While the idea of being out on the golf course indefinitely may seem like the ultimate way for a golf fanatic to spend their time, there are certainly pitfalls with playing too much golf, but what are they?
While “too much golf” is subjective and impossible to quantify, golfers should know their limits for these reasons:
- Too much golf can negatively affect your health.
- Too much golf can negatively affect your game.
- You can get burnt out.
- You may neglect obligations.
- Too much golf can negatively affect your finances.
Although not all the above issues may apply to every individual that reaches their threshold with golf, it is likely that some may arise within the course of playing excessive golf. Let’s look at them below:
What Happens If You Play Too Much Golf?
Typically speaking, while some may be able to play golf every day, it is unlikely that playing so much golf will have a benefit on your game while perhaps coming at too great a sacrifice, both financially and personally.
As such, we will explore each of the aforementioned reasons why too much golf may affect you negatively in greater detail.
1. Can Too Much Golf Negatively Affect Your Health?
Golf is one of the few sports that you can play well into your old age and is an excellent source of fitness, both in terms of aerobic fitness from walking and remaining flexible by performing the different shots needed to play golf.
However, too much walking from golf can start to negatively affect your shins, hips, and feet. This is especially true on courses with many hilly terrains, thick shrubbery, or numerous bunkers to traverse.
Further to the strain your body may experience from excessive walking is the strain your body may take due to continuous swinging motions, particularly if you have a poor swing technique that puts unnecessary stress on your joints.
For this reason, you should avoid too much golf to limit the number of swings taken and allow your body to recover from rounds to prevent injury to your elbows, back, hips, and wrists.
Recent studies have highlighted that the forces through the lumbar spine in the modern-era golf swing are comparable to other contact sports. This particular study found that repetitive traumatic discopathy may be the driver of early lumbar degeneration in today’s golfers.
Finally, carrying a heavy golf bag for long periods may also place unnecessary strain on your shoulder and back, should you not have given them enough time between rounds of golf to recover.
Ultimately, it is essential to maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle off the course to give your body time to recover. You should also have a base fitness level that will not be overexerted if you decide to play numerous golf rounds in a short time.
2. Can Too Much Golf Negatively Affect Your Game?
While there is the belief that “practice makes perfect,” some would argue, especially with golf, “that practice makes permanent.”
It’s for this reason that many would debate that too much practice may negatively affect your game if the practice being performed is:
- Not optimal as a result of exhaustion. You need to allow your body enough recovery time.
- The actions being performed during a round of golf are incorrect. This enforces bad habits and poor discipline.
- Too much time on the golf course has made you overthink things. For example, overanalyzing each swing, becoming frustrated, or taking golf too seriously (see “burnout” below).
- You have spent too much time on the pure mechanics of golf. It’s just as important to take the time to understand the strategies behind the sport.
For the reasons mentioned above, it is advisable that time spent off the golf course be productive for your game by reducing the long hours in favor of shorter hours with a coach or time spent strategizing and learning via online sources.
3. Can Too Much Golf Make You Burnout?
Burnout is one of the reasons why many young aspiring athletes, particularly junior golfers, stop playing a sport at a competitive level or in its entirety.
While younger serious golfers may be more prone to burnout, older casual players may also experience burnout because they take the sport too seriously and let below-par rounds negatively affect their love for the sport.
Quite simply, if golf stops becoming fun and turns into more of a source of frustration (although, let’s be honest, some level of frustration is inevitable), then it’s probably a sign to take a break from golf or reduce your playtime.
4. Can Too Much Golf Make You Neglect Other Obligations?
Like anything enjoyable, too much of a good thing can be harmful, should it distract you or take you away from important obligations. Be they work, family, or personal responsibilities.
Consequently, while golf may not fall into the same category of pastimes that may result in people neglecting important obligations (such as a serious gaming or gambling hobby), a person may spend more time playing golf than is expected.
They may justify it because it is a great sport to play for their mental and physical health, as well as being a social activity.
Famously former European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie’s first wife filed for divorce, sighting “unreasonable behavior due to his obsession with golf!”
Therefore, always make sure to keep your priorities in check and strike a balance between golf, other hobbies, and important obligations.
5. Can Too Much Golf Negatively Affect Your Finances?
There’s no denying that golf is an expensive hobby. Course and membership fees will inevitably rack up over time, even those with cheaper equipment that forego extras like caddies or golf carts.
The latest statistics showed that golf became even more expensive in 2021 due to the recent surge in popularity. The average cost of a tee time on an 18-hole course was $38, while the average 9-hole round increased to $21.
At around $40 to $50 per round of golf, a golfer can easily incur expenses of between $14,000 to over $18,000 should they play every day of the year.
And even if you purchased a membership, the average cost at a private or semi-private golf club runs into the thousands per year depending on the type of membership purchased, such as individual, family, corporate, etc.
Some players also chase the technology, continuously purchasing the latest equipment.
Yes, you can indeed trade in your clubs and upgrade, reducing the cash cost, but continuously changing them every 12 months is pointless, in my opinion, as you are forever regaining the “feel” of them. Consequently, this will reflect in your performance.
Another hidden cost is golf balls. If you lose 2 or 3 balls per round trying to force shots over water hazards, for example, this will soon mount up over a year.
Consequently, while it may be within some people’s budget to play golf every day, the average person will be unable to sustain these expenses for a hobby (assuming they aren’t making money from playing golf by winning prize money/sponsorships).
Therefore, I recommend that you budget carefully if you spend more money on golf than is feasible.
While golf is an extremely enjoyable hobby that allows you to get some exercise, be out in nature, and spend time with friends, all the while having a lot of fun doing so, you should be cautious not to over-exert yourself.