People frequently assert that in order to play golf, you must spend a lot of money. While it is certainly possible to spend a lot of money playing golf, you can be an avid golfer for a relatively small price tag. Let me explain.

Things I don’t spend any money on:

  • Golf clubs: I got my clubs over 8 years ago as a gift. So for the last 8 years I have spent $0 on new clubs.
  • Balls & tees: Between finding balls while playing (most rounds I finish net positive balls found vs lost), free or super inexpensive tees, and my long lasting golf bag, I have spent $0 on any such accessories in the past 8 years.
  • Golf cart: I enjoy golf much more when walking. If you’re going to be outside for 5 hours, you might as well get a little exercise. Plus, it saves what is usually a $20 fee to ride the golf cart.
  • Food: Golf course food tends to be decent, but nothing wrong with packing yourself a PB&J for lunch.

Things I do spend money on:

  • Greens fees: Hard to avoid this one. But great local courses, such as my home course Sterling Farms, cost under $30 for 18 holes.
  • Shoes: I buy one pair every few years, in the $50-100 range.
  • Gloves: A 3-pack from Costco is good for the season and costs about $20

And that’s it. The cost of shoes and gloves gets averaged out, meaning I pay about $30 for 5+ hours of quality, wholesome entertainment. Compare that to hour-long activities like going to the movies or bowling, and a round of golf starts to seem like a bargain.

Sterling Farms Golf Course
Sterling Farms Golf Course (pictured above) costs $28 to play, and is a gorgeous, fun, and challenging golf course that I love playing.

Granted, golf can be very expensive. Some courses charge $500 per tee time. But there are lots of interesting, picturesque, and fun courses around in the $20-$40 range. I guarantee you can find one in your area.

When first taking up the sport, there are certainly some fixed costs, such as clubs, balls, and lessons. Here are some tips to help curb these initial expenses:

  • Buy a full knock-off set at Costco. You will get a bag, putter, driver, and full set of irons and wedges for $100-200. Alternatively, a used set that is a year or two old can be super cheap.
  • Ask a buddy for some old balls to use. Most longtime golfers (myself included) have literally hundreds of balls lying around. We’d be happy to hand some over.
  • Skip the golf shoes. Unless it’s raining, it really doesn’t matter - especially as a beginner. If you insist, save money by replacing the spikes when the shoes get worn out (instead of buying a new pair).
  • If physically able, always walk
  • Look for twilight rates - it’s a beautiful time of day to be outdoors, and you can get some big discounts
  • Investing in lessons can be valuable, but first I’d recommend checking out some of the many great resources available online. If you study up on your own first, you’ll get much better bang for your buck from a lesson or two with a good teacher.

Hopefully this post gives at least one person the impetus to take up golf. Or at least helps debunk the myth that golf is only for the wealthy.