Uncovering the Top 8 Factors Contributing to the High Cost of Golf

Golf is one of the most popular sports in the world which is enjoyed by millions of people, but its high cost can be a barrier for many aspiring players. From equipment and club memberships to green fees and lessons, the expenses add up quickly. In this blog post, we will explore the top 8 factors that contribute to the high cost of golf and provide insights into how you can make the most of your golfing experience while staying within budget.

The high cost of golf is attributed to several factors, including the cost of land, maintenance, and upkeep of courses, the cost of equipment, membership fees, and operational expenses. These costs are often passed down to the players in the form of green fees or membership dues. Additionally, golf is often seen as a luxury sport, contributing to its perceived high cost. By understanding these factors, golfers can gain insight into why the sport is expensive, but also appreciate the effort and resources that go into maintaining and operating a golf course.

In this comprehensive guide, we delve deeper into each of the top 8 factors that contribute to the high cost of golf. From the cost of equipment and maintenance to the fees associated with courses and memberships, we cover all the bases to give you a complete understanding of the expenses involved in this popular sport. So read on to discover the true cost of golf and why it can be such an expensive hobby.

1. Golf Memberships

The cost of a golf membership can greatly vary based on various factors such as location, the exclusivity of the club, and course designer. While some small, local courses may offer memberships for as low as $1,000 in annual dues, this is a rare find, usually due to being located in a remote area or simply not being a top-quality course. In most cases, the old adage holds true: you get what you pay for with a golf membership.

At the lower end of the spectrum, you can expect to pay around $1,500 in annual dues and a one-time initiation fee of $1,000 to $2,000. On the higher end, expect to pay $5,000 to $10,000 annually in annual dues. However, there is no limit to the high end of golf memberships, and for some of the most exclusive and prestigious clubs, the cost of joining is only estimated as the information is not readily available. Below are some of the most exclusive and costly golf courses in the world.

Liberty National Golf Club- Jersey City NJ

  • Initiation Fee: $450,000 to $500,000
  • Annual Fees: $25,000

The Madison Club- La Quinta California

  • Initiation Fee: $200,000
  • Annual Fees: $33,000

Shanqin Bay Golf Club-Hainan Island China

  • Initiation Fee: Estimated to be up to $1 million Dollars
  • Annual Fees: Unknown

2. Golf Clubs

The TSR 3 Driver from Titleist is the new golf club in the market with a price tag of $600. However, this is just one club out of the 14 required for golf and it can take a huge chunk out of your budget. The TaylorMade Stealth Driver, last year’s popular model, is now available for $450 to $500, which was originally priced at $580. Note that these prices are for standard clubs, adding aftermarket shafts can increase the cost even more.


Taylormade P770 Series

Now, you must be thinking the rest of the clubs can’t be that expensive! While they don’t cost as much as the driver, they are still very costly. Above are Taylormade P770 series irons which will retail between 1200 to 1500 dollars depending on the make-up of the set. The cost of the newest irons will be right around 1200 on average with some manufacturers offering lower price options near 800 dollars.


Scotty Cameron Special Select Putter: MSRP: $399

Putters are not cheap and the one listed above is a Scotty Cameron. Scotty Cameron putters are known to be some of the best putters money can buy and cost a pretty penny. It can be mind-boggling to think that something can cost so much when its sole purpose is to gently tap a round ball into a small circular hole in the ground. They do say “Drive for show, put for dough” however and you might be better off investing more into a quality putter than forking over 600 dollars for that new driver.

The bottom line is that golf clubs can be very expensive and buying a new set of clubs may be out of the question for many golfers as it could easily set you back over $2,000.

Recommendation: Buy a starter set

If you are just starting out or you simply don’t have that much spare cash to dole out on a hobby I would recommend searching for used clubs, clubs that are two or three years old but still new. A great option is purchasing a beginner’s set. Below is a set of Callaway Men’s strata golf clubs which includes the bag and all the clubs you will need for just $399. I got started playing golf by purchasing a set like this in 2017 and it was a great choice. As a beginner, you might not know if you will even like the sport and this is a safe option to dip your toes in the water before you purchase a more expensive set. In addition, these golf clubs are designed for beginners with large club heads which makes the game much easier than if you were to try and learn using a set of blades.

