Increasing golf’s popularity has been a key goal of the entire industry for much of the past decade. Surveys and studies show that the main deterrents in golf are that it takes too long to play and that it is too expensive. The USGA and the R&A have pledged to do something about pace-of-play and explore ways to speed up the game. But, what about the costs?
Fortunately, other entities inside the industry have done a great job finding ways to make the game of golf a bit easier on the budget. From tee time services to discount outfitters, there are indeed ways to save when playing the game we all love.
Let’s explore five ways to golf on a budget:
1. Buy used equipment
Each year, the game’s big manufacturers churn out new drivers, claiming they will add “five more yards!” or help you find more fairways. Original equipment manufacturers send out new sets of irons every year, each with little difference from the previous year’s batch.
Instead of buying the latest and greatest equipment, shop around for used equipment. Many online golf retailers accept trade-in equipment for golfers looking to upgrade their bags. Like a used car dealership, the retailers then re-sell the equipment.
Buying used golf clubs could save you a big chunk of money when either upgrading your own clubs or purchasing your first set. If you’re looking to purchase used golf equipment, visit GlobalGolf.com, 2ndSwing.com, 3balls.com or CallawayPreowned.com.
2. Book discount tee times
With the growth of mobile apps comes a great bonus for both golf courses and golfers: discount tee times. For years, courses would fill their tee sheets according to predetermined prices based on the season and time of day. If tee sheets were full, all was well. If slots weren’t utilized, the course lost out on potential revenue.
Now, online tee time services and mobile apps like GolfNow and TeeOff have made it possible for golf courses to list their available or unused tee times and sell them at a discount to budget-conscious golfers. Next time you want to play a round, try using discount tee time services before calling the pro shop.
3. Maintain your clubs
Perhaps the most crushing blow to your golf budget is the need to replace your set of clubs. Stay ahead of golf club replacement by maintaining your existing set. Whether you’re re-shafting, re-gripping or simply cleaning, golf club maintenance is vital and easy.
If you play often, make sure you clean your clubs regularly. Purchase a brush with bristles or use an old toothbrush. Simply clean with water and a bit of elbow grease to remove the turf out of your club’s grooves and prevent rust buildup. Be sure to wipe dry after cleaning to ensure there is no corrosion on your club heads. Your performance may even improve without the layer of dirt getting in between your ball and the clubhead!
You’ll also save money by replacing your grips. When they start to wear or lose their effectiveness in less-than-ideal conditions (rain, humidity or cold), it’s time to re-grip. Many high-performance golf grips can be purchased for less than $25 per set. To learn how to re-grip your clubs, view any of the tutorials available online.
4. Take advantage of twilight rates
Most public golf courses have budget-friendly rates later in the day. Some twilight rates begin after 2 p.m. while others don’t start until 5 p.m., so check your local course’s twilight rates before heading out there. Regardless of when you start the game, you’ll be able to save on greens fees. You may even have the opportunity to play free golf — especially in June and July when the days are the longest.
5. Practice, practice, practice
If you’re looking to improve your game, you can do so with very little cost. Once you have your clubs and gear, spend time at your local course and take advantage of its practice facility. Whether you hit the driving range, spend time chipping and putting on the practice green or a combination of the two, you’ll sharpen your skills without spending a dime.
— Ben Larsen