Why Is Golf So Expensive vs Other Hobbies? Golf Coach’s Tips

Why Is Golf so Expensive vs Other Hobbies Including the Cost of Golf and Equipment

I’m the head golf instructor at Tell Me More Golf, and in this article, I will answer one of the most common questions about golf: Why is it so expensive

There are many reasons!

We’ll cover the different basic costs involved with the game of golf, including equipment, green fee, and membership costs. 

The Cost of Golf as a Hobby

Golf is in many ways, one of the most expensive hobbies out there, but the price of it depends on many factors. Here, you can read a simplified list of the different costs involved with golf:

  • Golf equipment; golf clubs, golf balls, and golf bags
  • Green fees and/or memberships 
  • Practice balls at the range
  • Golf lessons

How Much Is Golf Equipment?

There are three main types of golf equipment you need to play golf: golf clubs, golf balls, and a golf bag. The things we didn’t include aren’t necessary or come with negligible costs.

Cost of Golf Clubs

Golf clubs come in many price points, depending on brand, technology, and whether they’re new or not. A complete set of brand-new golf clubs from a popular brand such as TaylorMade will cost around $2000 or more. On the other hand, you can find used older clubs for only a few hundred dollars. 

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Cost of Golf Balls

The price of golf balls also varies greatly, but in general, a dozen golf balls cost between $20 and $60. You can also buy used balls for much cheaper, but they might not perform as well

Cost of a Golf Bag

Premium golf bags from popular brands usually cost between $200 and $300. However, they can be both much cheaper or pricier depending on brand and design. 

Why Equipment Costs Vary Significantly

The cost of golf equipment can vary quite a bit due to many factors, including brand, materials used, and how advanced the technology is. High-end golf clubs often feature expensive materials and innovative designs, while lower-priced options may have simpler designs and cheaper materials.

The prestige associated with certain brands can also drive up the cost of all types of golf equipment. For example, the majority of golfers prefer brand names like TaylorMade or Titleist golf equipment over budget alternatives. 

Green Fees and Memberships Costs

A typical green fee costs between $20 and $100, but sometimes way more, such as at Pebble Beach. Golf memberships have a very wide range regarding their price, with the average costs being between $1000 and $5000 per year.

However, some private clubs have initiation fees of hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

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The Price of Golf Lessons

The cost of golf lessons depends on the instructor’s experience and reputation, the golfing facility’s location and facilities, and the lessons’ duration and frequency. 

Private lessons with a very experienced instructor can be quite expensive at over $100 per hour, while group lessons or lessons with a less experienced instructor can be more affordable. Group lessons are a great way to learn the basics of golf, but you won’t make as much progress than with private lessons. 

Is Golf the Most Expensive Hobby?

While golf can be an extremely expensive hobby, it’s not necessarily the most expensive.

Hobbies such as yachting, playing horse polo, and collecting rare artwork can be way more expensive.

However, the total expense of golf can add up over time, especially if you play frequently or belong to exclusive country clubs. 

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Golf Cost vs Other Expensive Hobbies

Here, you can see a cost comparison between golf and yachting, playing horse polo, and collecting artwork. 

Golf vs Yachting

While golf can easily cost many thousand dollars and in some cases tens of thousands, yachting can be almost infinitely expensive. Generally speaking, a high-end yacht will cost over $1M. 

Golf vs Playing Horse Polo 

Horse polo is a sport that’s often seen performed by royals. It has some similarities with golf, but it tends to cost way more. A polo horse usually costs over $10.000, which is more than any set of golf clubs. 

Golf vs Collecting Artwork 

Collecting artwork isn’t exactly a sport in any way, but it has networking and relaxation benefits similar to golf. When collecting artwork, you can spend pretty much an infinite amount on a single piece. However, this hopefully appreciates in value, which golf clubs tend not to.

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How Much Is a Round Of Golf?

The cost of a round of golf can vary a lot depending on the location and type of course. Public courses tend to be less expensive than private clubs, and weekday tee times are usually less expensive than weekend tee times.

