What keeps people from playing golf? One of the biggest reasons is due to the high cost of playing the game. Let’s break it down: First you have to buy a set of clubs (on average $500-$2500), the accessories ($20-$50), range balls to sharpen your game ($7-$10), and once you’re ready to play, pay the course green fee ($30-$100). With these costs in mind, golf is generally more expensive than many sports because it’s hard to play or practice without incurring per-basis costs that you wouldn’t otherwise face in a sport like basketball, for example.
So how can you reduce the price of playing golf? I’ve come up with a list of three tips on how you can do this and therefore make golf feel more like a hobby and less like a long-term investment.
Tip #1: Register for a San Francisco residents card
If you are a Bay Area resident, a great way to lower the cost of green fees at certain courses is to register for a San Francisco resident card. For example, TPC harding park, one of the premier courses in the Bay Area and the host course for the 2020 PGA championship, recognizes the card. As a result, they reduces their green fees by as much as $100 for cardholders compared to the regular rates. Yes, you read correctly, $100!
All you need to do is register online or in person with a valid I.D. and proof of residency, pay a registration fee of $100, and the exclusive membership card is yours for two years until it has to be renewed. Find out more about how to apply for the resident card at the San Francisco Parks and Recreation site here.
Tip #2: Youth on Course Membership
Youth on Course is a program that gives junior golfers access to play over 650 courses nationwide for $5 or less. When I was a junior golfer, I was a member of Youth on Course and highly recommend the organization. It offers children and young adults the opportunity to start or continue playing golf without having to join a country club or maintain a part-time job to pay course fees. The eligible courses are not your everyday, average courses either. Most are top of the line courses like Poppy Hills in Monterey, which is featured as one of America’s top public golf courses in Golf Digest. Simply apply and register on the Youth on Course site, pass an etiquette exam, pay a small initiation fee, and your membership card will be sent to you within six weeks. If you’re a junior golfer or a parent with youth that golf, make the smart move and save money with Youth on Course!
Tip #3: Make Twilight tee times
If you’re new to golf, you may not have noticed the different green fees that apply at courses throughout the day. There is usually a regular course rate which occurs from 7 AM - 1 PM, a twilight rate from 2-3 PM, and a super twilight rate from 4-5 PM. Of course, these times are pushed back when daylight savings is in effect and vice versa. Since a round of golf takes about 4.5 hours to complete, the beginning of the day is typically the most popular time to play and thus, more expensive green fees apply. Twilight and super twilight rates are less expensive because of the limited available daylight at the later tee times.
Save money while playing golf is by making your tee times at twilight and super twilight times, especially during daylight savings season. In my experience, I’ve found that starting at later times during this part of the year doesn’t affect my ability to finish the round because of the abundant amount of sunlight into the evening. By starting later, not only will you feel great saving a few extra dollars, but you will also enjoy ending your round amidst a beautiful sunset.
There you have it - three easy ways to make golf more affordable so you can play more often and further develop your skills. Who said golf was a “wealthy” man’s game only?
Golf Brand Manager
SF Bay Native, Experienced Golfer