3. Golf Attire

Golf attire can add up quickly, with premium brands such as Peter Millar charging upwards of $100 for a single golf polo. A good pair of golf shoes will also set you back over $100, while golf pants and a matching belt can each cost upwards of $80 and $50 respectively. The cost of golf clothes can quickly escalate, especially for frequent golfers who want to avoid wearing the same outfit every day.

The prices of golf clothes are often even higher when purchased from pro shops, with club logos and branding. Some golfers may end up spending more on their golf wardrobes than their actual clubs.

Tips for Saving Money on Golf Attire:

One of the easiest ways to save on golf attire is to look for special deals. There’s no need to pay full retail for golf clothes, as there are always sales and discounts available. One option is to wait for the cooler months, between November and March, when many online retailers have large sales and discounts. Another option is to shop at discount stores such as ROSS, Marshalls, and TJ Maxx, where you can often find the same items for up to 75% less than retail. The key is to find quality golf attire at a good price, which is easily attainable with a little bit of research and patience.

4. Golf Balls

Golf balls are much cheaper than the other items on this list however you might be surprised how quickly you go through them if you play often. Amateur golfers can easily lose 2 or 3 golf balls a round. If your local course has lots of water or hazards you could easily lose more than this round. Heck, you might find you lose 2 or 3 golf balls on one hole! Many golf brands- Bridgestone, Callaway, Titleist, and Taylormade- have a premium ball that retails for around $49.99 per dozen. These are top-of-the-line golf balls and go through more rigorous testing standards than some of the less premium golf balls which means deformities are much rarer which will lead to more consistent play.

Tips to Purchase golf balls cheaply:

Losing golf balls can quickly add up, especially for those who play often. Here are some tips for purchasing cheap golf balls without sacrificing quality:

  1. Buy bulk: Look for deals on bulk purchases. You can often find discounts on boxes of golf balls, especially if you’re willing to purchase a brand you may not have tried before. Below are Taylormade Rocketballz which I use often if I am playing at a course I am prone to lose a lot of balls. 36 balls for roughly 48 dollars is an absolute steal. Another good option is Wilson Staff Zip golf balls.

2. Secondhand: Check out secondhand or used golf balls. While they may not look brand new, they can still perform well and save you money.

3. Recycled: Recycled golf balls are another option to consider. These are balls that have been recovered from golf courses and are often sold at a discount.

Lesser-known brands: Consider purchasing golf balls from lesser-known brands. These balls may not have gone through as many rigorous testing standards as the more premium brands, but they can still perform well and are usually sold at a lower price. A popular choice is Vice golf balls which produce some very high-quality golf balls almost on par with the big brands at a lower price.

Check for sales: Watch for sales and special offers from your favorite brands. Many companies offer discounts on golf balls during the holiday season or other special occasions.

By following these tips, you can save money on golf balls and reduce the cost of your golf game.

5. Food and Drinks

Golf courses generate a significant portion of their revenue from dining and beverage sales. While some public courses offer affordable dining options, country clubs, and upscale courses tend to be more costly, with the ability to markup prices and increase their profit margins. Enjoying a meal after a day of golf with friends and family is a great experience, even if it comes with a higher price tag.

Many golfers also enjoy having a few drinks during their rounds, which is reflected in the overflowing trash and recycling bins filled with beer cans. For many, golf is not just about competition, but a chance to socialize and have a good time with friends. Adding a few beers to the mix can make the experience even more enjoyable. As with meals, golf courses can raise the prices of their alcohol offerings due to high demand.

While many golfers are mindful of the cost of their greens fees, they may not consider the expenses associated with dining and drinks. In fact, some golfers spend more on food and drinks at the course than on their annual dues, green fees, and other course-related costs.

Golfing can be an expensive pastime, especially when it comes to the food and drinks consumed on the course. However, there are a few tips that can help you keep your expenses in check:

Tips for saving money on food and beverages

  1. Pack a cooler: Before heading to the course, pack a cooler with your own drinks and snacks. This can help you save money and still enjoy refreshments on the course.

2. Opt for non-alcoholic beverages: Alcoholic drinks can add up quickly, especially when purchasing them at a golf club. Consider switching to non-alcoholic beverages like water or soda to save money.

3. Eat before you play: Eating a filling meal before heading to the course can help curb your appetite, reducing the amount of money spent on food on the course.

