Do you ever feel as though every time you go out to play golf, it gets more and more expensive?
Golf continues to cost more and more money each year.
Where a round of golf was once fairly priced, the pricing is now almost double what it once was.
Many golfers have a hard time justifying the price that it now costs to play golf.
This is not just high pricing at private golf country clubs, but it is also at the public golf courses.
If you are wondering why golf courses are so expensive, we have the top 10 reasons that will help you understand.
Why Are Golf Courses So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)
1. High Overhead
Golf courses have very high overhead costs.
Have you ever stopped to think about what the electric bill might be like at your local golf course?
Think about how much it costs to keep the lights on in the clubhouse or to keep the bar and grill area cool during the summertime.
In addition to the high overhead of the building, you must also consider employee costs and outdoor operations.
Even smaller golf courses have budgets well into the millions for just a single year.
Once you consider all of the overhead costs that a golf course has to pay you must consider their source of revenue.
The only revenue source for a golf course is your greens fees.
Of course, this includes card fees and golf balls you purchase at the driving range as well as some equipment that you may purchase in the golf shop.
However, all of these things need to add up to be more than the overhead cost.
Otherwise, the golf course will not be able to remain open.
As we have seen in recent years, golf courses that are not profitable have to close their doors.
This is a terrible thing for the game and can even ruin some communities.
Golf course management crews have learned to decrease overhead costs and maximize profit.
However, in order to do this, they had to raise some greens fees.
Each time you head out to play, think about the fact that you are paying part of someone’s salary, for the fertilizer it keeps the course green, and any electricity to keep the lights on.
2. Keeping Golf Course In Great Condition
A golf course that is in poor condition is not somewhere that people will want to play.
To attract golfers to the course, the greens need to be in good shape, and the fairways need to be clean and cut neatly.
Players will not return if greens are shaggy or if it is impossible to hit out of the rough because it has not been mowed.
Therefore, lots of staff members need to be hired to properly service the golf course.
The staffing needs of the golf course are pretty extensive, especially when it comes to outdoor operations and maintenance.
When trying to keep a golf course in great shape, you must consider the fact that it is constantly growing.
Every day that the golf course superintendent comes to work, they have a new golf course to deal with.
Fungi and bacteria can pop up overnight and cause issues that can take over the entire green.
The fertilizer and seed and even the water to keep the golf course looking great are very expensive.
This is a tough thing for golfers because they have to decide between paying a lot of money and playing a great golf course or a low-price round and a poorly maintained golf course.
You can be a hard decision for some people, but most golfers want great golf course conditions.
Being a golf course superintendent is a challenging and demanding job.
These golf course superintendents are highly sought after and need to be adequately compensated.
All of these things lead to higher costs at the golf club and higher-priced rounds.
3. Private Club Joining Fees
If you think that it is expensive to play public golf courses, you should try joining a private club.
Private golf clubs are even more expensive than public.
At a private golf club, you are paying a premium to only play with certain people.
This means when you try to get a tee time, or if you just want to play a few holes in the afternoon, you will not be dealing with the same type of crowds that you would have to deal with at a public golf course.
In addition, private golf courses also have been known to have better golf course conditions because the members typically take care of the golf course.
Some of these private club joining fees are tens of thousands of dollars.
Indeed, this is a lot of money to pay to just have access to a golf course.
However, this makes the pricing that you pay at all golf courses even more money.
You see, if a private course is way beyond a golfer’s budget, public golf courses can charge a little extra, and they will seem like they are a great deal.
The high pricing at private golf clubs only makes the pricing at public golf courses even higher.
The bottom line is that golf is an expensive sport unless you’re very careful about spending your money.
There are twilight rounds that are lower in price, and you can always pick up a part-time job at a golf course to try and get free golf as well.
For those who love the game, finding ways to play at a fairer price is possible.
4. Limited Amount Of Play
In the course of a day, a golf course can only let out a certain number of players.
Distances between groups on the golf course will ensure that pace of play can remain bearable.
Golf courses that try and stuff golfers out on the course will end up creating six-hour rounds of golf for their customers.
If this happens, players will not return and continue to play that golf course.
Therefore, golfers go out every eight to 10 minutes.
In addition, you have to consider the number of daylight hours.
The last group out on the golf course for the day must still have four or five hours of daylight left to be able to complete the round.
In the end, this lowers the number of players who can get in a round of golf each day.
With a limited amount of play, it also brings a limited amount of revenue.
Golf courses know what their overhead is, and they know how many rounds of golf need to be played to pay their bills.
Since only a certain number of golf rounds can fit into a day, the pricing must fit to cover the expenses of the golf course.
Of course, this speaks at a very basic level and does not take into consideration the golf courses that are probably charging more than they need to so they can make a larger profit.
However, it’s important to consider that this is a business like anything else.
5. Golf Carts
Golf carts are another reason that your next round of golf is going to be quite expensive.
