How to Ditch Work to Play Golf


Everyone needs a ditch-day every once-in-a-while. And for many of us, this ditch-day typically includes a trip to the golf course. Now your boss would say the proper way to play golf during the work week is to take a vacation day – but not me. No sir, I say there are ways to sneak in 9- or 18-holes while still saving that precious PTO for things that really matter (like a week of golf in some tropical locale, for example).

But how do you secure a round of golf on work time? Well, below are some ways to ditch work and play golf:

Take a Sick Day: The most obvious way to ditch work is to call in sick. And while I’m sure we’ve all feigned illness to goof-off before, perhaps it wouldn’t hurt to review a few pointers: First, make it something not too serious, but still contagious. Or make it something that limits your mobility – this is important so they won’t question your staying home. I knew one guy who actually used the excuse that he threw his back out while…wait for it…playing golf! And steer-clear of Mondays and Fridays: Besides the fact that three-day weekends are a red flag to most bosses, many courses charge weekend rates on Fridays! Finally, don’t do it at the beginning of the golf season or that first warm day after winter – not only is it an obvious red flag, but you might run into your boss out on the course!

But what if your company counts sick days as vacation days? Well, read on!

Plan a Golf Business Meeting: They say the golf course is the birth place for many business deals. Does your client golf? If so, this may be the perfect cover to play golf on work time. Sure, you’ll talk shop while playing but you’re still out on the course! Plus, if a deal or up-sell comes from it, then you might be playing more golf on company time in the future! If your client doesn’t golf, still have lunch with them at the club’s restaurant. After your business meeting, squeeze in a little practice putting or time on the range. If you’re feeling really adventurous, try to play a quick 9! So the lunch ran a bit longer than expected…big deal.

Visit a Client: Visiting a client can be the perfect cover for golf – especially if getting to said client requires air travel and hotel accommodations. Of course, you must actually visit your client, but once that’s over and done with, schedule that return flight a little later so you can squeeze in golf. No need to travel with your clubs – rent at the course and enjoy! If your client is more local, just plan to be gone the entire afternoon. Meet with your client and squeeze in 9-holes after the meeting. Planning is key: Make sure you choose a course along your route or near the airport. And use your judgement – if the meeting is local and is expected to last 30 minutes and it’s only 2PM, perhaps it’s better to just head back to the office instead.

Simply Ask: Finally, while this one may be pretty simple, it really works! You simply ask to leave work early. Now, there’s some planning involved: Catch up on your work; finish that report ahead of time; get everything done. Then go see the boss and explain you’re all caught up on things and you were hoping to take off a bit early. Many bosses (especially those that measure output rather than input) will oblige. But don’t try this too often (once or twice a year max) and there is the chance your boss could say no. If the latter, at least you know not to try it again!

Disclaimer: Keep in mind calling in sick requires some sort of deception. While Golfstinks doesn’t condone that kind of behavior, it is an option none-the-less. Meanwhile, the rest of the options are legitimate (and fairly benign) ways to truly play golf on company time. Our suggestion is to try the latter options first and if those don’t work (or are not options for your type of job), know that feigning illness is available. Just don’t blame us if you get caught!


  1. Ted B. (Charging Rhino) says:

    As a self-employed home-based professional, I’ve simply declared that Fridays between April and the September are “mental health days”…and at 300pm I head for the local course for my Friday League’s 430pm tee-time…for my continued mental well-being and sanity.

    (Translation: “I HAVE to get out of the office….!”)

  2. Ted – as someone who also works from home, I completely understand!

  3. Ted B. (Charging Rhino) says:

    Actually this year I intend to take more time; lessons and maybe another open-league if I can find one. I need to improve my game so that I can start playing “business golf” at the many local “charity tournaments” where the real networking is done; local politicians, business leaders and the movers-n-shakers, etc… Here in NJ it’s still play-to-pay…

    But I really need a decent, predictable game to get into the right foursomes…including an official GHIN handicap between 12 and 18. Most charity tourneys here in NJ you need a handicap of 20-22 max. just to register. And they’re no cheap to enter…typically $150-$250 including lunch…so you need to be paying attention to schmoozing and networking during the round…not worrying about “…where that d*mn ball go this time?”

  4. You make a good point about networking at golf tournaments, Ted. Check out this post I wrote a few years ago:

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