4. Avoid the restaurant: Golf courses often mark up their menu items, so consider bringing your own food or opting for a concession stand instead of the restaurant.

5. Timing is key: If you plan on eating at the course, try to do so earlier in the day when prices tend to be lower.

By following these tips, you can enjoy the game of golf without breaking the bank on food and drinks.

6. Holiday Gifts

Christmas is really the main holiday for getting golf gifts with fathers day and then mother’s day after that. Having a hard time figuring out what to get Dad for Christmas? Well, there’s always something you can get him related to golf. Whether it be a quirky t-shirt, a nice polo from the pro shop at his home course, or a box of pro v1s. They all make excellent gifts and no one is ever upset about getting a golf gift.

That said these gifts can up to be pretty pricy over the years. A big reason for this is just how easy it is to get something related to golf when that individual might be otherwise difficult to buy gifts for. 50 dollars to 100 dollars several times a year then multiplied by 10 years can add up to over 1000 dollars in golf gifts yearly. That being said, as an avid golf myself I am never upset when receiving golf gifts and I am sure your loved ones feel the same.

7. Golf simulators

Golf simulators have always been more of a novelty or niche item often reserved for the very wealthy. Trackman golf simulators will easily cost you between 50 to 80 grand if you have them professionally installed in your home with the screen and turf set up. Within the higher tier of golf simulators, you have Foresight sports simulators which are very popular for their GC Quad and GC Hawk. You will see the tour players using the GC Quads on the range prior to a round so they can get accurate club distances just before playing. While more affordable than a Trackman simulator, expect these simulators to easily set you back 15 grand or more for a GC quad with club data.

In recent years, there have been many new golf simulators entering the market which have been targeting the more casual player or someone who does not have bundles of extra money lying around-ie: the majority of us. In the lower tier, there are three main competitors- the Skytrack, Mevo Plus, and the most recent to enter the market from Garmin- the Garmin R 10. The Skytrack and Mevo Plus are certainly more expensive with the R10 only costing a mere $600.

Garmin R10

The Garmin R10 is a very affordable Launch monitor for us mere mortals. While you can not expect this unit to provide the same accuracy as a unit that costs over 20 times its price such as the GC Quad or Trackman unit, it performs exceptionally well for its price. This is also an excellent entry-level unit for someone who is just getting into launch monitors as they can then continue to build out their space and if they find they truly enjoy sim golf, they can purchase a more expensive unit in the future.

8. Cost of Running a Club

Golf can seem expensive compared to other sports or hobbies, but it’s important to consider the cost of maintaining a golf course. The average 18-hole golf course covers 150 to 200 acres, and with rising real estate prices, it’s no wonder why membership dues and the cost to play a round can be steep. Despite the potential to make a profit, many golf courses have struggled in the past two decades, with some being forced to close. The cost of maintaining a golf course is incredibly high, and it’s a delicate balancing act for management to keep the club afloat. Low dues and membership costs can result in a deficit, while high prices can drive away members. Although golf may be expensive, it remains one of the most rewarding and enjoyable games to play, making it worth the cost for many players.


In conclusion, golf is a costly sport that can add up quickly, from the expenses of golf clubs, golf balls, food, and beverages at the course, to the holiday gifts for loved ones. However, it is a game that is loved by many, and despite its expenses, it is well worth the cost for the joy and satisfaction it brings. Understanding the reasons why golf is so expensive, such as the cost of real estate and maintenance of the golf course, can help golfers make more informed decisions when it comes to budgeting their expenses. By looking for deals and discounts, and finding ways to save on golf gear, golfers can still enjoy the game without breaking the bank. The key is to find a balance between the expenses and the enjoyment, and for many, golf will always remain a cherished and rewarding pastime.


Although I am a Doctor of Physical Therapy by profession, I am not your Physical Therapist nor am I a Medical Doctor. All content and information on this website are for informational purposes only, do not constitute medical advice, and do not establish any kind of patient-client relationship by your use of this website. A patient-client relationship with you is only formed after we have expressly entered into a written agreement with you that you have signed including our terms to represent you in a specific manner. Although we strive to provide accurate general information, the information presented here is not a substitute for any kind of professional advice, and you should not rely solely on this information. Always consult a professional in the area for your particular needs and circumstances prior to making any professional, legal, medical and financial, or tax-related decisions.

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