Golf is expensive!….
At least that’s what everyone thinks, anyway
For a long time, a round of golf has been viewed as too expensive and reserved only for the wealthy. However, over the past few years with the boom of social networking and online tee times, golf courses have allowed more people to take advantage of deals and promotions that did not exist in the past. These deals make pricing golf competitive, from a business perspective, as courses are all trying to have the BEST deals in town to generate more revenue.
This is good news for you!
Within 5 minutes now, you can look up multiple course websites and compare pricing to find the best deal and book your tee time. If you are curious about the process of booking a tee time, click here to read my full article on tee times. This evolution has allowed golf to be accessible to millions of potential golfers and has made the game less intimating for many who thought the game was too expensive.
The average cost of a round of golf is $35 on the weekend or $30 on a weekday for 18 holes with a golf cart. (public course)
This can vary depending on the quality of the course, and the location. For example, a round at pebble beach costs around $500 not including caddie fees while a round at your local municipal course may cost $25 for 18 holes with cart. Crazy the difference! Now let’s dive in more in-depth into the different types of courses that impact pricing.
Types of Golf Courses:
- Low Quality– Short yardage courses, easy hole design (Public)
- Medium Quality– Longer layout, excellent hole design (Public, Semi-Private)
- High Quality – Tournament layout, excellent course conditions (Country Clubs, Semi-Private)
These classes dictate how much each round is going to cost.
Public golf courses are still popular all over the world. Just as the name suggests, these types of courses are run by either city or independent management companies and are available to the public.
Public Course Quality:
- Low-Quality Public Course –Lower prices, lower course standards but have an easier course layout. Best for beginners and junior golfers. Average price $26 18 holes with cart
- Medium Quality Public Course – Low to medium priced rounds with good course design and upkeep. Best for golf leagues, outings or recreation. Average price $37 with cart
- High-Quality Public Course- Most expensive fees but worth the price. Pristine grounds and high-level playing experience. Best for tournaments, vacation or special events. Average price $55 for 18 holes with cart.
Public courses are all different, so it is best to look at the course’s website before your round to look at pricing, a map of the course, and the scorecard to determine which class the golf course will fall into.
Experiment! Try different courses to find which style you prefer to play
Most public golf courses will host golf leagues that you can join to play for fun or competitively. Joining local golf leagues will be a reduced price for golfers who want to play once a week.
- Normal golf leagues run around $300-350 for a season (16 weeks)
- A regular round once a week for 16 weeks at $30 a round would be $480!
If you are serious about wanting to play more during the golf season, I would highly recommend joining a local league to generate savings and to get more playing time! Click here to learn more information on how you can enter a golf league.
Country Clubs are another style of golf course that is private to the public and known for their superb course designs, maintenance and club amenities (pool, tennis, banquet halls)
Like public courses, country clubs vary in price depending on location and quality but often have a lot higher standards and initiation fees. Initiation fees range from $500 to 450,000! (read more about the most prestigious country clubs in the world)
The average cost of a country club is around $6,240 annually or $520 a month. These monthly fees usually include unlimited driving range and playing privileges along with access to many of the amenities the club has to offer. Some country clubs provide golf only memberships, which are less expensive if you are looking for access to a high-quality course without having to deal with public golfers.
Country clubs are a great option if you have the time and finances to play consistently each year.
Let’s pretend that you play golf at a mid-level quality, of course, four times a week for $45 a round. Now let ‘s say you play for 36 out of the 52 weeks in a year. You’re spending a total of $6,480 a year on golf! (higher than the average country club fee of $6,240 ) Wouldn’t it be more beneficial if you used that money for access to a high-quality course for the same price you are currently spending?
Country clubs are a lot more affordable these days than they used to be! So be sure to look up prices at your local country clubs and see if they have any affordable packages you may be interested in!
These courses offer both country club memberships and public play. Typically, these courses have lower initiation fees and membership fees because they will be sharing the course with the public. I worked at a semi-private course down in Florida when I was younger, and we offered both memberships and public tee times. It was a higher quality course but was located in a less populated area, so the course needed revenue from both the surrounding housing units and the public.
- The price was $4000 a year to be a member (not including trail fees if you owned a cart)
- Our public rates were $45 for 18 holes with a cart.
If you played only three times a week at $45 for 36 weeks, you would have spent $4,860. Again, this amount is over the membership fee. The course offered UNLIMITED golf for $4000 at a higher quality course!
The point of this example is to show that golf can be more affordable than you think depending on how often you want to play and the quality, of course, you want to play at. Keep all of this in mind if you love golf and want to get the most bang for your buck!
Which type, of course, do you want to play at?
It’s up to you if you want to try a private country club, semi-private or public style golf course. Take into consideration what you are looking for in a golf course. Are you playing just for fun? Or are you looking for a memorable golf experience?
Prices do vary between them:
- If you are looking for the most affordability starting at a lower price, start with at a medium to lower quality golf course.
- If you are looking for tournaments or fun golf vacations, try a high-quality public course.
- If you have the time and upfront finances, try a private or semi-private course where you’ll have access to a higher quality course for less money.
A new trend of golf that is becoming more popular, golf simulators allow people to play golf indoors using sensors and sound to track your shots. Over the past few years, simulators have much improved in quality and accuracy. Many businesses such as XGolf, Topgolf or Golftec use simulators for golf lessons, recreational activities, and practice sessions.
The average cost to rent a simulator for an hour at one of these establishments is around $35 an hour. You can choose to play a real-life course from a list of famous courses or practice on a driving range. The realistic graphics allow you to replicate playing on a real course and offer fun, yet challenging options you can choose from to customize your playing experience.
