Golf Manners

【Golf Manners】Half Break – Japan’s Unique Golf Culture

Golf Manners

When you play golf, the basic style of play is “through play,” in which 18 holes are played without long breaks, but in Japan, there is a “half break”. After playing the first 9 holes, players take a lunch break to eat and then go on to play the second 9 holes.

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Why “Half Break” in Japan?

Why is Japan has adopted the half break? It is said that this is due to Japan’s “Settai Golf (business golf)” culture.

The term “Settai Golf (business golf)” refers to golf played for the purpose of entertaining a company’s business partners, with the assumption that the other party will enjoy the game. The term “Settai Golf (business golf)” was coined around 1989, but after the collapse of the bubble economy, opportunities for golf for business entertainment declined as corporate performance declined. Today, there are still opportunities to play golf for business, but they are far fewer than in the past.

It is said that since “Settai Golf (business golf)” was popular, half breaks were created so that players could take their time communicating with each other over a meal.

Also, golf course profitability seems to be a factor. Since demand for starting slots after 12:00 p.m. is low at Japanese golf courses, a major factor is that by taking a break, slots can be secured for a 9:00 or 10:00 a.m. start time. The golf course also benefits from the fact that it can expect sales from its restaurants by taking a lunch break.

How to spend the half break?

If you play golf in Japan, be sure to enjoy the “half break” culture unique to Japan. There are many things you can do on your half break besides enjoying a meal and conversation in the clubhouse with your companion.

Map out a strategy for the second half of play

By thinking about exactly what strategy you are going to play and doing plenty of image training before the second half, you can switch back to playing mode and start immediately after the break. If the first half was not as successful as you would have liked, you may be able to change your mind during the half break.


If you have plenty of time for a break, you may want to practice your putts and approaches at the driving range. A little practice at the driving range on the golf course or a short walk around the area is also recommended as a warm-up for the second half of play.

Notes on half break

While you are basically free to spend your break time as you wish, the following points should be kept in mind.

The duration varies by day

Generally, the break time is about one hour, but it often varies from day to day. This is to take into account the progress of the groups using the golf course that day and to adjust the intervals back and forth using half breaks. The master room in the clubhouse keeps track of the time each group leaves and returns, and by increasing or decreasing the number of rest breaks, we aim to minimize the waiting time during play to ensure a stress-free round.

Although the break time varies from time to time, it is worthwhile to check how long the break is before going on a half break and to think about how to spend the break time. Generally, when the first half round is completed, you will be told that the second half will start at XX:XX, which means that you have a break until the start of the second half.

In addition, please change your clothes and use the restroom so that you can be on the tee 10 to 15 minutes before the start of the second half to avoid being late for the start of the first half.

Do not overeat or overdrink

While we all want to fully enjoy a delicious meal for lunch, we recommend that you keep your meal to up to 80% full. If you are full, the stomach uses energy for digestion, which can make you drowsy and impair your ability to concentrate, which can hinder good performance.

To avoid this, it is important to avoid overeating and drinking as much as possible and to take lunch consciously. Nevertheless, having fun and drinking during lunch breaks is one of the most enjoyable parts of golf in Japan! Enjoy your feelings to the fullest, but in moderation in quantity.

Can you play through in Japan?

Many golf courses in Japan used to adopt through-play in order to avoid density in the Corona Disaster, but now most golf courses take the half break. However, even within Japan, through-play is the norm in Hokkaido and Okinawa.

Hokkaido, located in the northernmost part of Japan, has a lot of snowfall, forcing the golf course to be closed during the snowfall period (for about 6 months). Therefore, we play through rounds so that welcoming as many golfers as possible during the period when the golf course is open. However, depending on the season, there may be a half break.

The first golf course in Okinawa was the Awase Meadows Golf Course, which was established in 1948 as a recreational facility for the U.S. military (it is now a shopping mall). In other words, golf courses in Okinawa are strongly influenced by the U.S., so through-play is the basic rule.

Okinawa Prefectural Archives

We have talked about the Japanese golf culture of “half breaks”.

I hope your golf experience in Japan will be nicer.