In general, a round of golf at a public course costs between $20 to $100, but sometimes more. Private golf clubs don’t allow everyone to play, and you need an expensive membership fee unless you’re a guest.

As a guest at a private club, you have to pay a guest fee, which often is costly as well. 

There are also very expensive courses that are open to the public, such as the famous Pebble Beach. Here, a green fee typically costs more than a staggering $600 for one round of golf. 

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How Much Does Golf Cost Per Year?

It’s hard to say exactly how much golf costs per year, as it varies tremendously based on your decisions. On average though, golfers spend around $2500 a year, but that doesn’t include a brand-new set of high-end clubs.

Golfers who try to spend as little as possible and don’t play very often can spend less than $1000 a year. On the other hand, golfers who enjoy playing at premium clubs and take expensive lessons can easily spend north of $5000 annually. 

At the end of the day, the cost of golf per year is determined by how much you play, where you play, if you take lessons or not, and the type of golf equipment you buy.

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TellMeMoreGolf.com – Frequently Asked Questions

Why has golf become so expensive?

Golf has always been an expensive sport, but the costs of performing it have risen due to a combination of factors.

Firstly, the cost of maintaining golf courses has increased significantly, including the price of land, essential equipment, and labor. 

Secondly, golf equipment has become more advanced and thus more expensive, with high-end clubs and balls costing hundreds of dollars. 

Thirdly, golf has gained popularity in recent years, both when it comes to networking and leisure, leading to higher demand and prices for tee times and memberships, especially at exclusive clubs.

Why is golf a rich man sport?

Golf has always been associated with wealth and privilege due to the high costs associated with playing it.

Golf courses require large plots of land, expensive maintenance, and tons of labor, all contributing to the high expense. 

Because many people of high net worth have enjoyed the sport in the past, golf has become synonymous with a rich man’s sport. However, it’s very possible to play golf on a budget, and most golfers out there aren’t wealthy. 

How much does the average golfer spend on golf?

There are tons of factors involved impacting how much a golfer spends on golf, but on average, the average annual golfing cost for golfers is around $2500. This includes everything from an affordable membership to buckets of golf balls at the range. 

Golfers on a tight budget can probably get away with spending about $1000 a year, but that won’t cover lessons or many rounds of golf. On the higher end, it’s not challenging to spend over $5000 a year.

And according to Porch.com this is some additional context.

Is golf a luxury game?

Golf is considered a luxury game by many due to the high costs associated with playing, such as expensive equipment and greens fees. There are also many very exclusive private country clubs that add to the idea of the sport being a luxury game.

But with that said, the sport can be enjoyed at a variety of price points, with public courses and lower-priced equipment available for golfers on a budget. Ultimately, whether or not golf is a luxury game depends on how you choose to play it. 

How much should a beginner spend on golf?

You can spend a ton of money as a beginner golfer, but all you really need to get started is a set of starter clubs, which will set you back around $500

Clubs can be found cheaper in a used condition, but other than that, all you really need to spend money on is green fees and practice balls. However, golf lessons are something we strongly recommend for beginners, and those can be quite pricey. 

How to afford to play golf?

Golf can be a very costly hobby, but it’s possible to afford it on a relatively low budget. If you opt for used clubs and cheap green fees at public courses, you can get away with a full first year of golf at under $1000. Golf lessons are great, but you can also find free tips online. 

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Conclusion:

Golf is undoubtedly a very expensive hobby, and there are many reasons for this. Firstly, golf courses are huge and require lots of maintenance.

Secondly, golf equipment is advanced and difficult to make, leading to high prices. And lastly, golf is very popular, with plenty of people willing to pay top dollar to play at the finest venues.

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Patrick Corley Tell Me More Golf Instructor and Coach
Patrick Corley
From a golf scholarship to a Southern California University, to a private golf coaching career and an instructor position at a nonprofit organization, I’m here to help you get better at golf! With my 50+ years of golf experience; I bring you Tell Me More Golf. A golf coaching website that helps your game with instructional golfing content that’s ultimately geared toward making you a better golfer and having more fun!
Our golf instructor team brings it all to you, so enjoy!

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