There is a lot of money to be made from golf, and it’s a game you can play forever.
But here are some ways that you can save money on local golf.
1. Sign up for the GolfNow Exchange. This is a fantastic service that allows you to buy discounted tee time at courses across the country (it’s available to Silver Members only).
2. Use discounts like “two-for-one Mondays” or coupons at local clubs (which almost always require membership).
3. Take advantage of the Free Golf Pass program offered by most clubs.
4. You can use an online service like GolfNow, but there are many local services too (such as The Local Course).
5. Don’t buy a new set of clubs every year by going to the same store each time (unless it’s a big name club). Instead go to Amazon.com or Dick’s Sporting Goods and buy used clubs for good deals (and check out our blog about how to find used clubs for sale).
There are very few things that golfers like more than money. But for those of us who play for free, the problem is that it’s not easy to find a good cause and still be self-supporting, especially when you are in your 60s. So I started Admiral Baker Golf Course in 2000, with the idea that all proceeds would go to charity.
Admiral Baker Golf Course is named after my grandfather who was also retired naval officer. He died at age 76 in 1985, and they buried him with full honors at Arlington National Cemetery. My mom was an army wife, who was much more of a golfer than I am, so she had a lot of experience with the military funeral process.
The military funeral process is very expensive and can be very stressful on the family members. We wanted to make sure the families could take some of the stress out of their lives by donating to a good cause.
We have raised over $250,000 for charities that include:
– Our local food bank – The local Red Cross – The local VA hospital – The local Masonic Hospital – The local Humane Society – The local fire department – and many others
Perhaps, but it’s not clear that saving money on golf is something you need to do. After all, pretty much everyone who plays golf loves it and spends money on it, so why should you be any different?
If you’re a golf addict like most people, there are two good reasons for not cutting back. One is that golf is so expensive in rich countries that it would be difficult to save enough to play golf without hurting yourself financially. The other is that if you cut back on your golfing, there’s no guarantee you’ll stop playing…
So save up instead. “Save” as in spend less on games than you could on other things. Save as in spend more on games than… well, spend less than you could on other things.
Save as in buy an expensive new set of clubs with a better grip, because the old one was kind of lame and cost too much. Save as in get the best possible practice balls, so the next time you hit them off the tee they will go straight down the middle of the fairway and you’ll have a chance at birdie. Save as in book tee times with your favorite course and get a discount if you can’t make it or cancel if you do. Save as in stay up
A golf course is like a city. If you want to know how much people are spending on golf, there’s no better place to find out than at the course itself. The course will report the number of rounds played and the number of times people paid for play, and everything else you’d need to know in order to figure out the cost per round, or per capita.
There are a handful of ways to get that data: by asking the course directly, or by looking into its accounts. But there is a better way: dump all this information into a spreadsheet program and let Excel do the work.
These days, most courses keep records online. Enter your address and it’ll tell you how many rounds have been played at your address since it opened. Some also have web-based player databases, which are very useful because they allow you to sort players by their performance over time (high handicap, low handicap), and by other characteristics such as age and gender. It’s not quite as good as having them in Excel, but it’s close if you’re interested in just one player profile.
A few years ago, I thought I might be able to save on golf by playing with a partner and not paying greens fees. That sounded like a good idea. But I was still borrowing money, and then I was paying interest. So I decided to play with a partner on the same course that was heavily discounted.
The result was a lot of golf, but after my first round, I realized that while my score might be impressive, it wasn’t as cheap as I’d thought. I had paid $30 for every round we played, and every time we played at a course where the green fees were lower than what we’d been paying for ours, our total cost came to about $250 ($30 * 20 rounds). The deal was so good that when it came time to pay up, we couldn’t beat it. If you’re thinking about asking your friends to join you in this kind of arrangement, think again: In the long run you’ll probably end up spending more money.
The golf course I play is in the middle of nowhere. It’s a beautiful course, but as you drive up you have to wait for a mile or so for the next tee. The fairways are narrow and tartan-covered, and there are no houses on the course. So there aren’t any people walking all over your shots, yelling at you to pick up your trash or clean up after yourself. However, there is a very nice clubhouse with showers and a snack bar. And it costs $36 to play 18 holes.
I pay that because I’m an idiot. If I had known how much it would cost me, I would have paid $20.
It’s easy to imagine that golf was invented by some super-rich guy who goes into business when he’s a kid and buys a course. But in fact golf as we know it was invented by a poor man who was happy with the game but wanted to make money—and so responded to the challenge of making more of it.
When you go out on the course, you’re not just playing golf: you are paying to play a game. Both you and the professional take your turn (as do the caddies, if they’re out there). It’s like going to work, except instead of money, you get paid in stuff. The way you make more of the stuff is to win more often. And if you win more often, then you have more chances to collect your winnings and make more money. So think about what works for both sides: bonuses.