10 Tips To Save Money On Golf

by The Happy Rock on July 24, 2007

golf_kid_early1.jpgThis is a guest post by Double Eagle over at @ Life in the Rough. Life in the Rough is a golf blog. One of the best in my opinion. A good place to visit if you are looking to learn a few things about golf or drop a a few stokes off of your game. The golf tips are intermixed with his personal journey to fulfill a dream by becoming a golf professional. Double Eagle is very active in his comments section and enjoys answering his readers questions. Lend him some support by checking out his site.


When The Happy Rock put out the word that he needed some guest posters to take up the slack while he’s on vacation, I thought it would be a great opportunity to bring the world of golf over here.

As everyone knows, golf can be an expensive hobby (or lifestyle, in certain extreme cases). Not everyone infected with the golf bug has the benefit of wealth, so it’s good to find ways to help our money go further so we can keep playing the game, and more importantly, keep playing it at the frequency we would like.

Here are ten ways to save money on golf.

  1. Use knockoff clubs. These are the off-brand clubs that cost a fraction of their name-brand counterparts. Are these clubs as high quality as the name brands? Of course not. But, if you’re on a golf budget they’re more than capable as substitutes. This is especially true if you have a high handicap, where you’re not getting the much value out of the tour-quality clubs anyway (and in some cases they’re doing more harm than good to your game).
  2. Look for X-out balls. When golf balls are manufactured, they go through quality assurance inspections where balls with minor blemishes are removed from circulation. These balls are normally perfectly playable and the issues are strictly cosmetic. The good news is that manufacturers offer them at a discount to recover some cost, instead of putting them on the trash heap. A dozen Titleist Pro V1 balls costs around $45 new, but a dozen X-outs can be had for around $30.
  3. Along those lines, look for logo overruns. Often, companies, courses, individuals, and the like will order balls with custom logos or writing on them. Sometimes during the manufacturing process, they will print more than the customer ordered. These balls end up getting sold at a discount. They can be found at national retailers like Golfsmith. It seems like early in the season is the better time, but you can find them all year if you look hard enough.
  4. If you demand band new, look for the lower end ball selections. It’s tempting to play the balls that the pros do, but if your handicap is high, then play a ball that’s more appropriate. You probably don’t have the skill to take advantage of the sophisticated characteristics of the better balls and probably also tend to lose them at a high rate.
  5. If you play frequently, think about getting a membership at the course where you play. It’s hard to part with that lump of cash up front, but consider a lower-end public course where a membership might cost $1,000 but where it costs $30 per round to pay each time. You only need to play 34 times in a year to make the $1,000 worth while. Any more than that and you’re saving money.
  6. If you hit balls at the driving range frequently, check to see if they have a pre-paid range plan. My course offers a pre-paid plan at $400 per year. This sounds like a lot, but at $10 for a large basket, any more than 40 sessions and it pays for itself. That also sounds like a lot, but I go to the driving range at least 3 times per week in the spring, summer, and fall and any time the weather permits in the winter. Some ranges may not offer a standard plan but might be willing to negotiate something with you.
  7. Instead of buying the latest and greatest irons and drivers every year, stick with your old set and save the money for a series of lessons. You might think, “how does spending money on lessons save money?” Well, I see too many people chasing the next miracle club that promises to cure slices and every other golf malady. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case for most players. Spend the money on some lessons, fix your swing, and you can stop buying all the latest and greatest clubs. You’ll be happier and will spend less time drowning balls too (which adds to the savings).
  8. For a golf vacation on a budget, consider some of the big golf destinations like Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It’s no Pebble Beach or St. Andrews, but the area is saturated with a huge number of high-quality courses that you can play at rates that will surprise you. Because of all that competition, you’ll find that service is great and the course conditions are excellent. There are some stinkers out there, so do some research before hand. I went there in 2001 with three other players and we had a condo on a golf course for four nights and played rounds at two excellent courses and two average courses, all for $400 per player. If Myrtle Beach isn’t your style, you can find golf hot spots in Florida, Arizona, Nevada and in many other places in the U.S. (and in the world, for that matter…Scotland, here I come…)
  9. When planning a buddy trip, try and convince more people to go. It makes things a little more tricky to organize, but you can often times find discounts on packages with larger groups. And if thrift really drives you, you might be able to negotiate with one of the companies who sets up the package deals to include you at no cost if you agree to bring a certain number of players. Something like a buy 15, get one free deal.
  10. When your birthday approaches, check with your favorite courses to see if they offer birthday specials. Often, courses will offer a free round of golf on your birthday, sometimes with a window of seven days on either side. If you plan it right, you can go on a two-week golf binge at a bunch of courses right around your birthday, all for free.

