What She Really Thinks About Your Golf

A revealing round-table discussion with golfers' spouses covers everything from the amount of time you play to the signs that you're really pushing your luck

Golfers' Spouses

Jennifer Mahmood says golf is "sacred" for Rick.

Photo: Peter Greguire

November 2005

You've been there. You're coveting a sweet tee time with your buddies or planning a dream golf getaway, but you've got a challenge that can be every bit as daunting as a long carry off the first tee: approval -- grudging or otherwise -- from your spouse.

We were curious to hear the spouses' side, and to that end we put out a call to those whose significant others routinely take golf trips with buddies. Two foursomes of wives agreed to visit our editorial offices for a round-table discussion. We wanted candor, and boy, did we get it.

We learned something -- like when you should or shouldn't cut a golf trip short because of an emergency at home -- and we suspect you will, too.

Golf Digest: When you think about your spouse and his golf, would you say he plays too much, too little or just the right amount?

Jan: For him it's too little. I don't have a problem with him playing, because I enjoy it and I understand it.

Diane: If I felt like I could give him more time than I already do, then I'd love for him to play more. He tends to be a little unrealistic on the time it'll take because he wants you to be OK with him going -- but you know how long it's going to take.

Noelle: My husband looks at it like it's his therapy. He knows that he's going to be a better dad, a better husband, just cleaner in his brain if he's played and feels like he got the stress out. I know if he plays on Friday or Saturday, it sets the tone for the rest of the weekend.

Susan: For him it's not enough, but for me, any golf is too much. I'm not a golf fan. I think if he played once a month, I'd be fine with it.

Jennifer: I know he hasn't been able to make as many trips since we've had the little one. He tries to work it into business, so he takes an extra day, and I think it's great for him to do that. I play the game, I understand the love he has for it, and I certainly can appreciate him wanting to get out there.

Pat: I feel the same way. Especially if he's tried to work it into business and he's going to be away anyway.

Noelle: We balance it at our house. I have a sister in California, so I'll go out and do a spa weekend with her.

Georgiana: We have that situation, too. If he gets a weekend, I get a weekend.

Jennifer: It's funny you say that. If we go to a resort I'll say, "How many rounds do you think you'll play?" And if he says he's going to play every day, then I'll say "OK, I'll play one or two of those days, and then how much are the green fees?" Then I'll take that amount and spend it in the spa.

Pat: My kids are 14 and 11, and my son loves to play golf, so when we go, it's great bonding for my son and my husband. They get out on the golf course and the girls sit by the pool and do whatever we do, so it's fun for everyone. Everyone wins.

Jan: It's much easier when they're on a business trip playing golf because you don't really know how much time they spend. [Laughter.] But if they're playing 18 on a weekend you've got five, six, seven hours sometimes -- it's a long day.

Georgiana: Sometimes he'll be packing for a trip that's supposed to be business, and I'll look to see what he has out and I'll be like, "Gee, are you playing golf?" I see a golf shirt and pants. The jig is up.

Susan: I think what's hard is that I have two little boys, and I'm always left to deal with them while he's playing golf. So the golf stuff started off on a bad foot.

Golf Digest: How old are the boys?

Susan: Six and 9. It's changed from when they were like, "Oh, Daddy's gone; he's playing golf. Why doesn't he want to be with us?" Because it does take God-awful forever. But he'll get up early and play because he knows we're waiting for him to come back and go to the pool and whatever. It'll be great when they're older and he can play with them. I think he needs an outlet, but it takes far too long. I mean, it is what it is.

Jan: There are some women golfers here! [Laughter.]

Jennifer: If we've got a weekend coming up with family and he might not be able to get out to play golf, he'll take a day off or a half day off from work to play. My sister and I sometimes say, "Well, if you're going to take time off from work, then you should spend it with your family."

Golf Digest: How would you react if he said, "Hey, three of my buddies just called and want me to go on a weeklong trip to Scotland"?

Georgiana: "Oh, great, can I go, too?" [Laughs.] I wouldn't want to go with him and his buddies because I know that'd be a really special time, and I'd be like the fifth wheel. I'm sure they're not thinking, Oh, I can take my wife, too. So just let 'em go.

Jan: I wouldn't mind Bob going away to play St. Andrews for a week, as long as it's not every year. But then maybe on the second year, I get to go.

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