Is Golf an Expensive Sport And How Costly Is It To Get Started?

Although golf is the best sport on earth, it has often copped criticism for limiting its reach to society’s elite. This tag has hampered the growth of the game. It was particularly true in mid to low-income areas where the residents felt unwelcome in the typical Country Club environment.

However, based on the recent boom where 14% more rounds were played in the U.S in 2020, compared to 2019, I am curious if the status quo has changed? In this article, we are asking the question is golf an expensive sport? And along the way, we will give you insight into the costs involved in getting started.

Is Golf A Rich Person Sport?

Growing up, I was one of four kids who frequently played at my home course. We were keen to get more kids involved, to play league events against clubs for neighboring Cities. However, most of our peers were hampered by the financial entry barriers to golf.

When you look at the cost of a set of clubs, balls, tees, coaching, and green fees, it was simply unattainable for many parents. As a result, the folks in my small hometown agreed that golf is a rich person sport. However, that was when there was a limited choice of equipment and courses.

These days, more options are available, which helps us find equipment, membership, or green fees that fit our budget. You don’t need to play at Shadow Creek or purchase a set of Bentley Centenary clubs for almost $17,000.

Instead, you can play your golf at a local municipal course, where the fees are minimal. And pick up a set of clubs that are next to nothing. The point is that there are means and ways to keep golf affordable. You just have to be smart about it.

Is Golf An Expensive Hobbie?

Golf can become an expensive hobby if you get serious about the game and play it frequently. As you become more serious, you desire better equipment and wish to challenge yourself at higher-profile courses.

However, if you are happy with a standard set of clubs and enjoy playing the odd round at your local municipal course, you can keep your costs down to a minimum.

What Expenses Should I Factor In When Starting Golf?


The first expense to consider is equipment which includes clubs, balls, tees, and a bag. There are clubs available for all budgets, whether you are an investment banker or a golf writer like myself.

If you cannot find a set of new clubs in your price range, you can turn to an excellent second-hand set.

When it comes to golf balls and tees as a beginner. I suggest purchasing as many as possible for a little as you can. You are bound to lose a lot of balls at the start, which is why you don’t want to waste money on premium products.

Onto your bag, the most affordable options are stand bags, followed by cart bags, and finally staff bags.


Again, you do not need to acquire the fanciest apparel. Make sure you have a collared shirt, soft spike shoes, and rainwear.


While nobody will force you to get coaching, I suggest beginners follow this route. A coach will help you understand the mechanics of the game. This will get you on your feet faster than players who take tips from their clueless playing partners.

Membership/ Green Fees

If capital is tight, I would suggest not taking up a membership at any course. Although it reduces the cost of the green fees, it is a lot to fork out monthly. When you start, I suggest taking it round by round before signing up to be a member.

Municipal courses are the best place to start for an affordable round of golf. As you improve and become more confident, you may be willing to increase the budget.


Those of you that intend to buy a cart or rent one every round will push up your golf expenses. If you have the budget, great. If not, I suggest walking for now.


While I am a supporter of caddies, hiring one every round quickly pushes up your expenses. However, it is worth the investment initially, as it means you will work with an individual who is knowledgeable about the course and the game. This helps you to improve faster.

Final Thoughts

At the beginning of this post, we asked is golf an expensive sport? Our aim was to see if the status quo of golf remains or whether it is more inclusive of people with lower income steams?

The reality is that golf can be an expensive sport if you play the best courses and own premium equipment. However, if you operate astutely, golf can be enjoyed without burning a hole in your wallet.

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Nick is the founder of GolfSpan and an avid golfer. He's not quite a pro but has over 15 years of experience playing and coaching golfers worldwide. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience when it comes to choosing the right golf gear and finding the right setup for your game.

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