A Gentleman’s (Lack of) Game

Taking a swipe at golf’s not-so-subtle dating-app addiction

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Let me paint you the picture of my typical Monday night as a single woman in her mid-20s. I hop out of the shower, do my seven-step skincare routine and tie my hair up in a towel. I throw on my ex-boyfriend’s sweatshirt, which is overdue for a trip to the trash, pour myself a too-full glass of cheap red wine and plop down on the couch for an episode of “The Bachelor” with my cat by my side. Yeah, I’m that single. 🍷🙁

On this particular Monday evening, I did what any other available gal would do while watching a show about one guy dating 14 women at the same time: I opened up Bumble.

In case you aren’t familiar (lucky you), Bumble is a dating app where once a woman’s matched with a man, it’s up to her to start the conversation. Guys can’t message first. 💔

I noticed something different as soon as I started scanning my options. An absurd amount of men’s locations came up as Orlando International Airport. Cute men, in quarter-zips and polos—just my type. What the heck was going on? 🤡

I checked my calendar and it hit me harder than a shank in cold weather: It was PGA Merchandise Show week. How could I forget? This was the week when single (and often not-single) male golfers took over the dating apps in Central Florida.

My personal hell. 😎

Of course, this isn’t a singular phenomenon. Whether it’s Orlando, Scottsdale or even Augusta, no city is safe when golf’s annual traveling circus comes barreling through. ⁉🍺

Still, you never know, right? My future husband could be a Level 2 PGA apprentice from some small country club in the middle of Nebraska, just waiting for true love among the 10 miles of booths at the Orange County Convention Center. I decided to give the PGA Show–going Bumble bees a chance. So I started swiping. Immediately the polo shirts all bled together, swing picture after swing picture numbed my brain and, my God, if I ever see another video of bros shotgunning beers on the first tee, I will quit the game entirely. Boys, let me (apparently) be the first one to tell you: It ain’t cute. 

The men ranged from PGM program almost-graduates to established country club professionals. Several definitely looked like future-husband material. Which begged the question: You’re between 30 and 35 years old, attractive, work at a recognizable country club…but you’re single? What’s wrong with you? 

Let’s call this 33-year-old equipment representative I matched with “Brian.”

Me: You here for the PGA Show, I assume?

Brian: I am! Are you?

Me: I live here, but yeah, I’ll be at the show this week.

Brian: Cool! I’m staying at the Hilton. You should come hang out 😉

Hang out? Followed by the cringey wink face? Come on. This was the moment I realized that’s what’s wrong with you, Brian. 

These men (who mostly act like boys) come from all over the country for a conference and flood dating apps to meet women in a city they’ll likely not visit again for another 365 days, or maybe ever. They’re not looking to date. They’re looking for the other thing. Nope, take that shit to Tinder. 👋

I always try to see the best in people—but this was the wrong week for that. The number of conversations I had that mirrored the one I had with Brian was appalling.

But, as a young adult who works mostly from home, it’s so hard to meet people, let alone people with similar interests. That’s why I hoped that particular week would be an opportunity to meet some like-minded men. Holy moly, was I wrong. (And my college theory still stands: Golf boys are just as bad as baseball boys. Maybe worse.)

So what is it about men in the golf industry? Is it just the men I happened to come across and thought were attractive? Or are these men too engulfed in shotgunning beers on tee boxes and working on their takeaway to harbor real connections with really, really cool women? At what point does the fooling around stop?

By the end of the week, everyone’s location was, once again, Orlando International Airport. I just wanted to get back to swiping left on the dumpster-fire men who actually live in this town, but

I couldn’t help myself: I continued entertaining conversations with various PGA professionals, clothing representatives and entrepreneurs pitching the latest glow ball.

“You coming back to the show next year?”

“For sure.”

“Cool, see you then.”

Can’t wait, Brian.