Nov 03, 2022
POSTED BY: Nicholas Venditti

Why Is Golf So Expensive?

Watching tournaments like the Masters can inspire many new people to take up golf. Unfortunately, many quickly become discouraged once they realize it might cost them an arm and a leg to do so. 

It’s no secret that golf is expensive, considering the clubs, bags, balls, fees, and training you’ll need. 

However, there are ways around the high costs. If you’re wondering why golf is so expensive, we’ve broken down the various costs for you, so you’re not shocked by the costs later. 

How Much Does the Average Person Spend on Golf? 

The equipment, attire, training, and club fees can add up quickly. However, knowing what you’re paying for the various ranges in these expenses can help you assess whether it’s worth it.

Coaching and Mentoring

Like any sport, golf requires a lot of skill, precision, and practice. The fastest way to learn and improve your skills is to take golf lessons. Depending on your level, there will be different things you’ll learn from a coach. 

In the early stages, proper training will prevent you from forming bad habits and keep you motivated to stay consistent in the sport. Intermediate players need to make game-specific tweaks that can make a massive difference in their swings and scores. 

The cost of golf lessons varies by the lesson type, length, and the coach’s experience. Here are the typical costs for each lesson type: 

  • Private lessons: $25 to $75 or even up to $100 to $150 per hour session 
  • Group lessons: $20 to $40 per hour 
  • Partnered playing lessons: $150 to $300 per two-hour session

Golf Equipment

Whether you purchase a basic set of clubs or a custom-fitted one, you’ll need many standard clubs, such as drivers, woods, irons, wedges, and putters. Under each set, there are more specific categories, such as 3-9 iron, sand wedges, etc. 

Here’s an estimated cost of each club: 

  • Drivers: These clubs drive the ball far. Depending on the material, they cost between $100 and $600. 
  • Irons: Irons are numbered between 1 to 9 and provide a mix between distance and accuracy. They range between $50 and $150. 
  • Woods: They have rounded faces and smaller heads designed to hit the golf ball off the ground. They cost between $50 and $400.
  • Hybrid: These clubs have an iron’s accuracy combined with Hybrid’s ease of hitting. They cost between $50 and $200.
  • Putters: Putters have a flat face under 10 degrees of loft, made for hitting the ball in the greens. They cost between $50 and $300.

It’s always cheaper to purchase a golf set rather than individual clubs. The cost varies depending on your handicap. Beginner sets may cost between $250 and $600, while mid-handicappers can expect to pay about $680 and $1500 since they come with more clubs, such as a lob, sand wedge, and hybrid clubs. 

Advanced players can pay between $1,300 to $2,000 for higher-end clubs with a soft feel of blades and a forged design for better spin control and workability. 

Golf Attire

Generally, golf attire can cost several hundred dollars, especially if you buy multiple tops, pants, and shoes. You’ll need to buy golf pants, shorts, and other accessories, including belts, hats, and gloves. 

Here’s a list of what to expect to pay for golf attire: 

  • Shoes: A new pair of shoes from reputable brands will likely cost $100 but generally last a long time. 
  • Gloves: These aren’t a requirement but are recommended. Gloves protect your hand from blisters with gloves and prevent sweat from affecting your grip. They can cost about $10 to $15. 
  • Pants: Pants should be flexible and comfortable to play in and walk around the course. Depending on the quality, they can cost between $30 and $80 per pair. Some pants, like the Sterling 5 Pocket Pants, have water-repellent finishes to prevent spills and keep you cool. 
  • Shirts: Golf button-ups, shirts, and polos will vary. Some can cost as low as $10, while others can be $60 or more. Shirts shouldn’t feel super tight or baggy. It should be breathable and allow for a full range of motion on your swing.
  • Hats: Hats can keep the sun out of your eyes when playing. STITCH hats with moisture-wicking material cost $36. 
  • Belts: Belts like the Saltwater Cock Paint Splatter belt keep your pants up but can also add style to your wardrobe. Depending on the material and style, they can cost as low as $20 or much more. 

Green Fees and Memberships

Green fees are the fee you must pay at the clubhouse or pro shop to receive access to the course. However, typically you can pre-pay your green fees by getting an annual pass by buying a membership at a private course or an annual pass at a public course. On average, green fees cost about $80 to play 18 holes of golf on the weekends. 

The membership fee typically allows members to access the course without paying the green fee. They also gain access to other facilities such as the workout facility, tennis, and swimming pool. 

Many aspects go into the structure of membership fees, such as: 

  • Initiation costs: This one-time fee ranges between $2,000 and $100,000. However, you can generally break them up into manageable payments. 
  • Food and beverage minimums: It’s common for clubs to instill a $50 and $150 per month minimum on food and beverages. 
  • Annual dues: Annual fees range between $3,000 to $10,000 per year, depending on the membership type. 
  • Miscellaneous fees: Some clubs will have ancillary amenities not included in the annual or monthly dues. For example, locker rental, club storage, and cart fees can sometimes cost extra. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Here are the most commonly asked questions about golf costs. 

Why Is Golf Getting So Expensive?

The popularity of golf has been surging for the last few years. According to the National Golf Foundation, nearly ⅓ of the US population plays golf. 

The game's growth comes at a price, meaning that clubhouses are changing their fee structure and raising their green fees. Some clubhouses even charge higher rates to play during peak hours. 

The increased cost comes from these facilities needing large maintenance staff to service the new influx of golfers and upgrades to improve their facilities. 

How Much Does It Cost a Year to Play Golf?

Golf is undoubtedly an expensive sport to play. With the costs of membership fees, green fees, golf clubs, golf balls, attire, and even coaching, it can feel like you’re spending a fortune. 

Of course, there are ways to play on a budget, such as not spending on attire or not having to hire a mentor. However, the better you get, and the more frequently you play, the more likely you’ll want to upgrade to better equipment, coaching, and even higher-end facilities. 

Below we’ve broken down the items and the costs associated with them. 

  • Coaching and mentorship: $1,560 to $3,640 ($30 to $70 per hour, assuming you take 1-hour golf lesson once per week for 52 weeks in a year) 
  • Equipment: Basic golf club sets cost between $200 and $400 with the bag included, and higher-end sets cost between $800 and $2500. 
  • Attire: $200 - $1000
  • Green fees and membership: Varies significantly based on the type of club. Private is more expensive than semi-private and public clubhouses. We’ve mentioned the range above; however, on average, an individual club membership fee is about $520 per month or $6,250 per year, not including the initiation fee of several thousand dollars or miscellaneous fees and food and beverage minimums. 

While it’s difficult to calculate the exact numbers, you can expect to pay over $10,000, if not upwards of $15,000, or $20,000 per year if you decide to pay for everything. Obviously, the highest costs are the membership fees and coaching. If you’re a hobbyist who plays casually every few weeks, your cost will be much lower, perhaps only several thousand dollars.

So, Is Golf Actually Expensive?

Golf is expensive because of the high cost of equipment, coaching, equipment, attire, and membership fees. As you improve your skills, you’ll want to upgrade your equipment by getting the latest game-improving technologies.

It’s important to consider whether you’re taking golf seriously or just as a hobby. You’ll have to weigh your options and determine whether the expenses are worth it based on your needs. 

For golf attire that is pro-level in quality but affordable in price, shop STITCH today.