Why Is Golf So Expensive? [Answered]

It might be one of the best sports in the world, but it’s also one of the most expensive sports to play, which is why many people ask the question “Is golf a rich man’s sport?“.

So why is golf so expensive and are there ways in which you can save money when playing? Let’s have a look.

Why Is Golf So Expensive?

Why Is Golf So Expensive?

Why Is Golf So Expensive?

Golf is an expensive sport because of a number of reasons such as the price of golf equipment and the cost of golf club membership fees.

Golf is an expensive sport because of the following:

  • Equipment costs
  • Membership fees
  • Course green fees
  • Lessons
  • Tournaments
  • Apparel and shoes

Now let’s have a look at each of these factors in a little more detail to help understand why each of them is so expensive for golfers.

Equipment Costs

It’s no secret that the cost of golf equipment is a lot.

Depending on the brand and the type of golf club, you’ll be looking to pay somewhere between $50 to well over $600 for just one club.

There’s a number of reasons why golf manufacturers charge these sorts of prices for their golf clubs, however, it doesn’t make it any easier having to hand over that sort of money for what is just a bit of metal.

Golf clubs can vary greatly, with the new and latest game-improving technologies costing more than the cheaper brands or used golf clubs.

You’re also allowed to have 14 clubs in a golf bag, so if you want to have the best opportunity whilst out on the golf course, you’ll want to have all 14 clubs, which is going to cost you more than if you only use a couple. If you don’t want a full set of clubs, a good place to start is with a driver, a few irons and a putter.

Even once you’ve spent a large amount on clubs, there’s still plenty of other pieces of golf equipment you’ll need for a round of golf.

A golf bag to keep your clubs in. These can range in price depending on the type of golf bag you choose, but you’ll be looking at $50 at a minimum for a bag.

Golf balls are also an obvious piece of equipment to play a round of golf. If you’re new to the game and even if you’re not, you’re going to need more than one golf ball.

Then you’ve got all the other golf accessories such as golf gloves, ball markers and tees which aren’t necessarily required for golf, but most golfers will have them in their bags to give them the best chance.

Golf equipment is up there with the biggest cost in golf.

Membership Fees

Many golf courses operate as private member clubs. These clubs can be very expensive places to join for a number of reasons, but mainly because it costs a lot of money to run a golf club.

Golf club membership gives golfers plenty of great benefits, but you’ll be looking at over $500 for most golf courses with some ranging up to tens of thousands of dollars to be a member.

Many private golf courses will also have a joining fee which you have to pay even before paying the yearly subs. These can be huge amounts and it might take a while before you can even get the opportunity.

If you decide not to get a golf club membership, you’ll be paying green fees each time you go and play golf courses.

Course Green Fees

Despite there being plenty of public golf courses available to play across the world, it doesn’t mean that the green fees at these courses are cheap.

Peak greens fees at some top courses such as Pebble Beach Golf Links can cost a golfer upwards of $500. To many, that seems like an absurd price to pay for just 18 holes of golf.

However, for the average golfer, there’s still a great choice of courses which can be played for less than $50 a green fee and although they might not be as good as some of the other top venues, a cheap public golf course can still give them a good test of golf.


Golf is an incredibly difficult game to master. If you’re just starting out or even if you’re a top player, you’re most likely investing in a few golf lessons a year.

Good quality golf coaches don’t come cheap and if you want to get better more quickly, you’re going to want to have a lesson every few weeks.

As a result, golf lessons can become an expensive part of a golfing season if a player chooses to have them.


Playing in golf tournaments in your local area is really great way of playing some new golf clubs and adding some competition to your golf game.

Some golfers spend huge amounts of money entering into events all across the country and some even across the world. Along with entry fees for these events, you’ve also got to consider travel costs and other expenses along the way.

Not all golfers play in these sorts of golf tournaments, but for the golfers that do, it can be quite a big cost throughout the year.

Apparel and Shoes

Having the correct golf attire is important at many golf courses, even if you’re just going to the driving range.

Although many people will already have most of the clothing items already at home, buying golf apparel is not overly cheap.

It’s also a good idea to have some golf shoes when playing a round as these can add to a player’s golf costs.

