Is it because it’s an individual sport?
Is it because the sport has been around since the 1740s?
All of these questions you’re asking right now are 100% valid.
Why is golf expensive to play?
Golf is increasingly becoming more popular, and the increase in demand enables golf courses to charge more to play. Factor in the costs of maintaining a course and paying the staff, you can see where the expenses go.
Is golf an expensive sport to play?
Relative to playing other sports, yes golf is an expensive sport to play.
While golf may appear to be “exclusive” to many people, it’s also known as the most inclusive sport, given that children age 2 can tee it up all the way in the age range of 80-90.
The golf swing is not very taxing for non-professional golfers.
Throw in the ability to drive a cart around the course; anyone can see why playing golf can last a lifetime.
The game has grown exponentially since Tiger came onto the scene in 1997 when he won The Masters.
And as with most things that become more popular, comes the demand for forking out more cash if you want to be involved.
Ok, that’s enough history for one day.
Let’s get to why golf is considered “expensive” for the general population.
Why are green fees so expensive?
Green fees are expensive because maintaining a golf course costs a substantial amount of money.
When you factor in water usage, staff salaries, and equipment maintenance, it really adds up.
The word “expensive” is a relative term, however.
Seeing how much it costs to play 18 holes of golf may not appear high to some.
How much does it cost to play 18 holes of golf?
According to the National Golf Foundation, the average cost to play a round of golf in the United States is $61 (source: Golf News Net).
The average cost for playing a round of 18-hole golf at a public course is $49, including renting a golf cart for the round. If you choose not to rent a cart, the price will be around $10-$15 less.
On the surface, this may not seem like a ton, given that the time to play a round of golf is several hours, but if you play 5-6 times a month, this adds up to a small car payment.
Do both golfers have to pay a cart fee?
Most golf courses charge a flat rate once a cart has been rented. Whether one golfer is riding or two, each will pay the determined cart fee.
What is the most expensive golf membership?
According to an article by Golf News Net, as of April 2023, the most expensive golf club membership in the world is reportedly at the Madison Club in La Quinta, California, with an initiation fee of $3 million!
That doesn’t even include the monthly membership fees…yikes.
So yea, not going to be playing the Madison Club anytime soon.
To answer the question of “why is golf expensive to play,” the thing most people may think of the least are the costs of maintaining the golf course.
How much does it cost to maintain a golf course?
One of the primary reasons golf incurs a higher cost is the maintenance of golf courses.
Maintaining a golf course is a costly affair involving a significant amount of land and the use of chemicals and water. Additionally, hiring staff members to maintain the greens and fairways adds to the overall expenses.
The 5 main expenses of running a golf course are:
- Head golf professional salary
- Greenskeeper and grounds crew salaries
- Water usage
- Equipment costs
- Clubhouse and amenities
Golf pro salaries
The total costs of paying a head golf pro, greenskeeper, and grounds crew can easily total $150,000 to $200,000 just for public courses.
Country club salaries are obviously much higher.
Water usage and equipment costs
While this number seems a bit too high for me, according to a 2022 fact sheet by the United States Golf Association (USGA), golf courses in the U.S. use an estimated 2.08 billion gallons of water per day for irrigation, which equates to an annual water bill of approximately $1 billion.
Golf Course Industry reports that maintaining mowers for golf courses can cost $2,000 to $10,000 per machine per year, depending on factors like course size and mower type. The price of a new mower can range from a few thousand dollars to over $100,000.
Clubhouses and amenities
Golf clubhouses are usually quite large because not only do most house the pro shop and apparel, but they also have restaurants and dining spaces.
Country clubs go even further by having tennis courts and swimming pools.
You can imagine the upkeep alone on these tallies up quite large.
Why are golf clubs so expensive?
Investing in golf equipment is really where the wallet starts taking the hits. A good set of golf clubs can set you back anywhere from $800 to $2,500.
Several factors contribute to the high cost of golf clubs, including:
- The use of high-quality materials like titanium, carbon fiber, and advanced alloys.
- Heavy investment in research and development to produce more forgiving, accurate, and longer clubs.
- Customization options for golfers seeking clubs that fit their swing and playing style.
- Significant spending on branding and marketing to create a sense of quality and exclusivity.
- Markups by specialty retailers and pro shops due to distribution and retail expenses.
Regarding accessories, tack on golf balls, tees, towel, glove, and a golf bag; these average out to around $350 to $400.
