We’re learning how to turn down requests these days in JBPP, and I have to say that it’s a total minefield. If you turn down someone in the wrong way, you will give them the impression that their business isn’t as important as whatever it is that is keeping you from playing golf with them.
I suppose it’s difficult in the US, too. It’s hard to say no these days pretty much wherever you go.
My main problem with respect to Japan, where golf is popular in corporate circles, is that I am terrible at golf, and playing golf with me would likely make a client hate me and possibly hate my company. So I would rather have that person play with someone who will let them have a more enjoyable experience.
I have no idea how to politely say that in Japanese, though. I’m working on it!