These ten tips should help you save some serious cash without having to give up the game you love to play. Keep an eye out and there are even more cost savings to be had. Good luck and hit ’em straight.

-Double Eagle

Does the frugal community out there have any other tips to share?

If you enjoyed the guest post, please consider checking out Life In The Rough or subscribing to his feed.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Lava July 24, 2007 at 10:42 am

The carnival is up at http://la-va.blogspot.com/2007/07/carnival-of-twenty-something-finances.html so please remember to link back.


Oneunder July 25, 2007 at 12:46 pm

This is a terrific article. The only thing I might add is many course also offer “twilight ” rates for tee times after 3 or 4. Well worth considering. Playing in leagues can also result in lower green fees.


Double Eagle July 25, 2007 at 3:07 pm

Thanks, oneunder.

Twilight rates are another great way to save cash. The high-traffic times are when the highest rates are charged. Saturday and Sunday mornings are the highest, and fair-weather holidays are right in that ball park at some places. If you can find time to play in the evenings, especially during the week, a lot of money can be saved.

I have a bunch of others, but I wanted to keep the list to ten. Maybe next time HappyRock goes away, I’ll do a follow up.

-Double Eagle


GolfNow July 26, 2007 at 7:26 pm

Great list, I see you like a good golf deal! You might want to add another item (well, your next list, since it looks like you are making another), about booking tee times online or getting on mailing lists to save money. For example, you can save up to 50% off tee times at over 1,000 courses nationwide on GolfNow.com, or sign up for the Hot Deals email list and save up to 70% from email-only offers.


Golfer August 1, 2008 at 9:35 am

It’s so true that so many are chasing the solve-all-club rather than the solve-all-swing. My saving tip is to be better a finding balls than you are at hitting them. I’ve yet to play a round of golf and loose more balls than I find.


The Golf Ball Hawk August 2, 2008 at 8:10 am

Ah yes golfer, the lost art of ball hawking. As you say, a little better at finding lost golf balls. A long neglected way to save money on golf. Whatever you do though don’t hold up the group behind you using a rake in the water hazard.


Golfer August 4, 2008 at 8:35 am

Oh, forgot to say that you should play at times where there’s few other players on the course, or you could just walk the course, eh… looking for spots not to get your golf ball into…


J. Cavell September 29, 2008 at 3:59 pm

I liked this article because you covered a lot of ways to save on golf. I have also found an occational discount coupon in some local community newspapers. And don’t forget about the discount most courses offere for late afternoon tee times.


Golf Blogger December 16, 2008 at 9:08 am

First of all, that’s a great list. One very important thing is to use X-Out balls and play them till they explode or you can’t even put any more. I used to buy the most expensive balls till I recognized that I spent more money on balls than on clubs for one season. That’s not ok and since then I’m only using X-Out balls. If there’s an important tournament, I switch to new Pro V1 again and I’m surprised how much better they are. But that’s a very nice surprise 😉


tom February 3, 2009 at 4:22 pm

hi thanks for all the great golf trip tips.i just found this site and am an avid golfer.keep up the good work!


Leave a Comment

{ 6 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: