There are many reasons why a golfer may want to leave a regular foursome.  It could be the group plays too slow or plays too fast, there’s too much talking or too little communication, the group is too serious or not serious enough, or there’s too great a disparity in the level of play for everyone’s optimum enjoyment.  It could also be you are just not comfortable playing with one or more members of the group.  The possibilities are individual and endless, so I’ll offer a few general guidelines that could work for any related situation.

First, be honest.  Be honest both with yourself and the group.  Be clear within yourself about why you want to leave, and if you are satisfied with your reason, you can be confident that you are making the right choice for yourself.

When you tell your group about your plans, you do not have to share all the details of your decision. Guard against over explaining.  When you over explain, there is a chance your message will become clouded and you may sound unsure of yourself.  You can simply say something to the effect of, “I need a change.  I’ve enjoyed playing together (if it’s true), but I’ve come to a place where I just need to do something different with my game.”  If you choose to give more of an explanation, be emotionally ready, and open, to accepting any responses from your group with confidence, care and non-judgement of yourself or them.  Whatever their responses, remember it is your choice to make.

With regard to your concern about feelings, it may be of interest to know feelings arise from what an individual is thinking.  If a person experiences hurt feelings, it’s because of what they choose to think, and the meaning they are attaching to another person’s words or actions.  Feelings are created internally from our own thoughts.  You do not have control over another person’s thoughts and feelings, and they do not have control over yours.  Of course, most of us are sensitive to the feelings of others and want to be empathetic in our interactions, but it doesn’t serve us to be untruthful in an attempt to manage what another person is feeling, at our own expense.

Once you make a decision, take confident action and move on with your plans.  Avoid waffling back and forth in your thoughts.  Waffling on a decision you’ve made wastes mental energy and causes you to lose focus on your game and your life.

When you break the news to your group, I suggest you either tell them in person or make phone calls to individual members within a short time span. It is best to inform the group members in your own voice, rather through the personal filter of another member who heard the news first and shares.

When you leave a playing group, it doesn’t mean you are necessarily leaving a friendship or congenial relationship between you and other members.  Talking with members is more personal than texting and sends a message of care and respect.  It keeps the door open for conversation, if desired, and continued relationships and activities beyond your current golf outings.

Being honest, confident, considerate and as brief as you want in discussing your plans will serve you well, both in amicably leaving your golfing group, as well as other potentially uncomfortable situations on the course and off.