With cost-of-living escalating, we’re all looking for ways to economise. Small savings in multiple areas of life will add up and could make the difference. Golf is not the cheapest hobby out there but going without the physical and social stimulation golf delivers could take a toll on mental health and that could do more harm than good in the long run. We think it's important to keep playing golf, but it is possible to find ways to save money on the sport you love. Here we highlight 10 tips on how to save money on golf.
Many clubs have started to offer flexible club memberships where you pay a smaller annual fee and then buy credits depending on how much you intend to play. If you choose to play at less popular times, then those credits can get you a decent number of games. With flexible membership, you have far more control over how much you spend on playing your golf at your club.
CHEAP GREEN FEES / TWILIGHT RATES
We all like to get out and play other courses from time to time too. But, like almost everything, the price of green fees has been rising in recent years. Most clubs though will offer discounted rates at certain times, particularly at the end of the day. If you’re travelling for a round away or on a tour with pals, look to those twilight rates for the best deals. You’ll be surprised how much you can save.
PLAY MORE OPENS
Another great way to play away for a greatly reduced rate is to enter club opens. You don’t necessarily need to enter the club’s 36-hole scratch strokeplay either. Plenty of clubs offer Stableford Opens, Senior Opens or group competition, like Texas Scramble Opens. Search around the clubs in your local area or check out Golf Empire and you’ll find plenty of chances to enter open competitions and to play other courses at a far lower rate.
OR CLUB MATCHES…
Your club will probably play a series of matches each year against other clubs in the vicinity, maybe even further afield. Often these matches are actually under-subscribed as people assume they’re a closed shop. Check out the options at your club – You might be able to play some away matches for a nominal fee, even for nothing depending on the reciprocal arrangements... you may even get a free lunch.
This follows through most aspects of life. Petrol costs are astronomical and one of the biggest regular expenses for many of us. If you’re going to the same place as someone, why would you both drive? If you’re playing with someone at the club who lives nearby, arrange to share the load of driving. If you’re travelling further afield for a match or an open (as mentioned above), plan your trip with others and save money.
CLEAN YOUR GRIPS
Your golf grips have lost that lovely tacky feeling and you think it’s time to have them changed – probably costing somewhere near £10 per grip… For 14 clubs (if you include your putter too)… that could be £140 plus. Before you do that – try giving your grips a good clean. Fill a bucket with hot water and washing-up liquid and find a decent scrubbing brush or cloth. You’ll be amazed how the grips change and you might find they’ve actually got plenty of life left in them.
MOVE AWAY FROM PREMIUM BALLS
Do you really need to play the ball that Rory McIlroy or Justin Thomas uses? Yes, you always have done but premium balls are £45 per dozen at best, and you can get something really rather good for half that price. If you look at some of the best value golf balls out there and find something that suits your game, you could save a packet over the course of the season at no impact to your scoring.
AND DON’T SWAP THEM SO OFTEN
How much does it really matter if the ball has the smallest scuff mark or if the brand name is faded slightly? At the very highest levels of performance – the top players change their ball every few holes. But that’s because they’re playing for millions of dollars, and are at the very pinnacle of the game. The difference a new ball will make to your game over one that has played a round or two is really minimal… Keep playing with them until they’re totally worn out – then stick them in the practice bag.
TAKE A WATER BOTTLE
If you play twice a week and buy a bottle of something in the pro-shop every time before you go out, you’ll be spending something around £200 per year on liquids. But a decent water bottle and fill it from the tap instead… Easy saving.
LOOK AFTER YOUR GOLF SHOES
A decent pair of golf shoes will cost £150 or more. If you treat them badly – chucking them in the locker or car boot when covered in grass and slightly soggy – they won’t last as long. Give them a clean, apply some protective spray or polish, make sure they dry out properly… Show your shoes some love and they’ll last a good deal longer so you won’t be forking out for a new pair as regularly.
Fergus is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and it was concentrated by his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin (also of Golf Monthly)... Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?