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Golfing is getting pretty expensive these days


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Wintering in Houston '23/'24, I knew the course rates where we were living were exorbitant (in excess on $100 a round for goat tracks).  I joined a local and smaller country club for the winter.  Even with the comparatively small initiation fee downstroke and $300 a month for an afternoon walking membership, it was cheaper than playing one day a week at the local publics.  I play 3-4 times a week as a retiree and it definitely saved me a ton.  Bonus was tee times were readily available and pace of play on a nice course? 3 hour 18s.  A major win in my opinion.  

 

Now that I'm back in Michigan, I work one day a week as a starter and get free golf the entire week on our course.  Can't play till after 2 on weekends, but Sat/Sun are too slow anyways.  

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37 minutes ago, SnowbirdTom said:

Wintering in Houston '23/'24, I knew the course rates where we were living were exorbitant (in excess on $100 a round for goat tracks).  I joined a local and smaller country club for the winter.  Even with the comparatively small initiation fee downstroke and $300 a month for an afternoon walking membership, it was cheaper than playing one day a week at the local publics.  I play 3-4 times a week as a retiree and it definitely saved me a ton.  Bonus was tee times were readily available and pace of play on a nice course? 3 hour 18s.  A major win in my opinion.  

 

Now that I'm back in Michigan, I work one day a week as a starter and get free golf the entire week on our course.  Can't play till after 2 on weekends, but Sat/Sun are too slow anyways.  

 

The cost to play golf in many other parts of the country is insane.  No way of discerning the quality of the course relative to the cost, but $100+ gets you on a very nice tract around here.  But is beyond my wallet on a weekly basis.  Paying a lot more does not equate to a commensurate increase in enjoyment.  In fact, it's often the opposite.  

 

Checking the rates at several regular rota courses we play, prices are up only a couple bucks from last year.  Weekdays, senior rates, with a cart:   Springfield Oaks - $41, White Lake - $39, Lyon Oaks - $45 (heck of a deal for Lyon).  Atlas Valley - $39.  Brentwood/Beacon Hill - $37.  Indian Springs - $31 (best deal in the area).  Hard to figure Shepards Hollow with their wonky booking system, looks like $55 before 9 a.m., increases exponentially after.   Fountains - $40.  We rarely to never pay more than $50 to play a round.  

 

Usually have no problem with booking at our preferred times (other than a couple with morning leagues).  POP is always brisk, getting around in ~3.5 hours which is just about right for our crew.  Think the plethora of options help keep fees in check.  Very much prefer playing different courses with regularity.  And not having to join a club to book a reasonable tee time (we are morning golfers) at decent rates to play.  Nothing else about a private club other than golf would interest me.  

 

 

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23 minutes ago, Fellaheen51 said:

 

The cost to play golf in many other parts of the country is insane.  No way of discerning the quality of the course relative to the cost, but $100+ gets you on a very nice tract around here.  But is beyond my wallet on a weekly basis.  Paying a lot more does not equate to a commensurate increase in enjoyment.  In fact, it's often the opposite.  

 

Checking the rates at several regular rota courses we play, prices are up only a couple bucks from last year.  Weekdays, senior rates, with a cart:   Springfield Oaks - $41, White Lake - $39, Lyon Oaks - $45 (heck of a deal for Lyon).  Atlas Valley - $39.  Brentwood/Beacon Hill - $37.  Indian Springs - $31 (best deal in the area).  Hard to figure Shepards Hollow with their wonky booking system, looks like $55 before 9 a.m., increases exponentially after.   Fountains - $40.  We rarely to never pay more than $50 to play a round.  

 

Usually have no problem with booking at our preferred times (other than a couple with morning leagues).  POP is always brisk, getting around in ~3.5 hours which is just about right for our crew.  Think the plethora of options help keep fees in check.  Very much prefer playing different courses with regularity.  And not having to join a club to book a reasonable tee time (we are morning golfers) at decent rates to play.  Nothing else about a private club other than golf would interest me.  

