5) ways to avoid getting paired up in golf

1. Book a tee slot for 4 golfers, then mention some are running late

If you are a group of two or three golfers, book a tee time for four (4) golfers. However, at the tee, tell the golf course attendant that one or two of your friends are running late. You can then proceed to play on the course without any worry. No attendant will deliberately follow up on whether your friends eventually showed up.

If the attendant does follow up, you could always tell them that your friends took a raincheck after all. Just pick any flimsy excuse that comes to mind, traffic, an emergency that came up, or any other reason.

This method is convenient because you will get to play with your preferred golfing buddies and avoid getting paired up with other golfers.

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2. Sorry, this game means a lot to us. We have a lot of money riding on it

Instead of telling your golf course attendant that you would rather play by yourself, you could simply mention how much money your group has invested or are betting in playing the game.

In this case, you are making it clear to the attendant that it is important for you to play with your golfing buddies. Especially, since there is money at stake and in most cases they will accommodate your request.

This method also works if you get to the tee box and discover you have been paired with another golfer. You could let this golfer know that as a group of friends, you have a lot riding on this game and ask them if it is okay for them to choose another group to tee with.

The secret to this method is to make it look like it is a last minute decision you made after arriving at the course. Also, do not hesitate to mention this to the attendant or the golfer who added to your group.

Any hesitation to mention this will make it seem less genuine. Furthermore, it might raise red flags and cause someone to suspect you of being dishonest.

3. I haven’t played with my friend(s) in quite a long while. We’d love to catch up if that’s okay with you?

This method is best used when you are a two-player or three-player group and are paired up with another golfer.

The key to this method is to talk with the other golfer(s) who you will be paired up with and let them know that you have not played for a long while. Tell them that you are likely to slow down the game play because you will be catching up with your friend about the happenings in each of your lives.

In most cases, the golfer who you have been paired up with should understand your request and let you play with your friend(s).

Alternatively, you could tell the clubhouse attendant not to pair you with other players since you want to play with another golfer because they are a friend/family/acquaintance and you haven’t seen them for quite a while.

In this way, you will be requesting the attendant not to add someone else who will not understand what you are discussing with your golfing buddy and could just end up ruining their day.

person holding white golf ball
Photo by Peter Drew on Unsplash

4. I’m sorry, I won’t be a fun partner. I have to listen to this podcast or video conference

If you would like to play golf alone, you can ask the clubhouse attendant to give you a solo tee time so that you don’t have to be paired up with other golfers. However, it is not easy if the golf course does not have solo tee times.

If for some reason, the course does not have solo tee slots, the better alternative is to tell the golfer who you are paired up with that you have a video conference recording or podcast that is 3 hours long that you need to listen to. The objective is to make it seem that this recording or podcast that you need to listen to is a must for your job.

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“I’m sorry, I need to listen to this video conference recording and prepare the key takeouts for a meeting we have on Monday morning. Therefore, I will be no fun to play with as I will be trying to concentrate on this recording.”

5. Join a club or group of friends who you will be regularly playing with

If you want to avoid getting paired up, what you could do is to join a group of friends who meet up regularly at the same golf course.

One of the best ways to do this is about making work fun and finding new ways to have fun at the course by forming a golfing group with your acquaintances, friends, or fellow co-workers!

This way, when you go in for your tee time, it usually works that these friends will always come with you to the golf course. Therefore, you will most likely never be paired up as you will always have a couple of golfers to tee with.

Bonus tip: Make small talk if your attempts to avoid getting paired up failed

You may be paired with someone who is not a friend, or an acquaintance, a colleague from work, and so on. In this case, there are ways to break the ice so that you don’t end up with a bad golfing day.

If you have been paired with someone who you do not know, all it takes is some small talk to help you get to know each other better. Just a few questions can go a long way in building rapport with your partner and creating a fun round of golf.

Small talk ideas to start a conversation on the course

Here are a few ideas to help you start a conversation with your partner in golf:

  1. If you are paired up with a guy: What is your favorite sport? Have you always played golf? What is the best part about golf?
  2. If you are paired up with a girl: Do you prefer cooking or baking? What is your favorite kind of music/band? Are you into karaoke nights at all?
  3. If you are paired up with a senior golfer: How long have you been playing golf? What is the difference between your golfing skills today versus when you first started out?
  4. If you are paired up with an amateur golfer: How do you feel about your game today? What is the best thing that happened to you in the past year?
  5. If you have a different preference: What kind of ball is your favorite? How about clubs? Do you prefer driving or putting?
  6. If you are paired up with a high handicapper: What is your favorite golfing tip or strategy? What kind of golf balls do you use?
  7. If you are paired with another golfer who has a disability: How does it feel making it to the first tee today? Do you think this course can accommodate disabled guests such as yourself?

More small talk ideas to start a conversation on the course

  1. If you are paired with an amateur golfer: What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Do you like watching golf on TV or reading about it?
  2. If you are paired with another amateur golfer: How do you feel about playing this course? What’s your favorite part of the game?
  3. If you are paired with an acquaintance: Which golfer do you think is the most well-known in the industry? Who is your favorite golfer to watch on TV?
  4. If you are paired up with someone random: Do you have any fond memories of golf as a child? How often do you play golf today?
  5. If you are paired with a colleague: Have you played on this course before? Which hole at this course is your favorite?
  6. If you are paired up with a senior golfer: How have things changed since the first time you started playing golf? What advice do you have for amateur golfers starting out?
  7. If you are paired up with a friend: Are there any details about your game that the rest of us did not know about?
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These questions might seem a bit stilted at first, but if used with a person who you have not played golf with before, they will be able to break the ice and make this day at the course more enjoyable.

Ways To Avoid Having Bad Golfing Days after being paired up

  1. Whatever questions you wish to ask, just make sure to keep the conversation light and casual. Ensure there is no pressure on either of you in the game.
  2. If you have a genuine personal interest in the other golfer and how they play, make sure to tell them. You could let me know how you have heard of them and what specific things you admire about them. This will help get the conversation going because most likely, the other person will do the same.
  3. If you want to chitchat, be sure to talk about topics that both of you enjoy. Or at least topics that you both know something about.
  4. Avoid some topics such as weather, politics, religion, and women that are often controversial and may lead to disagreement. The main objective is to have a fun golfing day.
  5. If you are paired up, it is a good idea to discuss with your partner how you will play. For example, you could let them know the holes you play well and the ones you are practicing. In this way, you can mention the strategy you would like to try today to conquer your weakness. However, avoid coming off as a know-it-all since the idea is to have a general conversation.
  6. In most cases, it is fine to joke around with your partner about how they played. Offer some constructive criticism without being too critical or humiliating them.

Final thoughts on how to avoid getting paired up in golf

There are many ways that would help make your golfing experience more enjoyable. Some of these methods may require a little bit of thinking on your part, but not much time.

If you are struggling to find the best method to avoid being paired up with other golfers, we hope this article has helped you with great ideas.

Don’t hesitate to ask other questions if you come unstuck. We are always happy to support where we can.

Michael G

I love investing in people! Michael is on a mission to help organizations and individuals become better. Michael has had a distinguished 10-year career spanning through non-profit and the corporate world. Michael's life purpose is in helping to simplify complex problems to define actionable solutions, which is why through public speaking, Michael is focused on inspiring and impacting people towards the right personal growth formula and generating sustainable business growth.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Scott

    I dont know where you play but you usually dont have a choice. You play with who they pair you up with or you dont play.

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