Most golf courses have dress codes as well.
Clothes for golf
The standard apparel for golfing is polo shirts and NOT wearing denim.
No fun, I know, but that’s how it is.
Nicer golf polos are usually very breathable, and if you play in the south as I do, you will appreciate spending up on golf apparel.
Why are golf lessons so expensive?
What if you’re new to golf and need lessons?
It may be less shocking to know that golf lessons are expensive, but here is a quick breakdown of why that is:
Professional golf instructors are experts who have undergone rigorous training to refine their skills over the years. They possess an in-depth understanding of the game and offer customized guidance to help golfers enhance their abilities.
It’s worth noting that their proficiency comes at a price, as instructors typically charge a premium for their services.
Time and resources
If you want to improve your golf skills, taking lessons can be significant.
However, it’s important to remember that golf instructors need to spend a lot of time working with each student to understand their strengths and weaknesses and create personalized instruction plans.
This can be time-consuming and require additional resources like video analysis software and training aids, which can increase the overall cost of golf lessons.
Golf on demand
Golf coaching is a highly sought-after service, with enthusiasts willing to pay premium rates for top-quality instruction. The competitive nature of the industry often leads to inflated prices, especially at prestigious golf courses or with established coaches known for producing exceptional golfers.
Although golf can be expensive, there are ways to make it more budget-friendly.
For example, you can purchase second-hand equipment or play on public courses.
How to play golf cheap
Where to find cheap golf clubs
- Facebook Groups
First, we recommend starting with a set of used golf clubs.
This can save you significant money compared to purchasing a brand-new set. Many local golf stores and online platforms sell high-quality pre-owned clubs at a fraction of the cost of new ones.
We got you covered if you don’t have any decent golf stores where you live.
Our first recommendation is eBay.
eBay has been around forever and is notorious in the golf community as the best place to find cheap golf clubs.
It’s super easy to filter your budget to the set you want while selecting the type of shafts you need.
Tip: If you are starting out, make sure you don’t get X-stiff shafts because these are typically more difficult to hit for newer golfers.
Try and get regular flex graphite shafts if you have a slower swing speed.
We saved the best for last…
Our other recommendation for finding great deals on golf clubs is Facebook Groups.
Just pull up Facebook, go to Groups, and search “golf clubs for sale.”
You will see many golf groups, so join 2-3 of them and create a new post saying you are new to golf and looking for a set of clubs.
You can even scroll down and see all the more recent posts of people listing their clubs for sale too.
Sometimes you will get a brand new set at a nice discount because someone will often only play 2-3 rounds and decide their clubs are not for them.
Play golf at public courses
The three main types of golf courses are country club courses, private courses, and public courses.
By far, the best way to save money is to steer clear of country clubs and private courses and opt to play public courses.
County clubs and private courses will usually be in better shape than public courses, but the goal here is to find ways to save money playing golf.
How can I save money on green fees?
Now that we know WHERE to play let’s focus on HOW to save money by playing golf on a budget.
Almost every course offers special rates called “twilight fees.”
A twilight fee is a discounted rate that occurs closer to sunset, typically with 2-4 hours of daylight left in the day.
Tip: Be sure to take advantage of twilight fees during weekdays because most courses don’t offer twilight rates on the weekends.
Another option is visiting GolfNow.com, where you can find same-day or next-day deals on discounted tee times for specific time blocks your desired course is willing to knock down at the standard rate.
Why is golf considered a rich sport?
Well, given that we’ve already established “why golf is expensive,” it only makes sense that rich people tend to flock toward the sport.
Country clubs get a lot of play because rich people buy homes that are right off the golf course, so it makes for an easy commute to pick up playing golf.
It’s notorious for being a “place of business” by many CEOs and salespeople that favor networking on the course.
Why Do CEOs Like Golf?
Golf has long been a favored sport among CEOs and business executives. One major reason for this affinity is the networking opportunities that golf presents.
According to Forbes, 90% of Fortune 500 CEOs play golf, and 80% of executives say golf enables them to establish new business relationships.
Golf is a leisurely sport, allowing plenty of time to foster connections and engage in meaningful conversations. The game’s pace sets the stage for relaxed discussions, often resulting in stronger professional bonds.
Why is golf so expensive comes down to popularity of the game and course maintenance. We hope you take note of how playing on a budget can open a few doors to you playing for for cheaper.
Follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/wolfitgolf and let me know how you save money playing golf.