They give up their vacations for it. They do the week's laundry at 11 o'clock at night for it. They skip going to the theater for it. One woman lost her job for it.

They are the working women of the area whose passion for golf is such that almost no sacrifice is too small for the pleasure of squeezing in after-work-and-weekend rounds en route to qualifyiing for prestigious tournaments.

This week, many of them can be found at the Women's District Golf Association's championship, the most prestigious for women in this area, at the Montgomery Village Golf Club.

Surprisingly, the overwhelming percentage of women with lower handicaps at the club are those who work, according to Rosemary Pricci, who checked on the figure. A handicap of 15 and below is considered good nationally for amateur women players, she said.

"Most of us can play on weekends only. That's why the time is so precious to us. And because it is, I think we concentrate a little harder on our game," said Pricci, coordinator for the central records division of Montgomery County's division of labor services.

Pricci, who has a handicap of 11, said, "I don't take a vacation. I try to accumalate my leave for the tournament." It took almost four months of work to save the 40 hours of leave she needed for this week.

"You save. You do without. You sacrifice a lot of things you'd love to do to get the money to participate in tournaments," said Pricci, who estimates she spends $1,000 a year on the game. "I would have loved to have some to the Kennedy Center to see a ballet or a concert, but I had to save the money."

Joan Ramsey, of the Greencastle Club was a fulltime teacher until last year and now substitutes. Quite a few of the area's women golfers are teachers, who have more time in the summer to work on their golf, she said.

A few years ago, Pricci said, a teacher who wanted to play in the championship called in sick to work. Unfortunately, her game was so good that her name made the newspapers and when the principal saw the story, she was summarily fired.

There are no such perils for Ramsey, although the tournament and practice for it put a few kinks in her normal routine. "I was up to about 11 last night doing five loads of laundry," she said.

For all the effort spend on accumulating leave - and praying it won't be wasted by such ravages of nature as lightning and thunder storms - the working women still fret about what's going on at the office.

Sharon Briggs was ready to bolt from the 18th green to her car to "tie up some loose ends" at the office. "I'd feel better knowing it was done rather than calling to find out," she said.

"I know what you mean," said Pricci. "Out on the sixth, I was thinking, 'I wonder if my (computer) printouts were done . . .'"