The Cost Of Golf Is Rising!

Golf is a luxury sport (some would suggest a necessity) that has the potential to be very expensive. By the time someone buys all the equipment and takes lessons, the bill can become quite high. There are cheaper ways to get into golf, but the reality is that the expense can be daunting for many people. Additionally, the cost of playing golf is not going to drop anytime soon. In fact, the cost of golf (like everything else in our lives) is increasing and soon might be a prohibitive factor for players trying to enter the sport or those already playing. This is a reality for many players regardless of where you live or like to play.

I ran poll recently and found that most golfers are still able to play their beloved sport despite of the rising costs. I am not really surprised with the results because people passionate about something will always find a way to participate and golf is no different. The challenge I identified about asking this vague question is the number of variables to ask a more specific question to zero in on a reason. However, I was directed into a specific direction that is becoming a detractor for playing more golf.

At first I thought that the price of equipment would be the primary factor for playing less or no golf. However, the respondents pointed me in another direction. Of the players who said that golf is starting to get expensive, the cost of travel was the limiting their play. They indicated that due to the rising cost of travelling to play golf they would be spending more time at their home course. The do feel that the value is there an as such have started to curtail their golfing experiences.

I understand this situation. Personally, I play 90% of my golf at my home golf course. I do enjoy playing 10 different courses during the year, but do not go out of my way to plan a specific, prolonged trip. It is something that I never have really thought to do. I do take advantage of playing different courses when I travel or in competitions like the Senior Men’s Ryder Cup, however to specifically plan a golfing vacation is not something I generally think about during any given golf season.

My current thinking is changing. There is one trip want to take and have talked about it for years. This trip is in Canada and I am still working out the details in my head. So, I am going to keep you in the dark a bit longer. When I finally decide to make the move to plan this trip, I will let you know.

The cost of golf is rising. The cost of travel is rising even more and is starting to be road block for some players. Limiting the number of away courses to play is likely to be more common place in the future. The real litmus test is the value of golf to the money that is paid. There is no correct answer to this situation because everyone has different stressors that they manage. Regardless, golf is becoming more expensive to play and I can see it pushing more players out of the sport.

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!


14 thoughts on “The Cost Of Golf Is Rising!

  1. I know your article is specific to the increasing cost of golf and I agree that this is a problem attracting new players. The biggest increase for me is just the required increase in membership costs. I have replaced all my clubs over the past year, well except my fav Titelist Wedges and my putter. My clubs were 6 old so to average the cost of the new clubs over 6 yrs, not a big cost. I use good golf balls but dont lose many so that is not a big expense. I dont travel much for golf. Tend to play a few courses that are just a few hrs away at most. So having said all that yes the cost of golf has risen and I suspect it will continue ti do so, fact of life. However, it is a game u can play for a more reasonable price if u just want to go and hit a ball around the course. Not everyone wants to play competitive golf ( at whatever level that may be) so u dont need top of the line equipment, you dont need to play ProV’s and you dont need to wear top of the line brand name clothing. Just my thoughts. Just to add, when I hear people say golf is too expensive for new players, I sat that the c omplaint I hear most is that it takes too much time and I believe that is a huge issue as we try to attract new people to the game we love so much. Perhaps an article for the future

    Liked by 1 person

    • Doug

      All great points. There are ways to save money when starting golf and it does take a bit of effort to change the thinking of many beginners. Most of what you talk about is value for their money. This is a personal view and only the individual can decide if golf is worth the money (and time). To start, I would suggest the costs for a non-established player like yourself could be more than many will want to fork over. Again, it is a personal call. As far as time, yes that too is challenge for many players, including myself. I do not enjoy spending 4.5 hrs or more on the course playing golf. That is why I play early in the morning. Ultimately, there are no barriers if someone really wants to play…..they will find a way.

