How To Achieve Golf Happiness With Your Partner | Golf News and Tour Information

OWhen LPGA Tour and Solheim Cup player Mina Harigae met her fiancé, Travis Kreiter, he was an assistant professional at Superstition Mountain in Gold Canyon, Arizona, where she had just become an honorary member. The first time they played, Mina challenged Travis to a $5 birdie game. Travis rose $20 on the forehead and never let go. “I liked that he wasn’t even sorry for beating me so badly,” Mina says. “If I didn’t like it, I would have just paid and left. But he bought me coffee with the money he made on me.

Golf can be a great way to spend time with your romantic partner, regardless of your skill level. “My favorite thing is playing late at night when nobody else is around, and I feel like we’re the only ones in the world chasing a little white ball,” Mina says.

She and Travis, who are now caddies for her on tour, had fun with the occasional tense exchanges on the golf course, but learned to handle those situations. Here are their five keys to maintaining harmony.

Mine : Unsolicited advice is tricky. You always hear: “Keep your head down. But just because you’ve heard a golf swing tip doesn’t mean it applies to everyone. Don’t give advice that could make a swing problem worse or, worse, irritate a playing partner who doesn’t want a lesson.

Travis: It’s easier to hear constructive feedback from someone who is paid to teach golf than from someone who lives in your home. Working with a professional instructor is the way to go.

SPEAK UP WHEN TENSION ARISES

Mine : We’ve had our share of uncomfortable moments on the golf course. I find that expressing my thoughts in the moment helps solve all problems. If I don’t tell Travis “I’m feeling a little anxious today” or “My brain just isn’t working right now,” he won’t understand my mood.

Travis: My instinct is to crush the tension with positivity, but that doesn’t always work. Remember there are worse things in life than a bogey. In difficult times, I simply remind Mina that I am there to help her through adversity.

Travis: I’m going to yell at Mina from across the green, “If I have that chip within a yard, you cook dinner tonight.” It might be the most unlikely move imaginable, but these low-stakes competitions keep things exciting.

Mine : I always find it funny when Travis makes a long putt for a birdie or an eagle and then I do it on him. He will make a face at me.

Travis: Well, it’s usually not just a face. I could call him a name or make a gesture. We make each other laugh on the course. It is important.

Mine : Don’t play all of your golf with your partner. When I play with other players on the tour, I measure my game against theirs. When I’m with Travis, I’m so comfortable I almost go on autopilot. It helps to mix things up, socially and for your own betterment.

Travis: Regardless of your skill level, playing with friends and peers will help you gain a new appreciation for the game.

YOU DON’T NEED TO PLAY 18

Mine : Even nine holes can sometimes be difficult to grasp. Travis and I like to play games on the green. “Shooter” is one of our favorites.

Travis: Each person stands at a hole on the practice green – about 20 feet apart – and you place balls in your partner’s hole until you get there. Make a putt and get a point, then you switch places. If you make your putts at the same time, they don’t count. The first person to seven points wins. Mina and I play it for hours.

Michael C. Ford