It is a commonly held misconception that only those individuals that are blessed with a certain degree of personal wealth can enjoy the game of golf. Many people wrongly assume that golf can cost you a great deal of money to play, what with the sheer number of new clubs available each season, club joining and membership fees, clothing costs plus all assorted costs to do with the social side of being a club member.
Yet it is without doubt that you can play golf for only a relatively modest outlay, certainly when compared to the cost of many other sporting and non-sporting hobbies. Outlined below are our ten top tips for you to enjoy some fabulous rounds of golf, at some top courses near you, for a price you can afford.
1. As a beginner – buy a cheap starter half-set, second hand if need be.
The first thing you’ll need to begin playing golf cheaply is a set of clubs. There’s no need to rush out and spend £1,000 on a set you like the look of. Simply purchase a half-set, second hand if need bet, of beginner clubs. £100 or the equivalent is easily enough to get you a decent set of clubs to start playing the game with and developing your skills. Use eBay, your local press and local golf shops to see what deals and offers are available to get the most for your money.
2. Take some beginner lessons. It really is a sound investment.
The money you have saved not splashing out on an expensive set of clubs can be put then to much better use and that is grounding yourself in the basics of the game at the hands of a golf professional. I cannot stress enough how important a solid understanding of the basics of the game are. Your local professional will be able to give you some fantastic advice over a relatively short and inexpensive course of lessons that will serve you well for many, many years to come.
3. Enrol in your Driving Range’s Loyalty Scheme
While taking golf lessons, you’ll quickly realise that running through a bucket of balls at your local range can prove to be expensive. Many driving ranges now offer their own loyalty scheme or similar, where you can enrol and receive balls and other items from the club shop at reduced prices. If you are going to be at the range frequently honing your skills, then this is a good way to save on these expenses.
4. Play at your local Municipal Course (or similar)
Having honed your skills on the range, it is only natural you want to play on a real course. Well, rather than shell out £50 or more to tackle a local private course, why not look for a cheaper option? Municipal courses are fantastic for the beginner. Not only do they have less restrictions (you can wear the clothes of your choice and there are no handicap certificate limitations) but they are also much cheaper to play as they are often subsidised by the local authority.
A good tip here to save even more cash is to check whether your municipal has a practice area. If it does, then you can buy yourself 20-50 cheap balls and come here to practice your shot making skills for free, rather than heading to the range.
5. Upgrade your equipment when your game requires it, not because new clubs are out.
Every year now, golf manufacturers bring out a new set of clubs that are meant to be vastly superior to the previous years offering. While top professionals may be able to gauge and use the subtle differences between these clubs, the average novice player will likely not notice any improvement from their club from one year to the next.
Instead, only upgrade your equipment when your game tells you it is time to do so. If you are a beginner, your game has reached a plateau, and you need extra distance from the tee and more accurate approach shots, then trade in your current cheap full or half set against a better set. Again, there’s no need to buy new; trading in a ten-year-old set of clubs for a set that is two-years-old is still a massive upgrade, but is far less costly than buying a brand new set.
6. Use cheaper balls – only the low handicappers really require the very expensive ones.
As a beginner, one of the first things you’ll discover about golf is that you’ll lose balls and you’ll lose lots of them initially. If you are playing with the latest brand new set of ProV1x’s or similar, then at over £3 per ball, this can quickly add up to a significant outlay.
My advice is only use the top quality balls when your game is at a standard where you need them. The vast majority of amateur players won’t get any benefit from playing the most expensive balls as they lack the skills to use them most efficiently. A cheaper ball, that travels further is a much better option as they are a lot cheaper to replace and give amateur players extra yardage with their shots.
7. If your work has its own golf society then join it, if not, why not create one?
Bulk buying power is always a strong asset and in golf that is certainly true. If your place of work has a golf society, then join it. Often you can enjoy some fabulous days of golf at some outstanding locations at a fraction of the price you would pay visiting the course and paying green fees on the day. If where you work does not have a society, and there are people interested in golf, then why not see if they’d be interested in forming one? You would only need ten or so members to make yourself a viable society and eligible to take advantage of some great offers at courses near to you.
8. Re-use “broken” wooden tees.
Thriftiness on the course is always good and it is greener too. One of my big bugbears are golfers who use a driver to tee off and use a large wooden tee, only for it to snap as a result of the shot. Then at the next hole, they may use a 5-iron from the tee and they use a smaller wooden tee from their bag to tee off.
Why? If where the ball sits on the tee is not damaged, then you can easily re-use the wooden tee you use with your driver to play tee shots with irons, hybrids and even fairway woods. Provided the tee sticks into the ground and holds your ball in the right place for you to address it, it doesn’t matter whether the bottom of the tee in the ground is pristine or not.
9. Check out Twilight Tee Time offers during the summer months.
Once you have started to get a taste for the game and have played most of the municipal courses in your area, you may wish to start playing on a few more exclusive courses. During the summer months, you can save a vast amount of money by playing on courses that offer Twilight tickets.
These are tickets issued usually from mid-to-late afternoon onwards and allow non-member players to play the course when it is relatively quiet. They are ideal if you come in from work and want to dash off for 18-holes of golf during the summer months. You can often save more than 50% on green fees using a Twilight ticket, which makes more courses affordable for you to play.
10. Use 2-Fore-1 Vouchers or similar when playing more expensive qualifying courses
Another good scheme to reduce playing costs on courses is to purchase vouchers, such as GreenFree or 2-Fore-1 vouchers. These vouchers are eligible on certain stated courses and they offer reduced green fees of up to 50% for two players. For example, one of my local courses charges £35 for a round during the day meaning for me and my playing partner it is a total outlay of £70 to play. However if I use a 2-Fore-1 voucher, we only pay £17.50 each to play the course.
You do need to purchase your vouchers in advance but the more vouchers you purchase, then the cheaper they are individually. You can now also download vouchers as e-vouchers, meaning you no longer have to wait for delivery and can use them immediately. Remember, vouchers do expire 12-months from the date of purchase, so you would need to have used them before the expiry date.
All Images courtesy of Gorilla Golf Blog apart from Golf Tee Picture courtesy of golfclubmanagement.net and 2-Fore-1 Voucher