Good day in the office vs bad day on the golf course

Can a good day in the office ever be better than a pretty miserable day on the golf course?

Can this really be better than a good day in the office?
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Can even a bad day on the golf course be better than a good day in the office? Fergus Bisset thinks so, while Jeremy Ellwood remains unconvinced…

Bad day on the golf course

Even this is preferable to a good day in the office for GM's Fergus Bisset

Even this is preferable to a good day in the office for GM's Fergus Bisset

The choice here depends on two key criteria – whether you like your job and just how much you love golf.

As the answer to both will be different for each reader I can only argue from the perspective of someone who has previously attempted a list of the 100 greatest things about the game.

I feel very fortunate to find my job highly enjoyable and rewarding. For instance, I’m currently taking pleasure in constructing this short article on a subject I’m interested in.

But, as I look out at a clear blue sky and feel the warm air drifting through the open window, I can categorically say I’d rather be on the golf course.

Out on the fairways where the real world would seem very distant, where I’d breathe the fresh air, chat about nothing in particular with good friends and relish the challenge of the greatest sport on earth.

The challenge is something that all golf lovers embrace. We recognise that, to fully appreciate the game, it’s important to take the rough with the smooth.

Even when racking up a total England’s Test team would be proud of, the golf nut will find some positive to take and a reason for enjoyment.

Bad days on the golf course are part of golf’s rich tapestry - without them we wouldn’t appreciate the good ones as enthusiastically as we do.

The vast majority of us view golf as an enjoyable extra-curricular activity and an escape from everyday life.

If at any time when playing you can say you’d rather be sat at your desk, it’s time to find a new hobby.

Good day in the office

Surely a satisfying day in the office beats a miserable one on the course, says GM's Jezz Ellwood

Surely a satisfying day in the office beats a miserable one on the course, says GM's Jezz Ellwood

Comparing things that are not like-for-like is always hard, especially with so many variables in the mix – do you like your job, how good a golfer are you etc.

So let’s assume you’re a keen and reasonably competent golfer who doesn’t hate his or her job.

Any keen golfer knows it’s those bad days on the golf course, when all semblance of hitherto-known ability disappears completely, which push them closest to the edge of a Michael Douglas ‘Falling Down’ moment.

It is at just such moments of maximum inner turmoil and self-loathing that some bright spark usually pipes up, “Still, look on the bright side. The sun’s shining, the birds are singing and you could be buried under a mountain of paperwork in the office.”

“I wish I was,” you think while wondering how lenient the judge would be on the offence of bludgeoning someone to within an inch of his life with a 56-degree Titleist Vokey.

You somehow manage to quell the murderous leanings, while wishing the sun would be engulfed by biblical rain clouds to bring an early end to your suffering.

Unless you really hate your job, surely doing anything there must be preferable to playing like a prize plonker on the course – clinching a difficult deal, finishing off a complex report, or just getting to the end of your ‘to do’ list?

And even if your best days in the office are merely bearable rather than enjoyable, at least you’ll still get paid at the end of the week, unlike professional golfers for whom a bad day on the course also constitutes a bad day in the office. And I'm pretty sure that Rory McIlroy would rather have been tucked behind a desk as things unravelled on his final-day Masters Meltdown at Augusta in 2011.

Can this really be preferable to clinching a big deal?

Can this really be preferable to clinching a big deal?




Jeremy Ellwood
Contributing Editor

Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly. He is an expert on the Rules of Golf having qualified through an R&A course to become a golf referee. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 91 of the Next 100, making him well-qualified when it comes to assessing and comparing our premier golf courses. He has now played 1,000 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts. He reached the 1,000 mark on his 60th birthday in October 2023 on Vale do Lobo's Ocean course. Put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content.

Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf

Jeremy is currently playing...

Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft

3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft

Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft

Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)

Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response