March 02, 2003
The ROI of Golf

Al and I went to some open houses in San Carlos today, an activity I really enjoyed. It was fun to be driving around in the warm, early spring sunshine with my husband and thinking about what kinds of houses would fit our lifestyle.

Al had also wanted to play golf today, however, and I *did* put on my golfing clothes just in case, so at around 4pm he suggested that we quit the house hunting and head for the municipal course in Palo Alto. I said OK; it seemed warm enough, and I was above midpoint on the happiness scale, so I figured I could stand a round of golf.

As rounds of golf go, it didn't go too badly, but after the third hole I said to Al, "I know you find the idea of a golfing wife really charming, but I have to tell you, you really don't have a golfing wife. I'm going to be honest and say that I don't really enjoy this." An interesting discussion on return on investment ensued, in which I compared golf, snowboarding, and hockey, the three sporting hobbies I claim. I think the breakdown looks like this:

Golf in the San Francisco Bay Area
Preparation (throw clubs in car) 2
Hassle Factor (wind, cold, late afternoon sun) 8
Enjoyment 4
Return 40%

Golf in Hawaii/on vacation
Preparation (throw clubs in car) 2
Hassle Factor (guaranteed sunburn) 4
Enjoyment 6
Return 100%

Preparation (put on gear, drive in snow, find parking) 6
Hassle Factor (lift lines, crowds on slopes) 6
Enjoyment 6
Return 50%

Preparation (throw bag in car, put on gear) 4
Hassle Factor 0
Enjoyment 8
Return 200%

In other words, the ROI is much higher for hockey—and even for golf in Hawaii—than it is for the twilight rate golf we play in the Bay Area. This doesn't take into account the cost of these activities at all; in fact, hockey and golf in Hawaii are by far more expensive than snowboarding and twilight golf. This is what Al would call a "premium on quality", but I would say just proves that getting a bargain is not on its own enough to raise the enjoyment factor of an activity. Al was pretty sad to lose his weekend golfing buddy, but we were both glad to see that after the admission, I played better. No pressure, you see.

Posted by Lori at March 02, 2003 08:15 PM