If you are tired of how much it can cost to play golf, there are some ways you may be able to avoid your next greens fee.
Unfortunately, golf is just an expensive sport all around.
Finding free ways to play golf may take a bit of your time and energy, but if golf is your passion, it will be well worth it!
Here are our top ten ways to play golf for free.
How to Golf for Free (Top 10 Ways)
1. Get a Job at the Golf Course
The number one way to get free golf is to get a job at a golf course.
A golf course needs quite a few employees, and they almost always let their employees play golf for free.
You will find that you will be working with a lot of other people who love golf when you work at a golf course.
Sometimes the golf course will allow the office staff, grounds crew, and even the kitchen staff to play the golf course as well.
You don’t necessarily have to be a golf professional to get a job at a golf course.
You may want to consider being a marshal or a caddy at a course as well.
These jobs are not going to be full-time jobs, but they could still earn you both money and a round at the course.
Golf course jobs don’t always pay all that much, but when you consider the fact that you will also get free golf, the benefits are really good.
Make sure that, when you apply for the job, you find out what the rules are about employee golf.
Some courses will restrict employees to play on Mondays.
Other courses will allow employees to play but not until after 5 pm or so each day.
Make sure that, whatever your career is, it will not interfere with the free golf you are offered by the golf course.
Another great thing about this way to play free golf is that you can look for a job at a specific course you know you would like to play.
Many times, the only way a person can get on a private golf course is to work there.
2. Make a Trade
For business owners, there are lots of opportunities out there for a free round of golf from time to time.
If you have a service or a product that you offer, you can potentially help the golf course out and get paid back in free golf.
Some people will offer to be the electrician for a private country club in exchange for a membership.
Maybe you own a restaurant, and you can give the golf course a discount on any catering they need in exchange for golf.
There are hundreds of ways this can be worked out, and it’s something that those who own a small business should seriously consider.
When you make a trade, make sure you are fair about what you are offering and what the golf course should give you.
There are lots of great ways you can work out this deal, and many people would rather work off their golf than have to pay for it.
If you do this at a private club, make sure you have some agreement as to how long your membership will last.
3. Frequent Player Card
A frequent player card will allow you to keep track of your rounds of golf and earn a free round.
Many local golf courses have this setup.
If you play ten rounds of golf, you can get one for free.
Some frequent player card programs are better than others, and it is essential to find one that will work for how often you play.
If you only play ten times a year, the rounds may expire before you get a chance to redeem the rewards.
Also, make sure to see if rounds played at any time of day will count and if nine-hole rounds count.
If you only play nine-hole rounds, maybe you can work out a way to get a nine-hole round for free after several of them.
Golf courses usually have rather strict rules about these frequent player cards.
However, if you love a certain golf course, this card will be a great way to earn some free rounds of golf.
4. Golf Course Secret Shopper
Being a golf course secret shopper is a great gig if you can get it.
You have to find a company that has a program and an opening in its program.
What happens when you are a golf course secret shopper is that your round of golf will be paid in exchange for feedback on the golf course.
After your round, you will likely have to fill out a survey detailing how your round went.
In addition to having your golf paid for, you may also get some money for the information you provide to the company.
For instance, you could have your greens fees and cart paid and make an additional $20 or $50.
This is a great gig if you can get it.
The difficult thing is finding a job like this.
There are many more willing participants than there are golf course surveys and feedback companies.
The benefit of your feedback for these courses is that the golf course does not know that you are a secret shopper.
They will have no opportunity to treat you any better than they treat other golfers to skew the results of their reviews and surveys.
This is truly the fairest way to analyze what a golf course is really like, and that is why the feedback becomes so valuable.
5. Find a Free Golf Course
You may think this one is a joke, but it is not.
There are free golf courses that exist all over the world.
Some of these golf courses will be part of a college, and others will just be an asset to a community.
For the most part, you cannot expect that these golf courses are going to have pristine conditions.
You will probably be dealing with some greens that need a little TLC or rough that hasn’t been cut in a while, but it’s free golf!
Some areas of the country do not have golf courses that are entirely free, but they may have certain times of the day when you can walk the course for free.
Also, there are some local golf courses that will run specials where you can play golf essentially for free.
