How two muni rounds (very literally!) changed my life

Without muni golf, I would have never met some of the most important people in my life.

Emily Haas

I’m always game for a random pairing. Talking to people is my favorite thing to do, and there’s no better opportunity to get to know someone than on a golf course.

When I first moved to New York City in 2017, my mom asked me if I really needed to bring my clubs along (which barely fit in my tiny Greenwich Village apartment). Appalled at the question, I said, “Of course! You never know who I’ll meet who might want to play.” Since then, I’ve had not one but two life-altering rounds at local munis.

The first happened at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx — the oldest public course in the country — in my very first New York City round of golf as a resident. I’d moved here during the winter, so on the first warm day of spring, I hopped on the “1” train and headed uptown with my bag by my side and no idea what to expect.

An hour and a half later I reached the clubhouse to find I was paired with three guys who looked roughly my age. We ran through the first-hole formalities — “Where in the city do you live?” “What do you do for work?” etc. — and it turned out one my playing partners, Chris, knew one of my coworkers. New York at its very best is so big yet still very small.

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Bear in mind that this was the first nice day of the year. The tee sheet was packed and the round took nearly seven hours. As you can imagine, we all knew each other pretty well by the end of the day. 

Today, Chris and I play golf together almost every weekend. Through him I met Dylan and Cole — the rest of our regular foursome and my current roommates — and a whole group of friends that are all a part of my life today because of that one random round of muni golf.

A little over a year later, I trekked down to Dyker Beach Golf Course in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn on a summer Friday after work. I was paired up with’s very own, Dan Friedman … maybe you can see where this is going. I was in the job market at the time, and as a lifelong golfer had always been interested in joining the industry. I’d previously worked in fashion, so I wasn’t super sure how to merge those interests. Dan arranged a meeting where I got to sit down with Ashley Mayo, and the rest is history.

Because of that round, I now work for 8AM Golf, the holding company that owns and a few other golf companies. I manage projects, events and initiatives that span across 8AM’s entire portfolio, and occasionally write fun pieces for — like this one! 

A year later, I’ve kept up the habit of trekking out to New York City’s munis. I love the feeling of showing up to play, even without a pre-arranged group, because you truly never know who you’ll meet and what fun stories you’ll learn. If there’s any advice I’d give other young city-dwellers, it’s this: put yourself out there! There’s a good chance you’ll make a friend on the fairways. And sure, you may not meet your future roommates or find yourself a new job.

But if you did, it wouldn’t be the first time.

This is also part of our Muni Monday series, spotlighting stories from the world of city- and county-owned golf courses around the world. Got a muni story that needs telling? Send tips to Dylan Dethier or to and follow Muni Mondays on Instagram.

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Emily Haas Contributor