The Point of Diminishing Joy When Playing Golf

Before reading the rest of the article, answer this question: What is the perfect number of golf holes you like to play? Just one more question: Do you normally have time to play all the holes your would like? This is an ongoing debate in golf that I think has gone down the rabbit hole. Most of the previous discussions were nothing by white noise and I lost interest in what most ‘experts’ were saying. It reminded me of Charlie Brown’s teacher giving directions.

I do not mean to be harsh, but there is only one person who can decide what is the perfect number of holes for your game. And that is you! Some like to play 9 holes and others 18 or more. Yet, some find 13 are enough. All the answers are correct depending on the person. However, the majority of players think 18 holes is the perfect number.

Personally, I am an 18 hole if walking and 27 if riding in a cart. Of course I am open to more, but we are talking the perfect number. Of course I could get into the whole discussion about time versus holes, cost, blah, blah, blah. But that is a completely different conversation.

My question is focused on the point of diminishing joy as you play golf. There is a point in every persons game where playing hole after hole looses its luster. I know I experience it, but it is a moving target. There are some days when six holes is enough and others I want to play 36. The factors affecting this shifting point are countless and vary from person to person.

So, the short answer is: what ever number of golf holes suits you that day. I know we all have a favourite number, but sometimes that is just not possible. I recommend we all stop listening to the ‘experts’ about the perfect number of golf holes in a round and just play for the joy of playing.

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

8 thoughts on “The Point of Diminishing Joy When Playing Golf

  1. I think 18 is the right number not for any particular reason other than it is what is “traditional”. So our mental concept of playing and competing against all other golfers over history of the game is considered to be 18. So while there are legitimate reasons to play 9, 27, 36 or 12 – I think 18 is consistent with what has generally been the typical game.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jim, for me it mostly depends on the weather, but 18 is the magic number. I also know that 36 is fun but for a protracted duration, is way too much. Having played 36 for six straight days for years on my Myrtle Beach vacations, I finally realized that’s too much and it drains my body of the energy it needs to start the next morning. Made the revelation last year in Michigan on the fourth day when I couldn’t even turn to look at the target without suffering significant pain in my neck.

    Assuming we even get to Michigan this year, I’ll do 18 every day and maybe 36 once.




    • Brian,

      For sure the physical aspects of playing golf are a factor. I am not sure I could play 36 holes a day for 6 days straight without experiencing some diminished joy or increases aches and pains. I hope you do make it to Michigan this year.

      Cheers Jim

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jim, I’ve been doing a lot of physical training since January and have been using a program designed for me by a physical trainer. Early results are positive from the rounds I played in January and February. My energy levels were high and my body felt good especially after walking 18.

        One positive note from this COVID debacle. The physical trainer is my daughter’s boyfriend and he’s been staying with us since the emergency started. As a result, the whole family engages in conversation about fitness and nutrition on a daily basis. I’m adjusting my workout, checking with him on the changes, etc. I’m actually in the best shape I’ve been in for many years. Gotta make lemonade out of this lemon. . .


        Liked by 2 people

      • Brian

        That is fantastic! You are right about taking advantage of the situation. What you are doing now will have long reaching benefits. As my wife and I always say, If you don’t have your health, you have nothing! Stay safe!

        Cheers Jim

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I prefer 27 holes. I love using the first nine as warm up for the round. That bites me on occasion if I get tired at the end which I do sometimes when it’s hot out, but it has been mostly good for my scoring. But the weather most often determines how many holes I can play. I’ve thought 9 was enough a few times because of the heat and humidity here in the summer. And I’ve been chased off the course by the cold a couple of times before finishing a round while vacationing up north too. But I’ve also played up to 40 holes more than a few times too while riding. It depends on the day and the course.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin

      Thanks for making my point stronger. The point of diminishing joy on the golf course depends and there is no solid rule saying how many holes must be played at anytime. It is all relative to the situation of the time.

      Cheers Jim


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