 

 


Yup, totally agree about local here.  I play some real nice courses for $60 and some goat tracks like Highland Hills for $26. 

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Depends on where you live. I belong to a semi-private course and play 4+ times a week over a 6/7 month season. My membership and cart fee is a bit over $2000. My cost per round is about $30- maybe less.

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15 hours ago, dono said:

@Turfguy points out petroleum based products are higher, they are evil in the USA at the moment, prices will only go higher, not to mention the cost of labor and equipment. One thing I find annoying is courses that provide advanced access to tee times for $$ fee. One course that my foursome  plays charges $1,800.00 for tee time access, that is it nothing more, you pay the money you can book a tee time 14 days in advance of the public which is normally 7 days in advance. I called in February (snow season) to check it out, club pro called me back, sorry sold out for the season? We are just now golfing.

What?  That is nuts.  Can you make tee times for other people? 

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Our course sees ridiculous numbers of rounds. 77,000 per year.  Over 300 rounds per day during season.  As high as 350 a day. Over the past 2 years they raise rates, no longer reduce rates in the off season, reduce the number of rounds and make more money.  

 

This year they will raise rates again, by 20%, no reduction in off season, they'll reduce rounds and again, make more money.  Lots of improvements going on. Rebuilding all sand traps and rebuilding all greens.

 

With the number of courses that closed over the past years, they have a captive audience.  Our rates have nearly doubled since COVID-19.

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The course I work at now has dynamic pricing. If you want to play during peak times it’s $200. 

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3 minutes ago, bcjim said:

What?  That is nuts.  Can you make tee times for other people? 

From the website "Member Benefits- Ghin Card, 10% off in pro shop, advanced Tee Times" I think so, I did not get much information from the Pro since it was sold out. The application has individual  @ $1,800.00 (M-F) and Husband & Wife @ $2,800.00 (M-F) no cart, include weekends more $, you can also add cart membership.  There are restrictions for booking 8 or more players, 50% $ up front, strict cancellation policy. This is a public golf course. 

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I live in Middle Tennessee south of Nashville, and the rates have seen a steady increase over the last 3-4 years.  Rates have gotten really ridiculous over the last year.  Every course does 8 minute tee time intervals which leads to a ton of congestion on the course.  I avoid weekend golf at the public and semi-private courses like the plague because you are guaranteed a 5+ hour round unless you are in one of the first 4-5 tee times of the day.  This is starting to apply to the weekdays as so many people work remotely now, or they have jobs like mine that has random scheduling that puts them off a few days during the week.

 

To combat this problem, I looked into joining the local country club so that I could at least get some quick rounds in since I was paying so much money anyways on golf.  I figured I could get a few amenities in with the cost.  This was quickly squashed as the only country club in town will be shutting down their golf course for 8 months for a complete remodel soon.  They will, also, be raising their initiation fee to $20,000.  After that, the yearly cost between dues and other assessments will be around $14,000.  I love golf, but I am not paying that much.

 

This led me to the only other option.  I built a simulator in my house which has been awesome thus far.  I have had it a little less than a month, but it has been even better than I imagined.  As far as playing an actual course golf, I keep my eyes open for local deals during the week when rounds can be played quicker and cheaper.  I still get out for real golf about once a week, but I will say the simulator has been great for getting my golf fix.  Also, my last couple rounds since having the simulator have been 2 of my best scores.  I figure it has a lot to do with getting way more practice strokes in these days instead of just a random range session here and there.  Being able to see my actual numbers has been a tremendous help on golf course management when I actually play for real.

Edited by golfpractitioner5
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Very thankful I live 5 mins from a decent "goat track" that I pay $700 a year for. Golf is popular and even daily fee's for public are up, I get a good deal golfing 4-6 9 hole rounds a week. 

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Irons: Ping Zings 2 -5 , Wilson Staff Goosenecks 1988 6 to 8

Wedges: Mizuno T22 (45/05) ,1969 Fluid Feel PW (52 degrees)  ,  Wilson BeCu (54 degrees),  Wilson Sandy Andy (57 degrees)

Putter: Ping Pal or Odyssey White Hot XG Marxman Blade. 

