Is Golf a Rich Man’s Sport?

This is one of the most common questions found online about golf and for a good reason. For decades, golf has been portrayed in movies and tv shows as a sport for rich men only. Truth is, it isn’t just for the rich anymore and it most certainly isn’t exclusively for men.

Anyone who’s interested in playing golf should do a little bit of research first to learn more about the prices of the sport. The equipment required to play can get quite expensive, not to mention the course fees or membership fees, plus the mandatory dress code of some courses. On top of that, most people consider taking up golf lessons. Yes, it all adds up. However, if you are a beginner, you probably won’t need to spend that much money -at least for the first few months.

Is Golf an Expensive Game?

Yes, golf can be expensive. In fact, it’s considered one of the most expensive sports in the world. The good news is you can start small and little by little you can upgrade your gear. You won’t need to pay costly membership fees right from the start. There are plenty of public courses where you can play 18 holes for less than $70, or simply stop by the range to improve your swing.

Gone were the days when people stopped to check if you had the best golf clubs and fancy clothes at the course. Nowadays, golf is much more inclusive, and pretty much every regular golfer will be excited to see new people interested in the sport. It’s also not uncommon to get help or tips from experienced golfers if you are struggling with a particular hole. You can bet they won’t bat an eye if you don’t have the best equipment at your disposal.

Why Is Golf Associated with Wealth?

Golf is not a rich man’s sport anymore, but it’s still associated with wealth. Up until the 1970s, you had to be a member of a golf club to be able to play, or at least know someone with a membership and get invited to the course. That’s why for a long time the sport was only played by the rich. The golf course was an excellent place to get to know people with power, money, or status.

Talking about business and politics during a friendly match became a custom. Additionally, the dress codes used to be very strict and inflexible. If that wasn’t enough, even a more serious behavior was expected from the golfers the minute they stepped on the green.

Even now that golf is more popular than ever and much more inclusive, some customs remain. Some public courses and most golf clubs keep a dress code. It’s less restrictive nowadays, but there are some unspoken rules about what to wear and what not to wear to a golf game.

You can find all kinds of people on the course and it’s still a fantastic place to make contacts. Networking is indispensable for business and many decide to take up the sport just for that reason. Golf and business are a perfect match, no doubt about it.

How Much Does It Cost to Play Golf?

Golf Club Costs

A beginner set can cost you $250. It will normally include the bag. Your clubs will last for years, even more than a decade depending on how much you play. Still, if you treat them well, even if you play regularly, they shouldn’t deteriorate enough to make them unusable.

If you want a more complete set, with better quality materials and more weight, you can buy them for $1000 or more. These will definitely last for decades under the right conditions and golfers treat them with huge respect.

“If you’re caught on a golf course during a storm and are afraid of lightning, hold up a 1-iron. Not even God can hit a 1-iron.” – Lee Trevino

It’s quite common for beginners to buy used clubs, but it’s a good idea to inspect them personally and make sure they are in a good shape.

Other Golf Equipment Costs

Another big expense you will need to start golfing is a bag to carry around your clubs and the rest of the equipment. If you buy a set of golf clubs, they will probably include the bag. For those who prefer to buy the clubs separately, it is essential to get a carrying bag. They go from $50 to $300. Keep in mind that you will be doing a lot of walking under the sun so your bag must be comfortable to carry.

The next piece of equipment will be the golf gloves. You will probably make hundreds of swings a week and if you don’t have the proper gloves, your hands will blister. They also provide a better grip, which is particularly important if you are a beginner. These aren’t very expensive, but they do wear out quicker than you’d think. For $20 you can buy a decent glove that should last for a few months.

Golf Clothes

Even if there isn’t a dress code, you should still look the part. Golf is a game of the mind too and you wouldn’t want to feel out of place surrounded by golfers with the proper attire. Having said that, you simply need to wear something fresh and comfortable.

Most major sportswear brands have a golf line, and the predominant piece of clothing you will find in the golf section will be polo shirts. You can have fun with the wide range of colors and patterns available. There are hundreds of entries online about golf fashion and you can easily find inspiration by watching other golfers around you.

Greens Fees And Membership Fees

This part sometimes discourages beginners, especially if they are looking to join a golf club. Membership fees can be prohibitively expensive, but the golf range and public courses are more than enough.

At the range, you can get a bucket of golf balls (40 – 60 balls) for less than $10. There usually isn’t a time limit, so you can take as long as you need to go through the bucket and practice your swing. Beginners will probably spend a lot of time there, but it is a fun activity and the first step before entering the green.

Golf course fees can vary depending on where you are. On average, a round of golf is $60 (per person). Each round lasts approximately 4 hours. You can play 9 holes instead and cut that fee by half. Being able to play 18 holes takes months of practice outside the course, so you probably won’t need to spend much money on course fees at the beginning.

Final Thoughts

While the stigma of golf being for the wealthy as well as being expensive do have their merit, golf has come a long way in the past couple decades. Golf culture has become more inclusive and there are a ton of options for affordable golf clubs and gear. Don’t let these old stigmas of golf stop you from taking up the sport. It’s a fun game for all!

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