Ask Golf Digest: Is Golf No Longer A Deductible Business-Entertainment Expense? Seriously?

July 20, 2018

Illustration by Dan Winters

I just turned 24, and I routinely drive the ball 260 to 300-plus yards. I've had no formal lessons. Should I listen to all the old guys at the range telling me to take my talent seriously? Or is this normal? – Mike Nieve, San Leandro, Calif.

Uh, no, Mike, this is not normal. Most of us couldn't hit a 300-yard drive if we were teeing one up on a tarmac. If your titanic tee shots are being verified by the driving-range elders, you might want to first check that their prescriptions are up to date. But if you are confident in your skills as a bombardier, then might we offer you a suggestion? Go play golf! Sounds like you've got a future in this game, kid. Don't waste it.

I overheard someone at the course saying golf is no longer deductible as a business-entertainment expense. Is this true? – Jimmy Upton, Delray Beach, Fla.

You heard right. In a move that came as a surprise to many, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 eliminated the 50 percent deduction for most business-entertainment expenses, including rounds of golf. Will this have much impact on course owners? Some say yes, fearing business people will be less inclined to take clients out for golf. If it does cause a sharp falloff in corporate golf, says Linda Rogers, owner of Indiana's Juday Creek Golf Course and a former president of the National Golf Course Owners Association, "then what you're faced with is raising prices for the recreational golfer."

I beat all the men in my club's A Flight championship, a stroke-play event using handicaps, then lost a tiebreaker to the lone woman. The committee let her play from the forward tees. Doesn't Rule 33-2b state that the teeing grounds must be the same for all? Would you agree the club owes me the appropriate trophy and should photoshop me into the winner's portrait? – Al Boffice, Elk Grove Village, Ill.

Good job defeating all those other guys, but, no. Forcing your flight's winner to share her trophy—or, even weirder, her portrait—wouldn't be right. In net events, players may start from different tees because their handicaps from those tees will adjust for the different lengths. Rule 33-2b is about new holes or what happens when a single round is played over more than one day.

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