The highs and lows of playing golf with your other half

The Scoop

Harriet Shephard considers why trying to learn to play golf with your partner isn't always so easy

We’ve all seen the awful Instagram posts that feature a beautiful couple working out together with some form of motivational quote like, ‘Couples who train together stay together’ plastered over the top.

I know, vom.

Because really, who does that?

Nobody looks that perfect in the gym, and if some couple just started kissing by the weights in the leisure centre it would be weird and uncomfortable for everyone.

But it is true that playing a sport or doing some form of activity as a couple can be healthy and fun.

In a feature by Psychology Today it was noted that: “Lab studies show that after jointly participating in an exciting physical challenge or activity, couples report feeling more satisfied with their relationships and more in love with their partner.”

However, you have to wonder how many of these lab studies involved golf specifically…

The difficulties of playing golf together…

Firstly, it is so hard to take advice from your partner, even though you know deep down that they’re right and have been playing golf for many, many years longer than you have.

Even if it’s said with best and most well meaning intentions, any advice somehow becomes infuriating when you’re in the middle of trying to escape from a bunker.

Even if you do take on the constant warnings that: “You’re trying to hit it too hard” and things do improve, you’ll still never want to admit they’re right.

Sportsmanship also goes out the window. I’m always disappointed in myself when I can’t be remotely happy for my boyfriend when he sinks a putt from miles away. Instead I’m just annoyed and jealous that I can’t do that too.

The competition is just way more intense then when you play with a friend. There’s no being nice and polite when you know someone that well.

A casual: “if you get this on the green I’ll do the washing up later” is also all you need to make the pressure just too much.

So basically, it’s not all about gazing loving into each other’s eyes and swopping encouraging words.

I’m also not the only one who thinks this. TV presenter Denise Van Outen, who has only been a golfer for a couple of years, also warned of the perils of playing with your boyfriend…

She said: ‘If your partner is really good at golf, maybe just go on your own first and see if you like it. That will take the pressure off. It’s hard if you’re playing with a partner who’s on a whole different level to you. You don’t necessarily have to go together, I have a friend who had separate lessons to her partner and she just pretended she wasn’t interested in golf. Then one day she just went on the course with him and impressed him by just hitting the most amazing shots.’

That’s a good plan right there.

But then in some ways it’s also pretty great…

To be fair to golf, it’s one of the only sports that we can play together. We’ve tried running, but he’s too fast, and he’s also vetoed skiing as something that will never, ever happen.

So even though I’m still a bit of beginner, golf is one of the few sports we do that’s outside and doesn’t involve a sweaty gym.

It also lets us play golf with friends and be social in a way that doesn’t revolve around going to the pub.

Plus when I do eventually manage to complete a hole in an acceptable number of shots, it’s especially great to be able to share my celebration with him. It’s also nice to have someone there to comfort you when everything is going atrociously.

So here are my tips for enjoying golf with your partner

  • Don’t take a bad shot out on them
  • Always remember that they are only trying to help
  • Make sure you encourage each other (even if it really annoys you that he’s so good)
  • Don’t stress – nobody else cares if you are having a bad day
  • If all else fails consider that at least you might have improved your tan by the end of the round

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