The Cost of Golfing

For the past 8 years, I have been trying (and failing) to become an average  golfer.  I found an un-discovered passion for the game and have been working to get better each year.  Over this period, my uncle and friends have spent countless hours on the beautiful courses watching me hit a ball 50 yards, curse, and sometimes throw my club in anger.  I commend them for their patience, because it happens much more frequently than it should.  It seems I have reached my potential as a self-taught golfer and part of it is my fault for not putting in a better effort to learn/spending the money to take lessons and learn the right way.  I have tried and failed at teaching myself to golf.   What lies ahead is a serious investment to improve my game. The question is….is it really worth it?

The Situation

For those of you who are not golfers, I will give you a quick run-down of some of the costs associated with the game.  I have broken the costs down into two categories: the initial cost of golfing and the recurring cost of golfing.  The initial cost of clubs covers the purchases of the actual golf clubs and all the necessary equipment that follows.  I will use the low-end of the price spectrum for my analysis since most people I know purchased the cheapest set of clubs they could get their hands on.  The cost of $255 does not seem that bad for a one-time expense.  I can think of many hobbies that I can think of that cost more than this, so if this were the main expense associated with golfing I wouldn’t be writing this article!  However, the cost of golfing does not stop there…trust me.  This is just the jab to our wallet.  The recurring expenses provide the knockout punch.

To be a great golfer, you have to play regularly.  This really should play on a weekly basis so you can continue to improve.   For me, I have reduced my golfing to only twice a month so I cannot experience the benefits of playing regularly.  Each round of golf costs me between $25-$40 depending on the course you have selected, the timing of the round, and if you choose to walk/ride in a cart.  You must also be well-stocked with golf balls (In my case I bought a lot of cases.  It sucks finding a golf ball in the woods!), tees, and the whole nine yards.  Once again, a costly endeavour.  Did I mention that you really should take some lessons if you want to be a much better golfer?  Just looking up the cost made me cringe on the inside.  A 30 minute session can run between $40-$60 while a pack of three lessons will easily cost you 3 figures.  After all, you can’t take just one lesson.  The golf lesson quickly becomes a sunk cost if you do not practice what you learned during the lesson either on the golf course or the driving range.  It is a vicious circle of compounding spending that becomes more and more expensive!

Where Do I Go from Here?
That is why I find myself in the situation I am in today.  Do I continue playing the game I really enjoy playing and commit to success or do I accept my fate and begin to cut my losses?  I can understand the pros and cons of both methods.  However, the more I think about it, golfing seems to be fitting less and less into my new lifestyle.  For one, golfing takes up a lot of time.  Each round can take 4-5 hours depending on the day.  Do I want to use my precious time off like that anymore?  I have enjoyed spending my time off  recently blogging, reading articles, and interacting in the investing community.  Which one will add more value to my life? Second, I re-discovered my love for playing tennis recently.  It is a challenging, great exercise, and surprisingly difficult.  Plus it takes up less time and most importantly, is SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper.  The two investments are a racket ($30) and the occasional 3-pack of tennis balls.  It is also worth noting I am better at tennis than golf!  Why not spend less-time and less-money playing a sport I enjoy more and I am better at?

The tough decisions you face in life!  I am fortunate to be having this debate.  But going forward, I am expecting to begin phasing out golf in my life and transition from a semi-monthly/weekly event to an “every once in a while I want to play a round and hang out with friends” type of event. If I am going to ever attempt Lanny’s 60% savings challenge, I have to start somewhere, right?  It isn’t even just about the cost.  I want to better use my time to enjoy the time with love ones and expand my knowledge of investing to reach my goal of financial independence faster.  With great alternatives at hand, the decision to phase it out is becoming easier and easier.  It just makes too much sense.  I am not playing for the PGA you know!

What have been the biggest lifestyle changes you made in your life?  Have you gone through something similar with a hobby you love?


