Golf is historically one of the most expensive sports in the world…but why is golf so expensive? You might be quick to blame golf equipment, because that alone can cost tens of thousands of dollars. But in all fairness, it’s not only the equipment that makes golf so costly.
So, why is golf so expensive? Despite being a “singular sport”, golf is a very social game that comes with added expenses:
- Course/green fees
- Membership fees
- Driving range fees
- Cost of lessons
- Cost of attire and footwear
- Bar tabs
Golf is a sport that is loved by many, and played by people of all ages, but it is definitely expensive. Let’s dig deeper into the various aspects that cause golf to be so expensive.
Course and Membership Fees
Where you play is a big factor of the cost. There are both public golf courses and private golf courses. To play 18 holes of golf at a public golf course you are looking at any average cost of $30-$180. This varies due to the course itself. If the course is newer and in a more expensive part of town, you are most likely going to be paying on the higher end.
Time of week also is a huge factor in the price as well. If you are playing in the middle of the day on a weekday, you will probably be paying less than if you were trying to play on a Saturday or Sunday morning.
According to a survey done by the Golf Channel, the average cost of a golf cart at a public golf course is about $36.
If you are planning to play golf at a specific course quite frequently, then you may want to look into getting a membership. The average membership will cost anywhere from $1,000-$5,000 annually, depending on the location and quality of the course itself.
The average membership includes more than just unlimited access to the course. Most also include other amenities such as access to swimming pools, dining facilities, and tennis courts.
Private golf courses are often at Country Clubs, and if you are wanting to join one of those clubs for the golf as well as the social aspect you can be looking at any annual fee of anywhere from $3,000-$100,000.
The main reason that course fees are so expensive is mainly due to the upkeep of the greens. Golf courses are typically kept in pristine shape, and with an 18-hole course that covers a few miles of cart paths, you can imagine how expensive that would be to keep in good shape.
The average cost of golf clubs ranges anywhere from $200-$600 depending on the brand. There are even higher end golf clubs that can cost anywhere from $800-$1,000. The reason that these are so expensive is due to the material that they are made out of, and how many pieces come in a set of golf clubs. The average golf set comes with 14 pieces consisting of: 6 Irons, 3 Wedges, 2 Woods, 1 Putter, 1 Hybrid, and 1 Driver.
Many experts encourage that you also get your clubs fitted to you. This can be done at your local golf store around town, and can range anywhere from $30-$100 per club. Having your clubs fitted is said to drastically improve your form and ultimately your game in the long run.
Now, of course, a full set of golf clubs is not required in order to play so you can always buy one club at a time. Experts recommend at least starting out with a Driver, a Putter, and an Iron set which individually can be any where from $50-$60 a club depending on brand.
Once you have your clubs, it’s obviously essential that you buy some golf balls as well. Golf balls are typically sold by the dozen, and can range anywhere from $15-$50 per dozen.
Gloves are usually strongly encouraged in order to protect your hands from blisters. Golf gloves can range from $10-$50 depending on brand. Tees are another fee that you’ll run into as well but luckily, you can get these in bulk in most cases for under $30.
Of course, lessons are not required to get out there and play, however they are highly recommended. Since this sport is already expensive, you want to make sure to get your money’s worth by being the best player you can be. Lessons are typically costing anywhere from $25-$60 for a 30-45 minute private session, or about $75-$100 for an hour long private session.
If those lessons are not in your budget, there are often group sessions that you take part in as well. Those are going to be a little bit less expensive of course, but will still be helpful in gaining a better understanding of the game and the best techniques to use.
Rental Fees (If you don’t purchase equipment)
Now of course, if you are not looking to invest in equipment, you can always rent equipment. But, this adds up fast! With rental fees being anywhere from $30-50 per day, some argue that investing in your own equipment would actually save you money in the long run. It all depends on how often you see yourself playing!
Attire and Footwear
Most people wear polo shirts, shorts, and a hat to play. These can be items that you most likely already have at home. The shoes are going to be what you may need to purchase. Golf shoes typically have spikes that provide stability and balance while on the course. They are required at some of the more expensive courses, and can range anywhere from $30-$100 a pair depending on brand.
Let’s face it, a big aspect of the golf experience is grabbing a drink or two along the way. With average prices of drinks at golf courses ranging from $5-$10 for a beer, you can see how this would add up!
Ultimately the reason golf is so expensive is due to the cost of course and membership fees, equipment fees, rental fees, the cost of lessons, cost of attire and footwear, and bar fees as well. Although golf is a sport that will cost you a pretty penny, most deem it worth the cost since you can play golf at any age, and it allows you to enjoy some time outside with great company!