How Much Does A Round Of Golf Cost On Average

Golfing, a sport beloved by many, yet the costs can be as varied as the courses themselves.

On average, expect to pay around $61 for an 18-hole round with a cart on weekends; keep reading to dive into what influences these prices and how to play without breaking the bank.

The Basics of Golfing Costs

Navigating the green doesn't just involve skill and precision—it also requires an understanding of the costs involved.

Whether you're a seasoned golfer or someone looking to hit the links for the first time, knowing what you'll need to budget for a round of golf is crucial.

Understanding Golf Course Fees

Golf course fees are the cornerstone of golfing expenses and can vary widely based on several factors, including the location, the prestige of the course, and the time of week you choose to play.

  • 18-hole Rounds: On average, playing an 18-hole round of golf in the United States with a cart on the weekend will cost around $61. However, the median cost is slightly lower at $49, indicating that while some courses may charge more, there are plenty of options available at or below this price point.
  • 9-hole Rounds: For those looking for a quicker game or perhaps are new to golf, the average cost for nine holes averages at $33, with the median cost at $26. This is a great way to enjoy the game without committing to a full round or if time is limited.
  • Weekdays vs. Weekends: Generally, playing on a weekday can save you money. Courses often charge premium rates on weekends due to higher demand. If your schedule allows, booking a tee time from Monday to Thursday can lead to significant savings.

Walking Rounds vs. Cart Fees

The choice between walking the course or riding in a cart can also affect your overall costs.

  • Walking Rounds: Opting to walk the course is not only good for your health but also your wallet. In some areas, walking rounds can cost between $20-35, significantly less than those requiring a cart. Moreover, some courses offer rates as low as $10 per round, or even free, in exchange for volunteering at the course.
  • Cart Fees: The convenience of a golf cart comes with added costs. However, considering the additional fee against the physical benefits of walking and the potential savings might sway your decision, especially on courses where carts are not mandatory.

Seasonal Variations in Golfing Costs

Seasons play a significant role in the pricing of golf rounds, particularly in regions with varying climates.

  • Hotter Climates: In places like Florida, golf rates can be significantly cheaper during the summer months. The heat and humidity reduce demand, leading courses to lower their prices to attract more players. It's not uncommon to find rates as low as $10 including a cart during these off-peak times.
  • Off-Season Deals: Similarly, courses in colder climates may offer reduced rates during the shoulder season or winter months (if open), providing an opportunity for hardy golfers to enjoy the game at a fraction of the price.

Golfing on a Budget

Golf doesn't have to be a luxury sport reserved for the elite.

With the right strategies, enjoying a day on the greens can be both rewarding and affordable.

From choosing the right type of course to optimizing your tee time, there are numerous ways to make golfing more accessible.

Public vs. Private Courses

The choice between public and private courses is a significant factor in golfing expenses.

Here's what you need to know:

  • Public Courses: These are owned and operated by municipal entities or are privately owned but open to the public. They are the go-to option for budget-conscious golfers, offering lower fees compared to their private counterparts. Public courses vary widely in quality and maintenance levels, but many provide an excellent golfing experience at a fraction of the cost.
  • Private Courses: Membership in private clubs comes with higher costs, including initiation fees, monthly dues, and often a minimum spending requirement in the clubhouse or pro shop. The perks include exclusive access, meticulously maintained courses, and additional amenities such as swimming pools, tennis courts, and dining facilities. If you're considering a private club, weigh the cost against how often you'll use the facilities and whether the networking opportunities and social aspects justify the expense.

Finding the Best Twilight Rates

Playing golf during twilight hours—late afternoon until dusk—is a savvy way to save money. Here are tips to capitalize on twilight rates:

  • Research and Compare: Many courses offer significant discounts for twilight tee times. Rates can drop dramatically, making this one of the best deals for budget golfers.
  • Book in Advance: Twilight times are popular among cost-conscious and casual golfers alike. Book your spot early to secure your savings.
  • Flexibility is Key: Being flexible with your schedule can lead to enjoying these rates more frequently. Some courses even offer “super twilight” rates for the last few hours of daylight, which are even cheaper.