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25 minutes ago, Maine Golfer said:

Very thankful I live 5 mins from a decent "goat track" that I pay $700 a year for. Golf is popular and even daily fee's for public are up, I get a good deal golfing 4-6 9 hole rounds a week. 

We used to have a great little course like that here.  It was a 9 hole course run by the city, but the land was owned by the VA.  It was $8 to play and $1 more if you wanted to use their push carts.  They did not have golf carts, but you were allowed to bring your own if you had one.  It was great for what it was which was a cow field with some tiny greens which made it challenging for such a short course, but the city and the VA got into a dispute over how they wanted to work the lease out.  The city ended up just dropping the course, and now, you cannot even tell it was a golf course.  It is sad because it was the perfect course for quick rounds and a great course for teaching your kids the game of golf. 

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The place I play isn't town/city owned, but South Portland Public is cheap and short and fun. Waterville Maine has a city par 3 I first went to as a kid, also cheap. The place i play is owned by LL Bean and run by Maine Golf / the USGA group in Maine

 

 

Woods: TaylorMade RBZ Tour Spoon, TaylorMade RBZ 5 Wood

Irons: Ping Zings 2 -5 , Wilson Staff Goosenecks 1988 6 to 8

Wedges: Mizuno T22 (45/05) ,1969 Fluid Feel PW (52 degrees)  ,  Wilson BeCu (54 degrees),  Wilson Sandy Andy (57 degrees)

Putter: Ping Pal or Odyssey White Hot XG Marxman Blade. 

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Ball:  high number Pro V1's

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Other sets include:  1972 Wilson X31's 2 to PW , Hogan Redline's 1988  4 to E (no 7), 1988 Jack Nicklaus Super Eye-O-Matic (EOM) Persimmons

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7 hours ago, elwhippy said:

Interesting articles in UK golf media. High class courses admit they are hiking prices, and limiting tee times. Want to retain a similar revenue but reduce visitors and free up member time. A good deal for members but green fees are getting close to extortion. I can play a full year's golf at my home course for the same as two rounds on a top 10 course in the UK. 

I am seeing a move to more corporate days and clubs targeting the "course tickers (players who tick off all the best courses but don't know if it is a good or average venue). The true enthusiast, or the family man / woman who has a mortgage and a defined max for green fees is no longer welcome. 

I'm saddened that the UK is becoming more elitist too but it is what it is.

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4 hours ago, Fellaheen51 said:

 

The cost to play golf in many other parts of the country is insane.  No way of discerning the quality of the course relative to the cost, but $100+ gets you on a very nice tract around here.  But is beyond my wallet on a weekly basis.  Paying a lot more does not equate to a commensurate increase in enjoyment.  In fact, it's often the opposite.  

 

Checking the rates at several regular rota courses we play, prices are up only a couple bucks from last year.  Weekdays, senior rates, with a cart:   Springfield Oaks - $41, White Lake - $39, Lyon Oaks - $45 (heck of a deal for Lyon).  Atlas Valley - $39.  Brentwood/Beacon Hill - $37.  Indian Springs - $31 (best deal in the area).  Hard to figure Shepards Hollow with their wonky booking system, looks like $55 before 9 a.m., increases exponentially after.   Fountains - $40.  We rarely to never pay more than $50 to play a round.  

 

Usually have no problem with booking at our preferred times (other than a couple with morning leagues).  POP is always brisk, getting around in ~3.5 hours which is just about right for our crew.  Think the plethora of options help keep fees in check.  Very much prefer playing different courses with regularity.  And not having to join a club to book a reasonable tee time (we are morning golfers) at decent rates to play.  Nothing else about a private club other than golf would interest me.  

 

 

Michigan is probably the best value in the country.  Good supply of courses, land is relatively affordable and it usually rains enough.  Fairways/greens are some of the best conditioned in the country IMO.

