Have You Ever Taken A Break From Golf - Many Golfers Do
Golf is rightly considered to be the game for a lifetime, played by all generations, but it's clear that for many that relationship isn't a consistently unbroken one, as the latest Golfshake Survey has discovered that a significant number of golfers have taken an extended break from the sport for a variety of reasons.
Throughout the stunning boom of 2020, following the first nationwide lockdown, the industry rejoiced at the droves of players who were desperate for a tee time, a proportion of them newcomers entirely, but an even more notable demographic were those who had returned after a hiatus to once again experience the benefits that golf delivers.
You can see the full breakdown of survey respondents below, showcasing a range of ages and tenures within golf.
Lockdowns have forced golfers to take a step back from their beloved courses, but in more normal times, it may come as a surprise that 51% of respondents in our survey stated that they had taken a break from golf. This data was broken down as follows:
- Break for less than 2 years - 12.6%
- Break for 2-5 years - 14.4%
- Break for 5-10 years - 12%
- Break for 10+ years - 12.2%
What's striking is the high percentage of golfers who have a taken a break extending a decade or more. Whilst we didn't specifically ask why people had taken a break, the common themes were around work, injury and lifestyles.
Naturally, life can get in the way of hobbies, and time constraints have seen many people drop the ancient game from their schedules.
"I stopped for 18 years, due to family and work."
"Work. It felt that I couldn't spare enough time to play."
"But, because of work, commitment to other sports and the expense, I only played a few games during my holidays until I was over 50 years old."
"Played aged 25-30 then work and family took over so did not play again for 30 years. Restarted at retirement aged 60."
For those who enjoy a variety of sports, especially at a younger age, it can be hard to fit them all in, and golf has typically been the one that is left out.
"After school, I played rugby and cricket at weekends. With work and family commitments, there was no other free time for other sports. As a result, I did not start playing golf regularly until well into my forties."
"First played when 19, played for a year and gave up until aged 63 - playing about 10 games in the intervening period. Started regular games (at 63) when I stopped playing football and cricket."
"I played a couple of times as a teenager, maybe once or twice in my 20s, then picked it up properly when I stopped playing squash in my early 40s."
"Only played occasionally when i first took up the sport as I was still playing football, basketball and cricket. From playing for the first time in 1994, didn't join a club for 12 years. Just played when I could."
Despite what some naysayers believe, golf is physically demanding, meaning that injury can prevent individuals from playing regularly.
"Currently I'm not playing golf because I have had a knee replacement operation. I will return to playing golf as soon as I can."
"I have had problems with my right knee for over a year so I took a break from playing golf. I have now had a knee replacement operation and am looking forward to playing again."
When you consider the demands on time that work, family and other circumstances require, it's understandable why a significant proportion of golfers don't fully engage with it until later in life.
"Children curtailed my golfing, only ever played two or three rounds a year until my mid fifties then played every Saturday until retirement then as much as I possibly can."
"Back in the day the jump from junior to senior fees was immediate and included the entrance fee even though I had been a junior member for five years. I was going to uni and couldn't afford the fees."
"Didn't continue as a youngster so only played till I was about 15-16. Took game back up when I was about 40 and started playing with friends on a regular basis. Kept up playing, improved, and now main social exercise most Saturday mornings."
"Went to college and couldn’t afford a club membership then got married had kids etc, so golf wasn’t a priority. Played occasionally over a period of approximately 30 years but wasn’t a club member until I joined a new club six years ago."
The Game is Tough
As we are all acutely aware, golf is a challenging game, and sometimes those frustrations can prove to be overwhelming, as this golfer describes.
"The break came after seven years of starting when I became despondent about my handicap going back up from a low of 13."
Ultimately, golf can be a constant - and is for many people, but it's also a game that you can come back to, especially when life gets in the way. When the sport looks for ways to draw in more new golfers and consolidate progress that has been made, we shouldn't forget those who may very well return in the future.
Sometimes, life can't wait, but golf can, and there is nothing wrong with that, as the road eventually leads back to the fairways.
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