Love on the links: His-and-hers tips for a great golf date

A golf date showcases a person’s personality, character and values much better than dinner-and-a-movie. Check out these tips from a voice of experience.

Image of couple on a golf date

My name was GottaGolf on Match, LetsPlay19 on PlentyOfFish, and GolfWineDine on OKCupid. A couple of times, I even placed “Let’s Play Golf” personals on Craigslist. (Ladies, don’t ever do that unless you have a ridiculous amount of time on your hands or are already sleeping with a great PI.)

Because I am a golf slut who will play anywhere, anytime with anyone, I wasn’t all that interested in dating someone who didn’t play. But I also think nine or 18 holes of golf beats dinner and a movie for revealing the character of a potential partner.

I finally met my husband on a dating site. In his photo, he was wearing a golf hat and holding a trophy. So, from a voice of experience (and perhaps too much of it), here are a few do’s and don’ts to make your love round a heart-winning success.

GOLF DATE TIPS

  • DON’T be a flake. Mutually agree to a time and place and then honor thy tee time. This is your first opportunity to show that you are responsible, reliable, interested and not a commitment-
    phobe. I remember one Romeo who would email me to say, ͞”My buddy and I have a tee time tomorrow afternoon, why don’t you just show up and join us?” Needless to say, I was as unenthusiastic about him as he appeared to be about me.
  • DO navigate all of the tricky check-in stuff carefully. If you’ve been invited to play at someone’s club, DO call ahead of time and make sure you know the dress code, tipping policy and how you can pay for drinks. If you’re meeting at a public golf course, DO check in and pay for your own round when you arrive, unless you’re the one who extended the invitation and are determined to make a statement by picking up the whole tab. DON’T wait around for your date to pay for your round – although admittedly, if a date is in a position to do this, it makes a great first impression.
  • DO ride together or walk together. One of you probably will have a strong opinion about this, so just go with it.
  • If it is your first date, please DON’T wager. It sets a precedent of competition, which generally is neither productive nor conducive to romance. I had a golf date once who was obviously disappointed when I made birdie on the first hole and he bogeyed, and things just got worse from there because he was trying so hard to beat me. If, however, it’s your fifth date and you want to put some quarters on the line, go to the computers and follow USGA guidelines.
  • DO consider playing from the same tees. A man in my life used to come up and join me at the red tees because, he said, he didn’t get to spend enough time with me and didn’t want to be back there by himself at the whites while I was up front at the reds. I swooned. (This was no indication of his character. It was a well-practiced line, I learned later.)
  • DO praise good shots and remain silent on the bad ones. Rather than give unsolicited advice, pontificate about last night’s ͞Big Break episode. I know that men in particular have a hard time muting swing analysis and tips, but that can be a big turnoff to a woman who hasn’t asked for help. So DON’T do it. Make polite conversation instead.
  • DON’T feel compelled to play 19. If after 18 you have come to realize that you never want to see this person again, and, alas, it happens, skip the 19th hole. Otherwise, DO sit down for a beverage.

It is most important to remember that this round of golf is not about golf. It is about making a good impression. It is about getting to know a potential life partner better. If you spend the day whining about your swing and fretting over putts, you are missing the point — and, ultimately, you probably aren’t scoring any either.

WHAT HAVE I LEFT OUT? Comments welcome.

Susan Fornoff is the author of Confessions of a Golf Slut: A memoir of life, love and The Game.

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