Why Are Golf Courses So Expensive?

Golf is full of expensive courses costing large amounts of money for just 18 holes of golf.

At first glance this may seem like a lot of money to be paying each week, however, there’s a number of different reasons why golf courses charge so much in green fees:

  • Maintenance and land
  • Staff
  • Facilities
  • Seasonality
  • People will pay

Here’s a quick look at a few of the reasons why golf courses are so expensive.

Maintenance and Land

Golf courses are built on huge acres of land, which often is very expensive to acquire and build on.

Some golf courses might own the land and others might lease it, but either way, it’s likely that they’ll be paying large payments each month for the privilege.

Alongside owning or leasing the land, there’s also the cost of actually maintaining it.

Golf courses need huge amounts of water, cutting and keeping in shape. Because of the size of the land, this is a big task, so golf courses will have large machines and plenty of staff to carry out the work.


Staff costs tend to be the highest costs involved for a golf club on a monthly basis.

From pro shop staff to green keepers to clubhouse staff, there’s a whole host of positions which need to be paid for a golf club to run smoothly and remain well-kept.

Without all the staff members at a golf club, a golfer’s playing experience won’t be as good. So, green fees are important to help pay for this.


Many golf clubs have different sorts of facilities such as a driving range and clubhouse which golfers can use with their green fee.

These are expensive to run, from staff costs to energy costs, it all adds up and can lead to high costs.


The nature of the sport means that demand for golf is always going to be higher in the summer, with more sunshine and warmer temperatures.

Therefore, seasonality is reflected in the price of green fees and will vary depending on the time of year you look to play.

Like anything, supply is there to meet demand. When demand for golf is high, golf courses will increase the green fee prices, whereas when demand is lower, golf clubs will drop the prices.

Seasonality is also important because golf courses normally have lower prices when course conditions are worse. This usually occurs in the Winter months and when course maintenance is underway.

People Will Pay

The fact of the matter is, golf courses charge the higher green fees because they know that golfers will still pay the prices.

Many golf courses have a great history and a great reputation for being top golf courses. They can therefore charge the big prices as they know golfers are going to come and play no matter what the price is.

How To Save Money Playing Golf?

Golf is expensive to play, but there’s still a number of ways to save on the cost of golf and to keep it accessible to new golfers.

Here’s a few of the ways you can save while playing golf:

Buy Used Golf Clubs

Golf clubs are probably the most expensive equipment in golf, with new clubs coming at such a high cost.

Most golfers don’t need a new set of golf clubs each year, but they’re often tempted by the big claims that golf brands make about extra yards off the tee and easy-to-hit irons.

Instead, go for second-hand or used clubs rather than brand new as they’ll cost much less and will perform just as well.

I’ve always been a big believer in finding good bargains in the second-hand golf club section. No $600 driver can improve your game any more so than a $200 used one in the club pro shop. So why waste that sort of money on a marketing fad?

Group Lessons

Golf lessons aren’t cheap and might seem like too much money if you’re just getting started in the game of golf.

A good way around this is having group sessions with your friends, where the lesson is split between a number of golfers and the cost is far less than private lessons.

When I first started out in golf, I used to have group lessons as a junior golfer. These were always great fun and helped keep the costs down.

Play A Public Course

Private clubs are often where some of the nicer courses are, but they’re also going to cost a lot more money to play.

Therefore, a good way of saving money is to play public courses with smaller green fees. These courses might not seem as fancy as the country clubs, but they’ll still have great conditions and a worthy test of golf for all levels.

Walk, Don’t Cart

Course fees are enough to have to pay, but many golfers also add golf cart fees to their rounds.

Renting a golf cart for a round of golf is another expense which isn’t necessary for playing golf and cutting it out can be beneficial for your wallet and your health.

Final Thoughts

Golf might feel like an expensive sport to some, however there’s many ways of saving money and making it more affordable.

Ed Welton

Founder, Editor

Ed is the founder and editor at EEE Golf. He’s been playing golf for over 20 years, competing in many top amateur events. He’s played courses all over the world and played with some of the best players in the game. His aim is to help educate people about the game of golf and give insights into the sport he loves most.

Scroll to Top