      Cheers Jim


  2. Some of the increases we have seen in golf fees are due to the increase in demand for tee times over the last couple years. For most of the year, every tee time was booked at my home course. There was no need for specials that used to be offered to fill empty slots. After things return to some semblance of normal, that may change.

    The cost of equipment has gone crazy due to demand and marketing hype. I have a solution, use your current gear, there is no need to buy the latest new toy.

    I play about two thirds of my rounds at my home course. I like to play other courses including some upscale courses. Since I walk 90% of the time, that saves cart fees and gets me more exercise. I have probably gone to a few less of the expensive courses than in past years.

    As far as golf trips, the last two years have been limited due to pandemic restrictions. My two trips to North Bay including playing with Jim at Osprey Links were very reasonable as was my June trip to Kingston/Gananoque this year.

    In normal years, I go on one or two trips to Santee or Myrtle Beach. I also usually plan a trip to the Atlantic provinces almost every year. I don’t believe they will be much more expensive since I have local knowledge and all of these trips are drivable.

    Keeping an eye on costs is not a bad idea. Golf is one of my biggest expenses ( an understatement) because it fulfills many needs including exercise and challenge. If I have to, I will likely be more selective in my off site choices.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lorne

      Sounds like we are in the same boat. I try to stretch my dollar as far as possible to ensure I make the most out of my golf year. I do not think that prices will come down for awhile, if ever. I will continue to look for deals and opportunities to play great courses at an inexpensive price.

      Cheers Jim


  3. an interesting comparison is downhill skiing, its always been the same price as golf, the lift ticket and green fees are similar, equipment costs for both sports have gone through the roof in the last 2 years.
    but no ambulance rides from the golf course

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jim, very salient post. I just booked my February trip to Myrtle. The airfare had not increased nor had the golf package. The rental car costs are exorbitant because of the lingering chip shortage. At home, I’ve seen about a 25% rise in greens fees since Covid started. Definitely got to search for bargains out there.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s true that it is easy to pay more for golf today than in the past. But if you’re budget conscious and resourceful you can still find deals every week that keep prices pretty low. I really don’t think I’m paying more to play my away games today than I did 20 years ago and if so, the increase is far less than my increased grocery bill every month.

    And I actually pay less for golf balls today than in years past. Both because I lose less, and because I stopped buying “good” balls and play with some of the cheapest Wilson balls in the store which it turns out work as well as any ProV for me.

    As for equipment, last years model is likely as big an improvement over any 10 year old club as this years and 100 dollars cheaper. You simply don’t have to fall into the buy me trap created by advertising from the manufacturers.

    Of course it helps to live somewhere where golf facilities have to compete for our business. That does more to keep my costs down than anything. Of that I’m sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin

      The prices where you live are definitely cheaper than rural Canada. I agree that there might be a bit more value for the dollar in equipment and balls, but the cost of playing some top courses is a bit steep for me.

      Cheers Jim


      • Top courses have gone through the roof. The most I’ve ever paid to play Copperhead was 40 dollars. Today, if you’re walking on it’s $250 but you might cut that in half with a stay and play deal. But the majority of courses here haven’t had that kind of stratospheric increase.

        One other thing that’s important to mention is my costs to play a course haven’t risen as much because I play late. Early morning golfers have seen the brunt of green’s fee increases.

        Liked by 1 person

      • To be fair about Copperhead, it wasn’t used on the tour when I first played it. And it was a long time ago. It’s prices jumped when it became a tour destination and keep pace with other courses that can claim the same. It is not the same as any of the hundred other courses within an hours drive.

        Also golf is seasonal even here where we play year round. Season here means winter when our state is filled up with people from all across the north. Many courses have seen fit to provide full time residents with ways to play cheaper during season when rates go up because we keep them afloat during the hot months when half our population is back up north. Some are so honest about it, they post the rate as a residents rate. Others might send us emailed discount deals knowing we play there year round.

        It’s a different market and subject to different rules than most of the rest of the country.

        Liked by 1 person

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