Golfing on a Budget

You’ve been hit by the recession but you still want to hit those balls. You don’t think you can swing your country club fees anymore, yet you still want to swing that iron. You've severed all links to your golf buddies because you lost your job but you still want to be out on the links.

Golfing on a budget is achievable; it just takes doing a bit of homework and some adjustments to what you are used to.

Forget country, go municipal

It is hard to undo the kind of leisure lifestyle we become accustomed to. The atmosphere in an exclusive country club where membership is required and pampering is readily available is often worth the extra fees every month. The additional cost of country club membership and rubbing elbows with a special group of privileged people, for many, is no longer a justifiable expense. If you find yourself having to give up your membership to these kinds of clubs, don't feel you also have to leave your favorite sport behind.

Municipal golf courses don't offer all of the extra amenties that come with club membership but they do provide you with an inexpensive place to play golf, practice and meet new people. Municipal course are open to the public and don’t charge hefty country club fees. If you live in a large city, chances are there is at least one or two public golf courses in your area.

For example, if you live in New York, one municipal golf course is the Spook Rock Municipal Golf course. According to Tom Robinson who is a contributing writer to TravelGolf .com, Spook Rock was cited by Golf Digest “as the 10th best public course in New York” and ranked 52nd as one of the most affordable golf courses in the country. Green fees are reasonable:

  • $18 for residents

  • $11.00 for seniors, and

  • $45 for non-residents

Chula Vista Municipal Golf Course in Bonita, California has tee time specials that go from $38.00 to $51.00 per player, depending on the day of the week.

Play during the week

Weekend fees are more expensive than Monday through Thursday fees, so if you’re not keen about crowded golf courses anyway, you can change your playing days to take advantage of slightly lower fees.

Play twilight golf

“Twilight” simply refers to the time of day you play golf. Generally, twilight rates, which start after 2:00 pm or 3:00 pm, are lower than morning rates. Courses lower the rates during these times to fill the course for 9-hole rounds or faster 18-hole players. Be aware that twilight weekday and twilight weekend rates are different.

Use coupons, discount cards and senior citizen rates

Courses are often sending out discount coupons or special deals for seniors during the spring and fall. With the economy where it is, we can expect these discounts to be made available during the peak summer months as well at some courses. You may also wish to ask the organizations you belong to (e.g. American Association of Retired Persons or American Automobile Association) if they give out special discounts for golf games.

Book online and in advance

Some golf courses have online specials and will offer you discounts if you book in advance, rather than last minute. Some golf courses will also extend a generous discount after you have booked five times. By signing up to receive their e-newsletter, you will have access to information on discounted fees and special promotions.

Used golf clubs and accessories

You could profit from huge savings if you purchased used golf clubs and accessories, especially if you’re relatively new at the game. Start with old clubs and master your strokes first before you go for top-of-the-line golf clubs. Most clubs have bulletin boards with postings from players who want to sell their old clubs. You can check your community centre and the classified ads of your local paper, as well as go into eBay or any online auction sites.

Work part-time at a golf club

Membership has its rewards, so the saying goes, but employment – even on a part-time basis – can save you precious dollars on course fees. You can work in a golf club as a grounds monitor or as an instructor, or even work in the pro shop in exchange for employee discounts.

~Ben Anton, 2009

Repower - Golfing on a Budget