The list: Why golfers quit

It's supposed to be a great escape. So why do golfers walk off the course? We found the most common reasons.
How bad does it have to be for you to walk off the golf course mid-round?

My dad doesn't play much golf these days, so when he gets out on the course, it's a special event.

Too bad a friend ruined it for him recently. In the middle of the round, his best golf buddy got so frustrated with his game, he walked off the course. What? I would be pretty ticked if my friend abandoned me.

Golf is supposed to be an escape from problems, not cause them. The game should be about the chance to get outside, reconnect with friends and get a little exercise.

I get that the game drives us all insane now and again, but his reaction was too extreme for my tastes.

What could ruin your golf experience so much that you give up the money you paid, turn your back on your pals and simply walk away from the game you love, mid-round? We have scoured through thousands of course reviews written by golfers like you to find out what makes YOU quit before finishing a full 18. You might be surprised why golfers throw in the proverbial towel once in a while. Here are the most common occurrences:

  1. Slow play
    A 9-some spotted on a golf course will certainly slow down pace of play.

    Slow play is considered one of the cancers of the game. If you budget 4 1/2 hours to play and the round is heading toward 5 1/2 hours, something has to give.

    There are probably hundreds of Golf Advisor reviews where users have walked off the course early due to slow play. A few occurred when courses accepted tee times on the same day as large outings. Many, though, were simply incidents where the course grind to a halt for seemingly no reason.

    User ' t249267549' indicated that he's walked off the same course in England five times for slow play. "It’s a nice course with great facilities but for the 5th time I’ve walked off due to slow play. This course is 3 miles from my house so very convenient but it isn’t marshalled at all."

    Others feel the same pain. "We walked off the course after 14 and noticed they still had a 3 group backup (on) ... the first tee. SMH, won’t be playing here again this year," wrote user 'frankhohmann' about a recent round at a course in New York.

    Thankfully, good customer service can restore our faith in humanity once in a while. User 'Jay7558927' got a refund after a slow start to a round at a course in New Jersey.

    "Played on a Sunday morning. Took 3 hours to get through 10 holes. No starter and no ranger to push painfully slow groups along. We walked off the course without finishing. Luckily, the golf shop was very accommodating and refunded us half the fee and only charged the 9 hole rate."

    Have you or a playing partner quit mid-round? Why?

  2. Didn't like the course

    Golf courses are like art: Some golfers will get them; some won't. We all have our favorite styles. Some courses just won't fit your eye or your game, and that can cause problems.

    User 't1746859059' walked off a course in Scotland because he thought the terrain was too extreme to be enjoyed. He wrote:

    "I only managed the first seven holes before deciding this was not golf as I usually know it and threw in the towel. Unfortunately this is the first golf course I have actually walked off due to its gradient being beyond what is reasonable - and I've played a lot of hilly courses."

  3. Playing poorly
    There's nothing worse than playing with an angry golfer.

    Nobody wants to admit to playing so poorly that they simply gave up and walked off the golf course. There are no Golf Advisor reviews to back it up, but you know it happens.

    If it happened to my dad, who plays less than five times a year, it can happen to your foursome.

  4. Poor conditions

    A golf course in disrepair can ruin anyone's day. But it would have to be in REALLY bad shape before I quit early. Other users have little tolerance for poor conditions.

    Reviewer 'Bbevulture' gave a course in Arizona one star after walking off without finishing. He wrote: "The conditions have gotten so bad that the course just needs to close and fix it’s barely playable. There’s no fairways just a blend of desert and rough and furry greens. I walked off after 9 holes as the rest wasn’t worth playing." Golfer 'rlarsen1' only lasted six at a course in Georgia: "Greens awful, no grass on tee boxes and always a weather excuse from the staff. I walked off after 6 holes and felt like they just picked my pocket."

    User 't827916976' walked off at a course in England for the first time in 50 years of playing golf: "... and as for the greens well don’t get me started there lest just say it was hit and hope."