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14 minutes ago, StoutKing said:

Michigan is probably the best value in the country.  Good supply of courses, land is relatively affordable and it usually rains enough.  Fairways/greens are some of the best conditioned in the country IMO.

I have heard the courses in Michigan are amazing.  The downfall for living in that area for me would be the shortened golf season due to y'alls winters.  Where I live, you can comfortably golf 10 out of 12 months.  You can golf those other 2 months, which is January and February, but the courses are usually a soggy mess.

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6 hours ago, ShortGolfer said:

 

There weren't as many retirees fifty years ago!  Now there are a record number of people retiring in 2024! 

This is a problem for golf because some of these new retirees haven't learned the skills required to play 4 hour rounds.  I started learning to play two years before I retired, but many can't do that effectively.

 

That probably has at least something to do with it. Sheer demographics. We're now close to the peak of the boomer retirement bell curve. Something like 10,000 people a day are turning 65 right now in the US.

 

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3 minutes ago, golfpractitioner5 said:

I have heard the courses in Michigan are amazing.  The downfall for living in that area for me would be the shortened golf season due to y'alls winters.  Where I live, you can comfortably golf 10 out of 12 months.  You can golf those other 2 months, which is January and February, but the courses are usually a soggy mess.

Yep.  I live in SoCal with good weather year round but miss the courses in Michigan.  Easily the purest bent grass putting greens I've played.  Plus it used to have the most public courses in the country so prices were held in check.  Lots of quality courses for under $100.  Need to make a trip back.

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15 minutes ago, bobfoster said:

 

That probably has at least something to do with it. Sheer demographics. We're now close to the peak of the boomer retirement bell curve. Something like 10,000 people a day are turning 65 right now in the US.

 


Is it not a skewed distribution ?

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18 hours ago, dono said:

Another rant is the growing numbers of "I work form home" people during the week days.Their slow play, answering phone, checking and responding to email and text, running and hiding in the woods to take their managers call. My group has abandoned many "I work from home" singles.

It's partly that segment of golfers that also whine about POP.  They are hurried to get home, where they should be in the first place.

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1 hour ago, StoutKing said:

Yep.  I live in SoCal with good weather year round but miss the courses in Michigan.  Easily the purest bent grass putting greens I've played.  Plus it used to have the most public courses in the country so prices were held in check.  Lots of quality courses for under $100.  Need to make a trip back.

SoCal sux for munis, NorCal is great. I have so many good courses within ~45 min from me for under $100 I can’t (don’t care to) count em. 

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ha ha, I work from home but dont worry about work on the course. I can take a 90 min lunch and make it all work. I play golf to NOT look at my phone. 

 

 

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Woods: TaylorMade RBZ Tour Spoon, TaylorMade RBZ 5 Wood

Irons: Ping Zings 2 -5 , Wilson Staff Goosenecks 1988 6 to 8

Wedges: Mizuno T22 (45/05) ,1969 Fluid Feel PW (52 degrees)  ,  Wilson BeCu (54 degrees),  Wilson Sandy Andy (57 degrees)

Putter: Ping Pal or Odyssey White Hot XG Marxman Blade. 

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Ball:  high number Pro V1's

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Other sets include:  1972 Wilson X31's 2 to PW , Hogan Redline's 1988  4 to E (no 7), 1988 Jack Nicklaus Super Eye-O-Matic (EOM) Persimmons

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27 minutes ago, Hawkeye77 said:

$2400 for the wife and me this season, unlimited range, cart whenever we want one. My 100 rounds or so will make our average cost pretty cheap. 

 

$200 per month is one round and a cheeseburger here.

 

nobody likes a show off. cease and desist immediately. 🙂

 

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The public courses in my area are increasing green fees while course conditions are getting worse every year.  I know a few head greenskeepers, and they all say the same thing.  Operational and maintenance costs are going through the roof. The chemical costs alone are increasing.  I spoke with one of them last fall and he said that management at his course had to make a decision about overseeding & sand replenishment........... or putting the money towards equipment repairs. 

 

They just don't have the wiggle room that they once had.

 

 

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