Why is Golf So Expensive?

expensive golf course

Maybe you’ve gone golfing and realized that not only is it expensive, but it’s hard to improve your game without lots of costly equipment and practice. While golf is widely considered one of the world’s most satisfying and relaxing sports, you may wonder, why does it cost so much?

Why is golf so expensive?  Golf is costly due to the high cost of quality golf clubs, accessories, course fees, memberships, and the amount of golf that is played. Golf clubs are made from quality materials meant to last a lifetime, and courses often require membership, the cost of which reflects the club’s exclusivity. 

Golf is a sport that anyone can play, though it feels like it’s only a rich man’s game. Do not let the cost scare you. The main expense comes from the type of golf clubs you use. Though they are indeed costly, even at the lowest price, this is one place spending good money will help your game. Consider it an investment.

Otherwise, having explicit knowledge of where your money goes will help you in understanding the game and make it more enjoyable. Keep reading for a full breakdown of where your golfing cash goes.

How Much Do Golf Clubs Cost?

In a standard bag of golf clubs, you have for 14 clubs. These 14 clubs are categorized into five areas:

  • Woods, which includes the driver: The cost of a new driver starts at $50 and could go all the way up to a top of the line club at $1,900.
  • Irons: New irons can range from as low as $400 and go as high as $1,200. Sometimes, they are even more than $1,200.
  • Hybrids: New Hybrid clubs can start as low as $99 and go as high as $199.
  • Wedges: New Wedges could start as low as $150 and go as high as $600.
  • Putters: Putters could start as low as $50 and as high as $300.

Each of these types of clubs varies significantly in price. The cheapest ones will allow you to build up your set for little money. If you only play as a casual golfer, you could get a standard set for as low as $200. If you want to add a few better clubs in your collection, you can still get them for about $400.

Woods typically come in three different types: Driver, 3-wood, and 5-wood. They can get expensive; however, they can also be somewhat affordable. A new driver starts at $50, and it could be as expensive as $1,900. There are great budget drivers on the market that can save a lot of money in this department. The TaylorMade Men’s RBZ Driver is a great budget option that you can purchase at Amazon for around $200.

In every standard set of golf clubs, the driver is usually the most expensive one. If money is the issue, you can find any of these for under $100 each. However, the best drivers will cost a little more money and are usually over $200.

What Materials are Used to Make Golf Clubs?

What determines the cost of a golf club is the materials they are made from. Some materials are cheaper to get and allow for more affordable golf clubs to be made. While other materials are more expensive to obtain and creates for a more expensive club.

Some of the more expensive golf clubs are made from Titanium, as it provides the most durability. Pro golfers usually use these types of golf clubs. Some of the other materials are:

  • Aluminum
  • Zinc
  • Carbon Graphite
  • Stainless Steel

Golf clubs are made to last. The durability of your clubs is greatly affected by the materials used for them. If you are a casual golfer, you may be ok with clubs made from Zinc. However, if you are a professional, you will want to stick with Titanium.

How Long Will a Golf Club Last?

How long your golf clubs will last are based on the maintenance. The lifecycle of your golf clubs usually will last from three years to a lifetime. If you take care of them and make repairs, they will last longer. The materials your golf clubs are made from will also make a difference.

Pro golfers will buy Titanium golf clubs. Titanium clubs are among the most expensive.

How Frequent Should You Replace Your Golf Clubs?

Most golfers replace their golf clubs every four years. However, if you are only a casual golfer, you may not need to replace them for 12 or more years. How often you will buy new golf clubs will depend on how well you take care of them. According to statistics found on Golf Support:

  • 7% of golfers will replace their golf clubs every 12 months.
  • 2% of golfers will replace their golf clubs every 2 years.
  • 17% of golfers will change their golf clubs every 3 years.
  • About 31% of golfers change their golf clubs every 4 years.
  • About 43% of golfers change their golf clubs after they hit the 4-year mark.

The Basic Golf Accessories and Their Costs

It does not matter if you have been playing golf for a long time or just starting, you need some necessary accessories. Some of these items are essential where others you may be able to get by without at first.

ItemReasonMinimum PriceMaximum Price
Golf BagYou will need a bag to carry all your golf clubs and gear.$100$650
Golf BallsYou will need golf balls to play the sport—these prices are for 12 balls.$10 per dozen$50 per dozen
Golf TeesTees are used for hitting the balls from and will vary depending on the size of your bag.$5$10
Golf GlovesGloves will give you a better grip so you can hold onto your club without it flying out of your hands.$10$20
Divot / Ball Mark Repair ToolThis is essential for all golfers to fix divots and ball marks on the green.$5$20
Retractable Club BrushIt does not matter if you have the brush in or on your bag, but this is highly important for anybody wanting to start golfing.$5$20
Golf TowelHaving a good towel is essential for wiping down your clubs, hands, etc.$8$30
Weather GearMany golfers keep playing when it starts to rain.  This is important to have for those cases.  These prices include pants and a jacket.$15$100

How Much Are Golf Fees and Memberships?

Now that you have golf clubs and accessories, you may want a place to play golf. The public golf courses typically charge $40-60 for a round of 18-holes with a cart. This is an average cost, and it’s not uncommon for courses to charge $100 or even $300-500 for prestigious golf courses.

For those looking for something a little more private, you could try a private club. These clubs can be expensive. The minimum price will start around $1,000 a year and go up to $5,000 per year. That would average about $100 to $400 per month. However, for the most elite club membership, the price could be as much as $100,000 per year.

If you’re a fresh face on the course, you might also consider getting lessons that can cost you anywhere from $30 to $70 per hour for one-on-one time with a trainer (link to Lessons.com to find lessons near you.)

Why Do They Call Golf a Rich Man’s Sport?

Golf is one of the more expensive sports in the world. The cost of golf clubs can be in the thousands. Then you add the value of your club membership and all the other equipment you need to play. Don’t forget lessons if you are brand new to the sport. Whether you’re taking up golf to fit in at work, to relax, or because you retired and everyone says you have to play golf now, know that it’s going to lighten your wallet. 

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Joe Morelli

Joe Morelli is the founder of TopRankGolf, a passionate golfer with decades of experience playing this amazing sport. He's dedicated to helping golfers learn, improve and enjoy the game of golf.