Golf Simulators: An Affordable Alternative

For those facing inclement weather or wanting to practice without spending hours on the course, golf simulators present a cost-effective solution:

  • Cost Overview: An hour on a golf simulator costs around $35 on average, significantly less than many rounds on actual courses, especially when considering the additional savings on cart fees and travel expenses.
  • Practice and Play: Simulators are not just for fun; they're a legitimate way to improve your game. With advanced technology, players can receive instant feedback on every shot, analyze their performance, and even play virtual rounds on famous courses around the world.
  • Social and League Play: Many facilities offer leagues and tournaments using simulators, providing a competitive and social element during the off-season or for those looking to play after work.

Equipment and Accessory Costs

Embarking on the golfing journey or taking your game to the next level involves more than just green fees; the gear you use plays a pivotal role in your experience and performance.

Understanding the costs associated with golf equipment and accessories is essential for budgeting and making informed decisions about your investments in the sport.

Getting Started: The Cost of Golf Clubs

For those new to golf, navigating the world of golf clubs can be daunting.

The initial investment in a set of golf clubs varies widely, depending on brand, quality, and whether you're buying new or used.

Beginners can find complete sets designed for entry-level players ranging between $200 and $500.

These sets typically include everything you need to get started: a driver, a couple of woods, irons, a putter, and sometimes even a hybrid or two, which can be more forgiving than traditional long irons.

As your skills improve and your commitment to the game deepens, you might consider upgrading to more advanced clubs.

For seasoned players, investing in high-quality clubs from top brands can exceed $1,000, with the price of a single high-end driver sometimes reaching as much as $500 alone.

Custom fitting sessions, which tailor clubs to your specific swing and body type, can further enhance your performance but also add to the cost.

Ongoing Costs: Golf Balls and Accessories

Beyond the clubs, the recurring expenses of golf balls, gloves, bags, and tees add up over time.

Golf balls can be a significant ongoing cost, especially for those still learning the game and prone to losing a few balls per round.

Beginners should opt for more affordable balls, which can cost under $25 for a dozen.

As players improve, they may consider investing in higher-quality, more durable balls that offer better control and spin, though these can come with a higher price tag.

Gloves, essential for grip and preventing blisters, typically need to be replaced several times a year and cost around $12 each.

A durable and functional golf bag is another necessary investment, with prices around $175 for a model that can comfortably hold all your clubs and accessories.

While tees are relatively inexpensive, they're purchased regularly, adding to the overall cost of playing.

Renting vs. Buying Equipment

For those unsure about committing to golf or playing infrequently, renting clubs at the course can be a cost-effective option.

Rental fees vary but can offer a way to experience different types of clubs without the upfront investment.

Renting is particularly appealing for travelers or those playing on courses away from home.

However, for regular players, purchasing equipment becomes more economical over time.

Owning your clubs allows for a consistent playing experience, and over the long run, the cost per round decreases compared to the recurring rental fees.

Plus, having your own set opens the opportunity for customization and adjustments that match your playing style and physical needs.

Strategic Planning for Golfers

Strategic planning is key for golfers who aim to enjoy the sport while managing their expenses wisely.

Whether you're a weekend warrior, a budding enthusiast, or a seasoned player with ambitions of lowering your handicap, understanding how to budget for the game can enhance your experience and ensure that your passion for golf is sustainable over the long term.

Annual Expenses for Regular Golfers

For those who hit the links frequently, annual expenses can add up quickly.

Regular golfers must consider not just the cost of rounds but also the ancillary expenses that come with serious play.

Green fees alone, assuming a golfer plays 40 rounds a year at an average cost of $60 per round, can total around $2,400.

This figure doesn't include the costs for practice sessions at the driving range, replacement golf balls, upgraded equipment, or travel to different courses.

Memberships at driving ranges or practice facilities can also contribute to annual costs but may offer savings for those who practice multiple times per week.