  5. Ugly weather
    Nobody likes playing in the rain, but it can be tolerable with the right attitude and accessories.

    Bad weather can cause even the toughest of golfers to walk off early. Me? I'm an extremist. I once finished a round at Trump International Golf Links Ireland (aka Doonbeg) in a four-club wind when most of the group quit after a handful of holes. A soft day, the Irish would call it.

    The tricky part about calling it quits is asking: How much rain is too much rain? A rain suit can help, but when the wind is howling and the temperatures drop and/or the course gets soggy, it's time to play the 19th hole instead.

    Unfortunately, rain dampened a round at a resort course in upstate New York earlier this summer. User 'sjfion' still had a good time, writing: "If only the Weather cooperated! We managed only 6 holes before the deluge got the best of us and we called it quits. The course was beautiful. I now have to return to play the rest - Can't wait!"

  6. Temporary greens
    An unforeseen temporary green can damper a fun round.

    One of the biggest fears of golfers is to showing up to find temporary greens in play that day. What a bummer. It happened to user 't820107794' at a course in England in September. He walked off early and shared this review:

    "I wasn’t made aware that the course was on temporary greens when booking ... I would have enjoyed playing the main greens but flags stuck in the middle of a very hard fairway spoilt it for me, it also made the course play very short as the temps were 50 yards short of the actual greens on every hole. Walked off after 9."

  7. Unfortunate pairing

    When you show up as anything but a foursome, you're gambling with your day. A bad pairing on the first tee can turn sour in a hurry.

    User 'Milton3707832' wrote in a review that a combination of slow play and a difficult playing partner ruined his day at a course in Arizona.

    "Starter very unfriendly. Put me with a guy who was playing music and smoking dope..hit a couple of extra balls every hole.. I quit."

  8. Bug attack

    The first time I played a well-known championship course in Wisconsin somewhere around 2011, I was walking a few holes at dusk when a swarm of mosquitoes attacked. My threesome rushed back to the safety of the clubhouse before we were carried off by the bugs.

    Bug bites forced a golfer to quit his round at a course in New Jersey.

    Sounds like the same issues have plagued multiple golfers at a course in New Jersey. According to user 'Jeffsincontrol': "If you want to get EATEN ALIVE, this is the course for you. WAVES & WAVES OF MOSQUITOS. You can’t stand still for one second or you will get bitten. Course itself is decent but MAJOR BUG PROBLEM!! Wasn’t even refunded after playing only 7 Holes. Only received a Back 9 replay which I will never come back again."

  9. Aerated greens

    Even golfers who have been warned that the greens have been aerated sometimes get fed up with the rough conditions. User 'DukeMartin' gutted his round out at a course in Texas this summer but not everyone in his foursome did.

    "Well, I never have played a course that still had tractors on course doing aeration. I should have returned after first drive for refund. I continued on but did not know greens were also heavily sanded. I had good drives and good iron shots and endured the heat. The twosome I started with quit after nine."

    Up Next

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    Ask Golf Advisor: Why do courses aerate their greens?

  10. Too hot

    You can't make fun of the golfers who quit because it's "too hot" until you've played in the 100-degree humidity of Florida, Texas and Alabama in summer or the "dry heat" of Arizona's deserts and California's toasty interior. Then you'll understand.

    Too much sun can be a major problem, especially for older golfers. User 'asoltan' recently found the weather too hot at a course in California. "I quit after the front 9, because it was so hot and I was getting light headed. So next time i play this course will probably be October unless I schedule a 7am tee time. All in all, it’s a great course!"

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 1,000 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfadvisor and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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I quit playing after 10 holes today but I stayed and drive my friend around in the cart. I was playing so bad that I had only 10 percent of my balls in play. I was so miserable to spend my only day off work being so miserable but I stayed and drive the cart for my partner and encouraged him.

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The list: Why golfers quit