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Mind if I join your group?

The First Call readers share their thoughts on being a single golfer joining others or a group welcoming solo players

Solo Golfer

Questions of the week [Feb. 13-19]: How often do you play as a single and join a group or do you and your playing partners accept a solo player?

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I play as a solo only when I want to practice. I will play nine holes and find it sometimes more beneficial than hitting balls on a range. I enjoy playing golf as a game and also thoroughly enjoy the fellowship, camaraderie and friendship of playing with others. I’m lucky to have situations where we play in "daily/weekly groups" of four to eight foursomes.

Fortunately, we usually have a foursome, but will allow a single to join us if we know him/her. Otherwise, rather than joining us we will let the single go ahead of us or play through.

Greg Schenkel 
Indianapolis, Indiana

Since my wife does not golf, whenever I golf on vacation I typically am paired with another twosome or threesome. I have nearly always enjoyed my round with others. I typically defer to the others when teeing off, and I allow the group to be themselves. Help the others find there golf balls, tend the flagsticks, but always pay for your own hotdog and beer at the turn.  

Mark Kazich
Darien, Illinois

I never go to the course as a single. I prefer to play with a friend or friends. As far as allowing singles to join us, that is usually set up by the course we’re playing, particularly at Florida public courses — not our decision. Although I prefer to play just with our own group, I have found most everyone is out there just to have a good time and enjoy golf. Everyone has their own quirks, me included — too analytical, too talkative, not talkative enough or expectations well beyond their game. But the ultimate goal is just to enjoy a round of golf. 

Barry Duckworth 
Knoxville, Tennessee 

Both. I organize our guys for a Monday outing and we usually have a number of singles join us. At least twice a week I go out as a single and join twosomes or threesomes. For the most part, it’s a great way to meet new people and the experience is a lot of fun.

Paul Vicary
The Villages, Florida

Hard  to play Palm Beach County (Florida) courses alone, they  always get you a  partner. We will accept anyone who wants to play — good, bad or beginner.

Bob LeProtto
Delray Beach, Florida

I often play as a single, either at home or when I travel, and I generally do not like playing alone unless the course is empty and I have no other choice. I prefer to join other players. I like meeting new people and playing with a group helps me control my pace of play. (If I play alone, I tend to rush myself.) Sometimes groups are accommodating — I once played with a twosome who then invited me to join their regular Saturday golf group, which I did, and I met many new friends. Other times, not so much. Recently I joined a group on the first tee, and after I hit my tee shot in the fairway, they told me to go ahead of them because they felt they were not good enough to keep up with me. (Really? Just because I hit a fairway?) Many other times I was forced to play alone because the group I tried to join did not want a stranger playing alongside. That happens a lot with husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend couples who just want to play by themselves. I have played with others who quit after nine holes, leaving me to play the back nine alone. Sometimes, though, I get lucky and get waved up to join a twosome or threesome.

On the other side of that, if I am playing in a twosome with my son or with a friend, I always welcome single players to join us — again because I enjoy meeting new people. When I'm asked at the pro shop if I mind being paired up, I always say that I will play with anybody as long as they're nice. Besides, isn't that the whole point, to meet new people and have fun?

Mike Augsdorfer
Savannah, Georgia

I often play as a single and appreciate being paired with others and am always happy to have someone else join me. Same with my wife and I when we are a twosome. Particularly on crowded golf courses we always prefer to play as a foursome rather than wait as a twosome.

Never had a bad experience on either side of the issue.

John Savage
Rifle, Colorado

Playing at a resort course (Omni Grove Park Inn), playing with guests from across the world is a plus. Lifelong golf friends nothing better. Sadly not all my friends enjoy strangers (their loss). Hearing golf course stories from all over the world is the bomb.

Chuck Chiavaras
Asheville, North Carolina

My wife started playing golf during the pandemic, so most rounds are with her in late afternoon at our local course where I’m blessed with playing privileges for serving as a marshal. We generally play alone, but are always willing to join or be paired up.

We are often paired up with other twosomes or singles when we visit other courses. When traveling, I often arrive as a single. I’m comfortable playing as a single or joining a group.

Mark Chatfield
Houston, Texas

I go out as a solo 90% of the time and most of the time join up with another group. Luckily, I've had absolutely no problems doing this as far as I can remember. 

I played 52 rounds last year — 47 solo — and got paired up with another group 37 times out of those 47. When I go out with a playing partner we'll always accept a solo. Just makes pace of play better for everyone.

Darryl Kowalewski
Chicago, Illinois

Playing as a single or having your group joined by a single is really pretty simple. Golf is a polite game and, as such, should welcome a fellow golfer. With that in mind, if you have asked to join a group and are denied you are better off being out of it — they were a pack of jerks and waiting for another opportunity is the best outcome. On the other hand, if you have denied a single asking to join — well, see the previous sentence to ascertain what that makes you. No excuses about "we're playing a game and you would mess that up" and similar lame responses. 

Having said that, I have played as a single many times over the years and don't recall ever being denied and conversely have never denied a request. Even when engaged in a big money game with up to $3.00 on the line. There have been a couple times when I have come to regret my decision to join a group or allow a single to join my group. But that's life and a reminder that not every golfer is a nice guy or gal (even on the pro tours). And, yes, I have joined and been joined by golfers of the female species. If that has been your excuse for denial, then you are way beyond the jerk category. 

Blaine Walker
St. Paul, Minnesota

I rarely play as a single, but have generally been accepted by a group with less than a foursome. My fellow players have always accepted anyone who wants to join us, and we met one of my usual foursome that way.

Mike Wells 
Aiken, South Carolina

When I was much younger and traveling for a living, I used to do it all the time all over the country. Don't very often go out alone anymore — plenty of golfing buddies. As far as accepting, our permanent time group now includes a solo player who joined two years ago. The wife asks how I can play with people I don't know. I don't understand the question.

Martin Donnelly
Elmhurst, Illinois

I help organize a group of seniors at The Farms Country Club in Wallingford, Connecticut. We try to be very inclusive of our membership with organized events on Wednesday and the weekends, including club tournaments with our own flights.

We have an active mailing list for requests for players (29 members) for the next week's activities. We believe that this action helps retain members, with seniors as their original foursome changes for multiple reasons. We are known as the Legends, with members from mid-60s to our oldest player at 93. 

Brian Nelson
North Haven, Connecticut

Have to chuckle every time I read a story or headline about No. 1 player in the world.

Isn't the PGA Tour and mainstream golf media now at a tipping point when referencing the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR)? The OWGR is not a credible source when Dustin Johnson is listed at No. 50. Or maybe the question will truly be answered April 9 after completion of the Masters — where I suspect Johnson might win again. Be certain that the oddsmakers will include Johnson in the top five picks. This year's Masters could be most widely watched event in history of golf and a Johnson win will raise further controversy on OWGR.

Tom Gorman
Dedham, Massachusetts

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