Work time, family time, shipping, cooking, cleaning, exercise . . . and five hours for golf?

Well, not necessarily. Most women are accomplished multi-taskers. Suppose we could change “and five hours for golf”” and not sacrifice any of our other priorities.

The experts tell us we all have more time than we think we do, but we let a lot of hours get away from us. Here are some ways to redirect life’s lost hours and obligations to make room for golf.


1. Merge golf and exercise.

Two hours of cart golf burns more than 400 calories. Walk, and you’ll burn more than 600. An hour at the range, where you’re on your feet and hitting balls, and there go 200 or so. A twilight nine beats treadmill monotony any day.


2. View golf as mental health

Social engagement has been shown to boost our mood and immune systems while lowering our risk for dementia. So, your time to golf with friends isn’t time away from family. It’s time FOR family. Time that will make you a better partner, wife, mom, and daughter. Join a league or club at your local course, look for a group online, or an LPGA Amateur Golf Association chapter, and commit it to your calendar.


3. Buddy up

Fitness experts recommend that we find a partner to motivate us for workouts and keep us accountable on our diets. This works for golf, too. If you cannot think of a potential buddy, ask your nearest golf course about their programs, leagues, and clubs that are popular with women. Even if you already know the game, a beginner golf instruction program like LPGA Golf 101 and Get Golf Ready, might refresh your muscle memory and expand your friend roster.


4. Combine golf and work

You do not have to be a good golfer to be good company to the more expert players in your office, so be the one to get a game together and raise morale. And if you’re in sales, remember that every round of golf you play could represent three new leads from your foursome. Where else but on a golf course could you hope to spend four or five hours with your boss, your staff, or your clients?


5. Form a league of your own

Face it, some of us are leaders and not joiners. Did you know that with just 10 players, you can form your own USGA-sanctioned golf club and start posting scores toward an official index? The USGA Handicap System Manual explains all the procedures.


6. Combine golf with another interest

Many of us find time for a book club—so why not mix nine holes with 300 pages? Or follow golf with a “19th-hole-club” that concocts apres golf recipes or beverages? Then there’s dating: If you’re single and looking online, meet up at the putting green instead of at the coffee shop.


7. Abbreviate

There are many ways to reduce the time it takes to play a round of golf. One of them is to play your 18 at what is traditionally called an executive course of shorter holes that should make for an easier walk and faster pace. A more modern trend is the 12- or 13-hole short course. And, watch for technology to bring us “pay-by-the-hour” options that will mimic how we pay to bowl or play Topgolf. At Pine Ridge, an 18-hole course in the Baltimore area that once hosted an LPGA event, players who stop early are allowed partial rainchecks for unfinished holes if they tell the pro shop. After all, golf is a game of honor.


8. Minimize the fuss

Just as you needn’t play 18, golf does not require that you carry 14 clubs. Find a small, collapsible carry bag that will hold five or six clubs and a putter, and keep that in your trunk with a few balls, a hat, and any pair of comfortable shoes for spur-of-the-moment summer walks on the fairways.


9. Keep it all in the family

The studies show that women stop playing golf once they start having kids. This may not be healthy, and it may not be necessary. Do you have a friend or two with whom you might pool childcare for a couple of hours? As soon as the kids are old enough, you can make time to play with your friends while they are at golf camp, and then play together as a family. Use family trips and outings as an incentive for everyone to learn the game and get better.


10. Turn practice into a game

Take turns and give points for hitting the 100-yard marker at the range. Google some fun putting-green games. if you’re alone, find ways to challenge and reward yourself. A satisfying practice session takes only an hour; if it’s not boring, you’re more likely to find that hour.


If all else fails, you can turn your home into a golf incubator by listening to golf audiobooks while you clean, practicing putting while you watch TV, or chipping plastic golf balls in the yard while you barbecue. Golf does not have to take time away from the things you must do. Merge it with your priorities, and it might even turn some of those “must-do”s into “get-to-do”s.