Golf has always been a popular sport, which unfortunately makes it hard to get on the fairway. If you’re an avid golfer who has booked the whole day off work to play, only to find your favourite course is already at full capacity, then you’re probably at a loose end. However, there are other sports you can play in the meantime which will fill the golf-ball shaped hole in your heart.
We’ve written this list of sports which might appeal to the average golfer who is waiting for the fairway to become available again. Read on to see our recommendations. You never know, you might find a new favourite sport along the way.
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Let’s start with an obvious one. Mini golf doesn’t have the same scope as its parent sport (as implied by the name) because the scenery is limited, and the length of the holes is much shorter. However, the same premise is applied, and mini golf could help you improve your putting skills. What’s more, it’s a less expensive and more inclusive sport. You might be able to have a nice family day out by visiting your local mini golf venue. Mini golf is usually set on a dynamic course with an exciting theme as well, such as a medieval castle. Part of the appeal is the camp and kitsch. So, if you must trade your day on the fairway for something, mini golf is a good alternative and you might even improve your putting skills along the way.
Perhaps it’s the scenic views you can see while golfing that make the sport appealing to you. If this is the case, you might enjoy the fresh perspective kayaking can bring. Kayaking is done on rivers, lakes and oceans, which golf courses usually overlook. You can truly appreciate nature as you paddle along on the choppy waves. Admittedly, it’s not as leisurely as strolling over the greens, and hard labour is required if you’re moving against the tide. However, kayaking will strengthen those all-important arm muscles, so when you go back to golfing, your long-drive game will be better than it was before. It’s an excellent pastime if you’ve missed your chance to go on the fairway and still want to get your weekly fix of fresh air, exercise and spectacular views.
You might be feeling a little too deflated about missing out on golf to do any other sporting activities. In this scenario, computer games might help you get your golfing fix. There are plenty of golf simulation games you can play which focus on the more technical aspects of golfing, such as the angling for good putting or doing long-drive hits against a 40mph wind. You can also find sports-themed slot machines with True Blue casino games, or mobile apps where you can play virtual sports on your phone. Though we know these aren’t technically sports, sometimes we don’t want to engage with anything more strenuous than a video game after missing out on golf.
Golf and cricket are classic British sports, the former having originated in Scotland and latter in England. They’re also both incredibly popular in Australia. We think cricket is a viable recommendation for golfers who would like to branch out as the fairway is unavailable. Cricket is also a ball sport, but it’s played with a bat whereas golf is played with a club. Those who want to improve their long drive might benefit from cricket because there’s a similar element of combining force and precision when it comes to hitting the ball. Bowling in cricket will also help develop your arm, back and shoulder muscles, all of which are essential in a powerful long drive. Therefore, cricket is the perfect alternative sport for avid golfers to try.
What a lot of amateur golfers might not realise is that stability and coordination are the most essential components of being good at golf. You need to ground yourself so you can follow through with a powerful long drive; you need bodily awareness to hit with precision and the correct amount of force. If you can’t get on the fairway on a specific day, then you should take this time to improve these two things. What better way is there to improve coordination and core stability than through surfing? Incidentally, this is also one of Australia’s national sports. There is nothing more taxing when it comes to balance than surfing. Even a minuscule adjustment can throw you off your surfboard and into the ocean. You need to build your core and refine your coordination to succeed at surfing – and in doing so, you will find your natural ability to play golf will also improve.
Croquet is an underrated sport which is rather like golf. It’s played outdoors on a grass court. Participants take turns hitting their ball through hoops on the ground (as opposed to holes) with a mallet-like club. If you’re someone who enjoys the leisurely and outdoor aspect of golfing, then croquet will likely appeal to you, too. Croquet also requires the same level of precision that putting does. Players need to apply the right amount of force when hitting with their mallet, otherwise, they’ll end up overshooting. You also need to understand how to angle yourself, so the ball goes in the direction you want it to, even on a slope. In addition to this, the points system in croquet is akin to golf. Players who use the least amount of hits to get around the court are most likely to win. All these similarities between the two sports mean croquet is an excellent alternative to golf.
Those are our recommendations for sports to try if you can’t get on the fairway. It’s best to choose sports which can enhance your golf game, even when you’re off the course. Focus on improving your back, arm and shoulder muscles; refine your coordination and balance; but most importantly, have fun.