Many of us might be feeling the pinch at the moment, with the impacts of COVID still being felt around Australia. Golf can be an expensive sport because:
- Equipment is costly
- You lose balls
- It’s a technical sport that’s not easy to learn
You might be regularly forking out for golf gear, green fees, practice sessions, driving range, lessons, food and drinks whenever you play. There’s no doubt you could spend a serious amount of money on golf – which can be increasingly difficult during these troubled times. If money’s a bit tight but you don’t want to give up the game you love, here are some handy ways to maximise each golf dollar and help make golf more affordable.
There’s no getting around the fact that you’ll need a fair amount of gear to play golf – but it doesn’t all have to be new and shiny. Many people take up golf on a whim, but after a while discover it’s not for them. You can get some good quality, barely used gear for a bargain.
There are many places where you can buy perfectly usable golf clubs, gear and accessories, including Gumtree, eBay, Golf Traders, iTradeGolf etc. It’s even worth looking at the ads in your local newspaper. Yes, you have to be careful you don’t buy a lemon, but many of the specialised second-hand golf trading websites and stores are well-managed and quite safe. Make sure you ask questions where necessary and find out all the details you need to know. And always get plenty of photos and check reviews.
You can even sell your own unwanted golf clubs and accessories to bring in some more cash that you can spend on replacements. Many stores offer trade-in programs as well. It’s a great way to recover some of the money you’ve spent on golf. There is a substantial used market just waiting to be tapped.
Don’t replace your clubs as often, but maintain them well
Your clubs will last you a long time if you look after them thoroughly and well. Wipe down and clean them after each round, and check for signs of wear, tear or damage.
Use plastic tees rather than wooden ones
Using wooden tees all the time can get costly. Switch to plastic tees instead, as they’re quite smooth and durable – and a lot cheaper.
Try online tutorials instead of lessons with a pro
Lessons with a professional are great for helping you deal with specific areas of technique that you need to improve. But if you can’t afford regular lessons, go for the next best thing – online tutorials. While they can’t personalise advice for you, you can search for tutorials that will help you at your point of need.
There are some great online tutorials around (click here to access some of Parmaker’s) which can really help you if you follow them as instructed. See what you can get out of some internet videos before you go and see a pro. You can even bookmark them and refer to them again and again before you play if that helps.
You can also read golf books for a really cheap way of learning about and improving your golf.
Actively look for lost golf balls
While you’re waiting for your partners to play, spend some time actively combing through wooded or grassy areas in search of lost golf balls (respectfully, of course). You’ll usually be able to find a few little treasures, which will save you a bit in ball costs.
Limit paid practice times
Consider how much time (and buckets of balls) you really need to spend on the putting green and driving range before your round.
Create a practice area at home
Rather than paying good money to practice at the local greens or driving range, try setting up a practice area at home. You’ll need some equipment (such as a putting surface, golf net and a mat to hit off) but this shouldn’t be too costly (you can source this second hand as well). And consider it an investment in your golf, that will well and truly pay for itself over time in driving range and green fees.
Practice in your practice area before you leave for the golf course, so that you’re not tempted to get in a quick session at the driving range. Practice your swing in the mirror to get a really good idea of what you’re doing.
For more on playing golf at home, click here.
Choose your tee time wisely
Most courses will offer reduced rates at less popular tee times, such as after 3pm or at twilight. Take advantage of playing at these times to save some money.
Consider membership programs
If your club offers a membership program that provides discounts on green fees, consider if you’ll use this often enough to make a saving. If you want to play fairly often, taking out membership could save you a significant amount.
Ask for gift vouchers for golf courses
A great birthday present idea (especially if you’re one of those people who is really hard to buy for!) is gift vouchers for a round at your local course. Your local course might sell packs of vouchers to gain even more savings.
Here’s a handy gift guide for golf lovers that you can pass onto family and friends to give them even more ideas.
Dispense with the bells and whistles
You definitely don’t need every golf gadget going around – in fact, you can probably play more than adequately without any of them. While range finders, ball retrievers, the best quality golf balls and Garmin accessories are nice, none of them are necessary for a great round. Rather than relying on gadgets to get you through the round, try relying on your senses more. You can play the old-fashioned way and focus just on your game, not all the “helpful distractions”.
And while fitted clubs do help, you can certainly make do without. Get some good advice on what you need and select a set of clubs off the rack that will work for you. You can look at fitting further down the track if you feel it’s something you need.
Don’t eat at the club
While it’s no doubt very tempting to finish your round and head in for a meal and a drink at the club, resist this temptation. It’s significantly cheaper to pack your own snacks, food and drinks, or just eat when you get home. This can reduce the cost of a round by quite a lot. Particularly with many areas of Australia experiencing lockdown or unusual conditions, now is a great opportunity to get out of the habit of eating out every time you play, as you may not even be allowed to in many places.
Learn how to re-grip your golf clubs
Replacing golf grips can end up costing you a lot of money, especially if you change grips often. Learning how to re-grip your golf clubs yourself will help make a saving that you can use for green fees etc.
Consider business golf
Lobby your business to conduct a corporate golf day, or offer some golf business meetings. That way your company picks up the tab, while you still get to enjoy a game.
With a few adjustments, you can keep on playing golf without breaking the bank – good news at a time like this.