Additionally, golfers should budget for the periodic replacement of clubs or the re-gripping of existing ones, which can significantly impact overall expenses.

For regular players, the annual expenditure can easily exceed $3,000 when all factors are considered.

Membership vs. Pay-Per-Play

Deciding between a golf club membership and paying per round (pay-per-play) is a significant strategic choice for regular golfers.

Memberships come with a higher upfront cost, including initiation fees and monthly dues, but offer unlimited access to the course, practice facilities, and often additional amenities.

For golfers who play several times a week, a membership can be more cost-effective in the long run, providing a lower cost per round than paying as you go.

However, memberships make the most financial sense for those committed to playing frequently and taking full advantage of the club's facilities.

Pay-per-play remains a flexible option for those with less predictable schedules, offering the freedom to play various courses without the commitment of a membership.

Golfers should assess their frequency of play, desire for variety, and the value of additional club amenities before deciding which option best suits their lifestyle and budget.

International Golfing Costs

Golfing costs can vary dramatically around the globe, influenced by factors such as the cost of living, the popularity of golf in the country, and the availability of courses.

In regions where golf is a growing sport, such as some Asian countries, green fees can be surprisingly affordable, with rounds costing as little as $20 to $25.

Conversely, in traditional golfing nations like Scotland or Ireland, playing on historic or championship courses can be a premium experience with correspondingly high fees.

Additionally, international golf travel involves considerations beyond just green fees, including travel costs, equipment transport, and accommodations.

Golfers looking to play internationally should research specific destinations and courses to budget effectively, considering package deals or golf travel agencies that can offer value and convenience.

Saving Money Without Sacrificing Experience

Golfing is a passion that doesn't have to drain your wallet.

With strategic choices and a bit of insider knowledge, it's entirely possible to enjoy the sport while keeping costs manageable.

Making informed decisions about when and where you play, how you engage with the golfing community, and taking advantage of unique opportunities can lead to significant savings without compromising the quality of your golfing experience.

Leveraging Off-Peak Times and Seasons

One of the most effective strategies for saving money on golf is to play during off-peak times and seasons.

Many courses offer discounted rates during late afternoons, known as twilight rates, which can be substantially lower than fees charged during prime morning and early afternoon tee times.

Additionally, playing golf during shoulder seasons—the periods just before and after the peak golf season—can also yield lower prices.

Courses in hot climates often lower their fees in the summer to attract players despite the heat, while courses in cooler regions might offer discounts in late fall or early spring.

Booking tee times during these less busy times not only saves money but often results in a quicker and more relaxed round, as courses are less crowded.

Volunteering at Golf Courses

An innovative way to immerse yourself in the golfing world while saving on play is to volunteer at local golf courses.

Many courses need volunteers for various tasks, such as serving as marshals, starters, or helping with course maintenance.

In exchange for a few hours of your time, courses often offer free or discounted rounds of golf.

This arrangement not only helps reduce your playing expenses but also deepens your connection to the golfing community and enriches your understanding of the game from an operational perspective.

Volunteering can be a particularly appealing option for retirees or those with flexible schedules who can dedicate time during weekdays.

Joining Golfing Communities

Becoming part of a golfing community, whether through a local club, online forums, or social media groups, can offer numerous benefits beyond camaraderie and shared tips.

Members of these communities often share information about deals, discounts, and promotions at courses locally and nationally.

Some communities organize group outings where costs are shared, leading to reduced rates for everyone involved.

Additionally, online forums and social media groups dedicated to golfing frequently host discussions on the best budget-friendly equipment, trading and selling used gear, and strategies for affordable golf travel.

Engaging with these communities not only helps you save money but also connects you with like-minded individuals who share your passion for golf.


Embracing strategic planning and savvy approaches to golfing allows for a balance between passion and practicality.

By understanding the nuances of golf expenses, leveraging opportunities for savings, and engaging with the golf community, players can enjoy the rich experiences the sport offers without overburdening their budgets.

These strategies ensure that the love for golf is both sustainable and fulfilling, proving that the game can be accessible to enthusiasts at all levels and financial backgrounds.