On your Own:
You can also choose to purchase a simulator at very affordable costs if you have enough room in a basement or garage to allow for full swings. For example, Optishot 2 you can purchase for less than the price of a new driver and will grant you the benefits of playing golf in your own home! Check out my recommended products page here for a full list of golf equipment you can use in the comfort of your own home! Top simulator brands may cost over $10,000 to purchase but often have superior graphics and extremely accurate sensors for more serious golfers.
Simulators also allow you to observe your club head speed, club face angle, swing path and many other metrics that are beneficial for practice and improvement. Taking a lesson using a simulator can often be more educational than going to a driving range as you can visually see the cause and effects of different swings in the numbers. To learn more about golf lessons, click here to view my full post on all the benefits!
How Much Does Everything Else Cost
We’ve covered all of the different types of courses and how much their green’s fees or memberships generally cost. We also discussed the popularity of simulators and the benefits of renting, practicing or purchasing your own. But how much does playing the sport cost you?
For this, we have to look into a lot of factors such as:
- Golf Clubs
- Golf Balls
- Golf Accessories
- Golf Apparel
- Golf Lessons
Feel free to take a look at my products page here where I give you my recommended golfing essentials for all of the options listed below!
The average price for a decent set of golf clubs for beginners ranges between $200 and $500.
A beginner set usually includes:
- 3 and 5 Woods
- 4-Pitching wedge irons
- Sand wedge
Top-notch club companies like Titleist and Ping sell iron sets for over $1000, which are designed for more advanced golfers. Stores like Dicks Sporting Goods, Golf Galaxy, or your local pro shop may have great deals on beginning clubs that you can look into purchasing. You can also check out my recommendation here for very affordable beginning golf sets for both men and women. This set comes with all of the essentials to start playing and comes a golf stand bag!
We obviously need golf balls to play the game. Did you know that finding the right golf ball will help eliminate extra spin on your shots and will help with accuracy and distance?!
There are essentials that you will need when on the course besides a ball and a club
- Golf Bag– We need to have a golf bag to hold all of your accessories around the course. They usually cost around $100
- Golf Tees– You’re going to need tees to use for your driver and other clubs off the tee box. You can choose between either Rubber tees (harder to break) or Wooden tees (cheaper but break easily) Tees also come in different sizes from extra long to short tees for irons. The average cost of tees is around $5-10 depending on which size bag you purchase.
- Golf Gloves- For added grip and to avoid blisters, golf gloves are usually worn on the non- dominant hand. There are many different brands you can choose from, and prices are around $15 a glove. Make sure to find out which glove size you are before your purchase! Your glove should be tight but not uncomfortable.
- Rain Gear- Unfortunately, it does rain on the golf course so having a towel, umbrella and rain suit for golf will help keep you dry. To learn about how to make adjustments to your game when the weather goes south, click here to read my full article
The golf items mentioned above are essential when playing out on the course. But, feel free to look into other golf accessories such as ball cleaners, ball retrievers or protective head covers
- Golf Clothes: Depending on which brand most golf shirts and pants you can purchase for around $25 -45 a piece You can check out stores like Nike and Under Armour to find more trendy but higher priced clothing.
- Golf shoes: can also be found at sports stores, pro shops or online stores. They usually run around $75 for a decent pair. You can choose between spiked shoes or spikeless golf shoes. Golf spikes are nice to have when out on the course as they assist with traction during your swing but will need to be replaced twice per season on average. There are also many different golf spike options for each shoe brand. For more information, click here to read all about replacing golf spikes and purchasing the right golf shoes!
- Golf Hats are also widely used on and off the golf course. Hats help protect your face from the sun and help with your visibility out on the course.
Check local pro shops for apparel deals!
The last possible expense for a golfer is to take golf lessons from your local PGA professional. Lessons range between $20-$100 an hour with the average being $40 charged by your local golf pro.
Golf lessons are an excellent option for beginning golfers to become comfortable with the game and to learn about the sport. Take a quick read here where I go over all of the benefits and questions you may have about starting golf lessons.
To show you a general cost of everything you need, I’m going to give you the example of our beginning golfer, Dave. Dave has played golf only once in a scramble a few years back. He doesn’t have any equipment of his own, but he loves the game and wants to get started….
- Beginning Club Set: $200
- Bag: $80
- Golf Balls: $50 (2 dozen)
- Golf Tees: $10
- Golf Glove: $15
- Rain Suit: $50
- Golf Towel: $10
- Golf Shirt: $75 (3 shirts)
- Golf Shoes: $65
- Golf Hat: $25
- Lessons: $150 (5 lessons)
- Golf League: $270 (16 weeks)
Now, this may seem expensive for Dave…. However, all of these items can be used for years! Other sports, such as hockey, may run you thousands per year to play, not including equipment! Paying only, $1000, Dave will be fully prepared for the golf course and be able to enjoy his rounds knowing that his money was used as an “investment” to have the best golf playing experience possible.
The price of a round of golf is based on the quality of the course and the location you are playing in so do your research before booking. All of the costs mentioned in this article are rough estimates based on my exposure to golf for over the last 20 years. To take full advantage of potential savings, look for deals booking tee times, joining golf leagues or joining golf memberships to make the game a lot more affordable.
- To find affordable golf equipment, use my recommend products page here to get great deals and savings on a lot of the golfing accessories mentioned in this post
- If you want a great resource to go over everything you need to know “before” your round, click here to view my golfing survival guide for beginning golfers!