11 thoughts on “The Cost of Golfing

  1. Wow, I didn’t realize golf was so expensive! I’ve never golfed before, but my expensive hobby was yoga. It was costing me about $17 per class! Solution? I’m now a volunteer receptionist for my yoga studio in exchange for free classes. It doesn’t take too much of my time and nothing beats free yoga!

    • Great call with the volunteering! Very smart solution to keep on yoga-ing? Is that a word haha? Like you, I had no idea classes were that expensive. I give you a lot of credit for finding a way to make your hobby work. Can you help me find a place where I can volunteer and play golf for free as well??

      Thanks for stoping by!

  2. The recurring costs of golf are really the kick in the teeth. I’ve been getting the itch to go golf again and I’m trying to resist the urge though because I know how I am. I’ll go and play and have fun even though I’ll be frustrated as hell and then want to go back. I’ll get really into it. Love playing the game though but it’s definitely one of the more expensive hobbies. I wonder if workers at golf clubs/courses get to play free rounds. That could be a way to reduce the costs some once you have more time.

    • JC,

      I am sure working at course would earn you a free round or a bucket of balls. I am just afraid that we would need to have that as a very time consuming job insted of a quick way to reduce the cost of a hobby. Golf is one of those activities where you either need to spend a ton and keep on playing or just accept rarely playing. Nothing is more aggrevating than only golfing once a month and making the same mistakes over and over again.
      I have found some success on, groupon, etc. finding cheaper ways to golf. Maybe if the itch becomes so strong you could play some twilight rounds for a cheaper greens fee.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Hi Bert,

    I used to have another hobby(drag racing), it is a very expensive one and I ended up quitting. Maybe in the future I can get back in but for now I want to create a nice passive income stream and not just spend money in a hobby.
    I believe that if I play my cards right I can get back in the hobby in the future and still have a nice monthly income but that won’t happen if I just get back to the hobby right now and don’t build the income steam first.

    On a side note: I am a very new investor( made my first purchase less than 1 month ago) and found your blog very helpful and interesting( thanks for all the info provided in here!!)

    Greetings from Dominican Republic,


    • Emir,

      Thanks for stopping by! Wow, drag racing? That sounds it would be a lot of fun. I am sorry you had to give it up, but it is great to see that you are focused on finding a way to integrate it back into your life when your financial feet are settled.

      Welcome to the world of investing. What was your first purchase? I am glad our blog was able to help. I am new to the community as well (we started only 3 months ago) and my knowledge of investing has grown tremendously by learning from our peers. Do you have your own blog? I would love to track your progress and read about your investment decisions.

      Thanks again for stopping by and congrats again on your first purchase. Working towards financial freedom is a tough but fun journey. Every person should give it a shot!


  4. Oh no, golfing is extremely fun. I usually go to the driving ranging because it’s cheaper. The golf course in the area lets you test out different drivers and clubs for free so I really enjoy that. Maybe when you’re financially independent then you can golf all you want!


    • Henry,

      I would love to one day retire and golf many times a week. That’s the dream right there. My itch will never go away; so once my portfolio and finances are in the place where I want them to be I will make my triumphant return!


  5. Whichever way you put it, hobbies cost money. If you truly enjoy the activity I’d say keep going and enjoy it. Last thing you want to do is stop doing something you enjoy and become a miserable SOB. 🙂

    • Tawcan,

      Thanks for the advice. You bring up a fair point. Luckily, I also love playing tennis and I can play an outdoor sport for a much cheaper cost. Nobody likes a curmudgeon!

      Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Hi Bert,
    You just need to add a long term goal to own a golf course 🙂

    Admittedly I’m not a golfer and have no inclination to play. But there can be some additional value in golf in the sense of networking I suppose. I’ve always associated it as a “status sport” and I expect that’s one reason why it’s expensive.

    I think my biggest lifestyle change of the last 3 years has been to go from buying DVDs & CDs weekly to spending almost nothing on them We typically borrow movies from the local library now and I use a monthly subscription service for music for less than the cost of one CD a month.

    Best wishes,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *