On the occasion of Valentine’s Day, let’s get all the bad, frequently offensive, jokes out of the way first...
To speed up the process, I will provide just the punch lines to a couple of the hoariest groaners. “No way! The last time I tried that shot, I made double bogey!” “But you don’t understand. It’s my wife’s funeral.”
On a related note this February 14, let’s officially bury the term “golf widow.” With that out of the way, let’s move on.
Golf — and I speak from personal experience — can strengthen romantic relationships.
Even the dating website eharmony recognizes that, listing “15 reasons to date a golfer.” Among them, “golfers strive for emotional balance,” “they know how to make conversation,” “golfers understand they must forget mistakes and move on,” and “committed golfers are in it for the long haul.”
Finally, these relationship experts point out, “you’ll be spending countless hours together in pristine park-like settings. Not a bad way to nurture romance.”
They might have mentioned etiquette, balance, equity, and all those other fundamental values in the game. As well, the rules would be worth mentioning.
Not the official Rules of Golf, although those certainly have their place in the actual playing of the game.
If you want golf to help forge and strengthen a romantic bond, you would be well advised to follow these guidelines, which I have learned (often the hard way, particularly No. 1) over three decades of golfing with my beloved.
- If you’re not asked, then shut the hell up. If your partner is having an off day, fight the misguided impulse to offer your well-intentioned but worthless opinion. First, you most likely don’t have the foggiest idea of how to rectify the situation. Second, even though they love you, they now are so frustrated that you are only exacerbating the eventual meltdown. And they have easy access to a selection of deadly metal implements. If you are going to follow only one rule, make it this one.
- Take a golf vacation together. Sitting on the beach is all fine and good, but getting out on the course and sharing some conversation and laughs is far better.
- Nine and dine. Whether it’s an organized weekly couples’ league or just an impromptu outing for just the two of you, nine holes followed by a leisurely dinner and drinks is a wonderful way to unwind and catch up.
- Don’t take it too seriously. Sure, you want to play your best but the object of the exercise is to enjoy each other’s company.
- Include family. If you’re lucky enough to have kids or grandkids, invite them to play a few holes with you. Or maybe it’s your brother and sister-in-law or other relatives you love but don’t get to see often enough. Golf is a great excuse to reinforce those family ties.
I speak from experience, as I mentioned earlier. My wife took up golf after I did and fell for it as hard, or maybe harder than she fell for me. We’ve done all things listed above, from golf vacations to couples’ nights to including family.
And while the pure meaning of Valentine’s Day is focused on your one and only, and my wife and I have spent many delightful hours golfing together, I can tell you that one of my everlasting memories is the sight of our son and his grandfather golfing together.
That’s something else I truly love.