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What Factors Make Golfers Turn Away From The Game

By: | Fri 17 May 2024

Golf can be the game of a lifetime - and for many of us, it truly is. You first get out there with a club in your hands as soon as you can walk, and if you're lucky with health and fitness, you could still be striding the fairways well into your golden years.

It's one unique thing that makes this sport magical, but for some golfers, that relationship can become somewhat fractured, if not entirely broken at times.

Throughout your own story, golf can be a fleeting companion or a permanent confidant, but it can also drift in and out of view as the years progress.

When you think about it, several obvious factors can make golfers turn away from the game, whether it be a temporary situation or something that lasts decades.

Here are some observations that we have made - and they are often related to each other.


Depending on how old you were when you started playing, golf might not be a constant. If you took up the sport as a child, other distractions may arise when you're a teenager, and certainly if you drift off to college and university. Building a life and future for yourself can make it harder to find time for those weekly 18 holes.

When you're a fully-fledged adult, your attention could be taken up by work or family, reducing the opportunity and motivation to play regularly, which can see you gradually meander away from the game.

It's why many golfers often return to the sport when they're middle-aged, when extra recreation time has potentially been freed up again or when it's not feasible to participate in other, more strenuous activities.

Should you be lucky, golf can be part of your life well into your 70s, 80s, and beyond, but we're realistic to know that sometimes the passage of time makes it unrealistic to continue playing after a certain point.


(Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography)

Health & Injury

Golf might not be the most physically taxing of sports, but your health and fitness can be a factor in how often you can play. Serious illness or injury can cruelly separate someone from the game, perhaps even permanently.

Fortunately, golf at its best is the most adaptable and inclusive of pastimes, meaning that those with disabilities or impairments can resume playing when they're able to do so - even if you've required a little break in-between.

It's also why we should cherish the days when we're on the course and playing with freedom. I know from personal experience how arthritis has curtailed the number of rounds that I've been able to play, making those pain-free days on the fairways even more special.

Work & Family Pressures

As described earlier, when you're moving through each chapter of your life, things evolve and develop. You might leave school and move to study at a university for a few years. You may instead build up a career and work full-time. Then you could start a family and have your attention diverted towards that side of life. Or maybe it'll be none of the above or in a slightly different order!

Whichever path your life takes, sometimes it can be hard to find a place for golf, and that's why some of us drift away from the game.


No matter how old or busy you are - golf can take a long time. 18-holes might routinely take four hours and that doesn't include the time travelling to and from the course. Unless you're retired and the kids have flown the nest, it can be challenging to make that regular commitment.

That said, even with those demands on your time, many of you are still able to play regularly and have a rewarding relationship with golf.

However, there is no doubt that golf can consume the hours of your week, especially if you want to play to a certain level with routine practice and range visits. 


Golf club memberships remain the heartbeat of the game and they are enduringly popular and numbers are robust nationwide. 

That said, we all know the financial pressures of recent years and an annual subscription can be expensive, with the average cost in England being around £900 per year, which works out at £75 a month. 

Now, that can offer amazing value if you're playing a couple of times a week, but if you're not able to make that commitment, especially during the winter months when courses are often closed and unplayable, it could become a less appealing expense each year.

If you drifted away from a membership, that is fine, as the nomadic existence suits many golfers better, but we've all been aware of green fee inflation and the price you have to pay to play other courses. 

Should the game continue to be expensive - or more crucially not offer the same value for your money - then it's understandable why people may simply leave their clubs in the garage to gather dust.

Frustrations With Golf

You don't need us to tell you that golf can be a frustrating sport to play. It's challenging, difficult, often seemingly unfair and perennially bewildering, which we think are reasons to love it, but if you're struggling with your game and finding it hard to enjoy, then it can be a tough sell to continue playing, especially if the likes of time and cost are another factor in the background.

We believe that the game is worth persevering with throughout these dark moments - but we also can't blame someone for packing it in, at least for a little while before returning at a later date!

Ultimately, if you step away for a time, golf will always be there waiting for you, whenever you fancy, and at whatever stage of your life that you're at.

It's what makes it the greatest game.

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