How Much Golf Is Too Much For Marriage? Tips From A Pro

At a PGA conference I attended several years ago, they said the divorce rate was roughly 10% higher for golf professionals.

However, I’ve been married for 24 years and am a certified PGA Professional who has worked for nearly three decades in the golf industry.

That’s why I’ll be sharing what I’ve learned because I believe anyone who loves golf can still have a successful marriage at the same time.

Note: I am not a certified marriage and family counseling professional, so this is just my experience and opinions.

“I don’t know what the divorce rate is for head (golf) pros, but it has to be very high.”

Shaun McElroy, a PGA Professional at North Shore Country Club in Glenview, Illinois.

My Experience as a PGA Pro & Husband of 24 Years

Brendon Elliott pga professional with his family discusses how much golf is too much for marriage
PGA Pro Brendon Elliott and his family in 2017 at the PGA National Awards, when he won the National Youth Player Development Award.

Golf has been a significant part of my life since I was five, and my passion for golf is, without a doubt, a ten out of 10 on the scale.

At times, this has caused problems for me and my wife. But I’ve been fortunate to work through it.

In 1998, I met my future wife, Melisa, and from the start of our relationship, she knew full well what my passion in life was.

When we started to plan our wedding in late 1999, her girlfriends and family made little jokes about her becoming a “Golf Widow.”

It was no mystery to my soon-to-be wife. Even though golf wasn’t part of her life before, she knew I would be at the golf course in some way most weekends and even some holidays. For me, the amount of time I was at the golf course was not merely filling my emotional needs as an avid golfer, but it was also helping to put food on our table.

When we got married in the summer of 2000, I was determined not to let golf cause resentment and tension in our relationship. I was also determined not to let golf rob my wife of her time with me.

My Approach To Balancing Golf & Family

how much golf is too much for marriage brendon elliott and his wife
Brendon Elliott with his wife of nearly 24 years, Melisa, at the 2022 Masters.

I made a conscious decision early on never to make my wife feel like a golf widow. That decision was reinforced when we had our children.

I did this by staying focused on the following key things:

  • Family time is the most important thing in life.
  • If I could help it, I would have either a Saturday or Sunday off for family.
  • My golf schedule for both work and play would be set as far ahead of time as possible.
  • Compromises need to be made when necessary, even if that means my not playing golf for recreational purposes.
  • Misunderstandings are the result of poor communication.
  • Household duties take precedence.
  • When disagreements arise from my golf-related time, no matter if it is work or recreational time at the course, common ground needs to be found.

I will be the first to tell you that balancing your passion for golf, your wife, and your family is not easy. I mean, think about this from my perspective.

As a golf professional, I worked eight to twelve hours a day at the golf course early in my career. That was five to six days a week. So, if I were to have the itch to play the game outside of work time, I would have to be very open and honest with my wife.

Or, if I saw an upcoming tournament on our PGA Section schedule I wanted to play in, I would have to again be open and honest with my wife. Communication was necessary in my situation, as it should be in all marriages.

Read on: The Health Benefits of Golf – Is Golf Good Exercise?

Signs You’re Playing Too Much Golf

There is an issue if you cannot maintain a healthy relationship with your spouse due to golf arguments. Yet, therein lies the problem. Most who have a problem with golf ruining their marriages are oblivious to what is likely obvious to those around them.

Whether it’s golf, tennis, gambling, or anything else that you enjoy spending your free time doing, they all can become an addiction and a problem. You need to pick up on the signs to see the damage you could be causing.

Warning signs might include:

  • Your partner feels neglected. Don’t wait until they outright say this because, at that point, it may be too late.
  • You are holding your wedge or putter more than your spouse. If you have to stop and think about the last time you held your wife, you probably have a problem. Especially if you’re holding a golf club, as you try to think.
  • A lack of laughter in your relationship.
  • Your spouse making their own plans for how they will spend their free time and doing so without you.
  • Your spouse has their own hobby that you are unaware of.
  • Check social media posts by your spouse. Do you see posts or memes that say things such as…
    • “My husband would rather play golf than spend time with me.”
    • “My husband chooses golf over me.”
    • “Golf ruined my marriage.”
    • “My husband’s golf obsession is too much.”

Your best chance of saving your marriage is to be honest about how much golf you play. Asking yourself the questions above may be a great starting point.

More from Golf Span: The Complete Golf Workout Program to Level Up Your Game

Strategies To Find A Balance Between Golf and Marriage

Whether golf or anything else, you need strategies to keep your bond strong with your spouse.

If you love golf and play a lot, I promise you can play enough golf each week and still have a strong relationship with your partner. Here are a few suggestions on how you can do this:

  • Make communication a priority: In life, as in business, the number one killer of relationships is poor communication.
  • Invite your spouse to the course: Women are one of the fastest-growing segments in golf. If your wife found the same passion for the game you do or even a fraction of it, that could be a game changer. For both of you.
  • Invite your spouse to Top Golf or another off-course golf activity: This is another option to include your spouse in the activity you love. Who knows, that could be a game-changer too.
  • Celebrate your relationship: It is not that hard to do the little things to show affection, and it really doesn’t need to be all that much.
  • Plan, schedule, organize: Marriage and raising a family takes hard work; honestly, it’s much like running a business. While teaching at the Golf Academy of America Career College a few years back, I used to show a video from the great Stephen Covey about placing the “big rocks first.” If you prioritize, plan, schedule, and organize, you can have many things you desire. Including a happy marriage, a successful professional life, and enough time for golf.

Check out one of my other articles here on Golf Span: 5 Golf Mental Tips From an Award-Winning PGA Professional


How many times a week is too much golf?

Playing golf more than 5 times a week can be excessive because you need rest and recovery. Also, you need to have enough time to spend with your family each day. Balance is key; ensure quality time with your spouse and fulfill your responsibilities at home to maintain a healthy relationship alongside your golf passion. If you are seeing negative consequences, pull back.

Is it possible to play too much golf?

Yes, it’s possible to play too much golf. Signs include neglecting family or work responsibilities, physical fatigue or injury, and diminishing enjoyment of the game. Balance is crucial to avoid burnout and maintain healthy relationships and well-being.

Why do guys like golf so much?

Golf offers many intangible benefits that are often desired by not just guys but women as well. Being outside and spending time with friends are all examples of this. It’s an opportunity to relax or blow off steam. The game itself is highly addictive as well. Many feel that the fact that you can not master golf is what keeps them coming back.

An interesting read from Golf Span: Which US President Played the Most Golf? You Might Be Surprised

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Brendon is Class A PGA Professional and founded Little Linksters, LLC, and its nonprofit arm, the Little Linksters Association for Junior Golf Development. He won 25+ prestigious industry honors, including the 2017 PGA National Youth Player Development Award. He graduated from the PGA of America Management Program and has a handicap index of 7.8.

He has played golf for over 40 years and currently plays twice a month at the Eagle Dunes Golf Club near Sorrento, Florida. He loves Srixon clubs and plays a ZX5 driver with Z 585 irons. He's written over 60 articles on GolfSpan and specializes in sharing tips to improve your golf game. You can connect with Brendon at LinkedIn, X, IG, FB, his website, or

  • Best score: 69
  • Favorite driver: Srixon ZX5
  • Favorite ball: Srixon Z Star
  • Favorite food at the turn: Turkey and cheese on white

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