They do this to expose their golf course to the public.
A course that is having a difficult time getting people to play may do a free nine-hole round to let you see how great the course is.
Once you see everything the golf course has to offer, chances are you will be much more likely to come back and pay for golf another day.
Keep an eye out for events like this, especially in the off season.
If your local golf courses have email lists, it may make sense to sign up so you don’t miss out on a sale or a promotion.
6. Try Out a New Golf Course
One way to get a free round of golf is to go try out a new private club in your area.
The membership director at the club will very likely give you a round of golf for free so you can see if you want to join the course.
You can fully expect to go through a sales presentation, be asked questions about your ability to join, and potentially have to sit through a few meetings.
If this is something that makes sense for you to do or you have some actual interest in joining the club, then this is a great way to earn free golf.
The chances are that, with a deal like this, you will soon be paying quite a bit more for every round you play.
Most private clubs offer the free round of golf because the cost to join is so high that they offer it as a courtesy.
You may also have to know a member of the club to even be able to get in.
Although this is undoubtedly a way to get free golf, it’s clearly not at the top of our list.
7. Live in a Community with Free Golf
Some communities offer golf as an amenity.
Many golf communities around the world require you to pay a homeowners’ association fee and golf club dues.
However, there are some that include golf as part of the homeowners’ association.
Sometimes these golf courses are more of the executive course length or a pitch-and-putt type golf course.
However, free golf is free golf!
If you know you play a lot and you want access to a golf course, it makes sense to move to a community where you get some free golf.
Chances are you will have a lower monthly bill because of your HOA covering all of your greens fees.
These communities can be a bit tricky to find, but they certainly are out there if this is a lifestyle that makes sense for you.
8. Make a Deal with a Friend
Here is a great way to earn some free golf.
Do you have a trade or a service you could offer a friend?
Does that friend also belong to a private country club?
Maybe you can work out a deal where you help your friend by fixing up their master bathroom, and they give you some rounds of golf at their local course.
Certainly, your friend has to be open to this deal, but if you both like to golf, it could be a great arrangement to set up.
Make sure you are being fair about your offer and check the rules of the private golf course for guest play.
Sometimes a member can only have the same guest to the golf course a certain number of times per year.
If your friend offers to take you out 20 times, the golf course may say that it is not a possibility.
9. Become a Golf Course Promoter
Do you have a large following on social media?
If you have a large following of people, you can potentially become a golf course promoter.
You will try to help the golf course become more popular and gain a larger following.
There are lots of ways you can set up a deal like this.
One way is to come up with a link on your profile.
If people use the link to book a round of golf at a course, then you can earn some extra golfing money or rounds of golf.
You could go to the golf course and talk to them about a deal for promoting the course.
For instance, you could say you are going to do ten posts about the course and why people should play there, and they could give you ten rounds of golf.
Of course, if you only have seven people following your account, you really have nothing to stand on when it comes to being a promotor.
However, if you have tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of people who follow your every move on Instagram, you now have some bargaining power.
Do some reading on these types of deals, and the best way to structure this so that you end up making it fair for yourself.
It’s hard to exactly estimate the power of social media, but there is no doubt that it is powerful.
10. Volunteer at the Golf Course
Last on our list is the good old-fashioned volunteer work.
If you can volunteer at a golf course, they may give you some rounds of golf.
There are probably lots of ways you can volunteer.
Maybe you can weed the front gardens.
You could pick the range on a day when the golf course is closed.
You might help to paint the locker rooms.
You will have to contact the people in charge of the golf course and see what kind of a deal you can arrange.
The chances of you working out a deal like this are going to depend largely on who owns the golf courses, where it is located, and what work they may need done.
Chances are, if you try and volunteer somewhere like Augusta National, they will turn you down rather quickly.
However, a community course or a local town course may find your help to be beneficial and necessary.
Think about some projects you could help with or some skills you have prior to trying to work out your deal.
If you go in looking for free golf, but you don’t have any idea how you are going to give back to the golf club, you are not likely to be all that successful.
Hopefully, our guide has helped you determine some ways you may be able to play golf for a much lower price.
There are ways to play golf for less.
It should be a sport anyone can enjoy.