Golf carts typically cost around $20 or more per person for 18 holes.
The golf course that you play usually has a rental agreement with the golf cart manufacturer.
They released these carts and have used them for several years before they traded them in.
In order to pay for the lease and give you access to the golf carts, they need to charge you for them.
In addition, some employees are in charge of taking care of these carts, so they are ready to use each time you go out to play.
Paying $50 for a round of golf may not seem all that bad.
However, when you add in the additional $25 for the golf cart costs, now you are up over $75 for your round of golf.
This is before you have a drink with friends or lose a few golf balls in the woods.
As you can see, golf courses continue to get more and more expensive.
Right now, there is a shortage of golf carts because of their popularity.
If you’re interested in purchasing one off the lot, you may wait several months before you can even get your hands on one.
Overall, golf carts add to the cost of a round of golf.
6. Employee Salaries
What is a golf course without the people who work there?
Whether it be the guy who grabs your clubs when you get to the course or the golf shop attendant who takes your money before your round of golf, course employees are essential.
To keep all of these people employed, golf courses need to collect money to pay their salaries.
The better the employees at the golf course, the better the experience you will have when you go out to play.
Overall, golf course salaries are not all that high, however, golf course employees tend to work very long hours.
This has to do with people wanting to play all weekend long and all week long.
The next time you think your round of golf is a little too expensive, try to consider the fact that you are also paying part of the employees’ salaries.
If they are doing a great job, that may make it a little easier to justify the expenses that you are looking at for your round of golf.
7. Driving Range Cost Of Upkeep
Some golf courses have a grass tee for their driving range, and others will have mats.
The mats are a little bit easier to take care of than the grass tee, but both types of driving ranges require quite a bit of maintenance.
In order to keep the driving range looking great, it requires a lot of money and a lot of time and work.
Golf courses are trying to make grass grow faster than it would naturally.
This is why it is so important to follow the rules of the driving range when you go and play.
Most golf courses with a grass tee will ask you to create all of your divots in one row.
This helps to ensure that the grass grows back faster and stronger than before.
Maintaining the driving range is expensive, and that is why a bucket of golf balls is also expensive.
Golf courses do need to offer players this type of practice facility, but in the end, it increases the cost that you pay to play a course.
Most players agree that having access to a driving range is worth the little bit of extra money that you pay for your next round of golf.
8. Taxes And Property Costs
When golfers talk about a golf course being too expensive, they often forget about fees like taxes and property costs.
A golf course sits on a very large piece of property.
In some areas, this means that they are paying property tax for all of this land.
In addition, there are also paying taxes for the building that sits on the land.
With many golf courses hosting weddings and catering events, the clubhouse is quite large.
Therefore, the tax bill is probably a lot more than you would think.
In addition, there is always a maintenance cost involved with the building and things like a new roof or air conditioner unit.
Many golf courses try to have a reserve in place that will help cover these costs if necessary.
Many people have the misconception that golf courses are making tons of money.
However, when you actually look at all of the high expenses that they have, the profit margins are very small.
This is why golf courses have no choice but to charge golfers higher greens fees.
Another expense that increases the amount of money that you pay for each round you play at a golf course is insurance.
Each golf course has to have a very large insurance policy.
Many players get hurt on a golf course.
Although you don’t think this is dangerous, it really can be.
Experienced golfers tend to be fairly safe and be aware of where they are hitting and how they’re swinging.
However, new golfers who are out there just to have a great time sometimes can be a little reckless and suffer injuries while on the golf course.
In order to prevent lawsuits and other large problems that can come with injuries, a golf course must have an extensive insurance policy.
When you go out to play, you are responsible for your own behaviors and actions.
However, the insurance policy that the golf course has will protect them in case there is an issue that comes back their way.
If you have noticed that golf courses have clear signs and information regarding safety, it is because of their insurance policy.
They must disclose the fact that it is your responsibility to stay safe while you are on the golf course.
10. People Will Pay!
Last but certainly not least is the fact that golf courses are expensive because people will pay.
Golfers love this game.
If it costs them more than $100 or $500 for a round, they’re still going to play.
Golf is an addictive sport, and once you get started, it is almost impossible to stop.
This is true even if this means spending quite a bit of your discretionary income.
Some golf courses could probably get away with charging a little bit less per round.
Think about the high-end courses that are charging over $500 or $600 per round of golf.
Clearly, the profit margins in those numbers are a bit higher than they are at your local municipal course.
People still pay.
Chances are the golf course that you play most often has increased in price through the years.
Even if the round only goes up by a dollar or two per year, after 10 years or so, your round is going to be significantly more expensive than it once was.
With inflation, cost of labor, an overall increase in non-essential activities, and their costs, golf courses are likely to stay expensive for quite some time.
Although this is frustrating, remember that your love of the game will help you justify the cost that you pay for your next round of golf.