Why Is Golf So Expensive? (8 Major Reasons)

It’s an unfortunate truth that the game of golf is an expensive one. Even when you try to play twilight and update your golf clubs every 7 years instead of every 5, it’s not a cheap sport. 

Many players are really smart about finding ways around the high prices, but it’s still tough to find that extra money to play sometimes. But why is golf so expensive?

Why Is Golf So Expensive?

If you have ever wondered why it is that golf is so expensive, we have you covered. 

Course Maintenance

Course Maintenance is expensive on a beautiful course

One of the most overlooked reasons why golf is so expensive is golf course maintenance. Taking care of a golf course is incredibly expensive, and it will not get any cheaper. 

Not only are there tons of staff members to pay, but the chemicals and water are also costly. 

Some golf courses have a small budget for keeping the golf course looking good, and those courses are generally cheaper to play. The problem, of course, is that the quality of the golf course and the condition is considerably worse. 

Golf course maintenance makes your greens fees more expensive, but it also makes them worth paying for. 


Golf courses are pretty strict about who they hire. Most of the time, the people that work at a golf course are professionals, and many are incredible golfers. 

Patrons of that golf course love having staff that understand the game and live for it in the same way they do. 

However, these staff members that have trained and worked to get to the position they are in are not going to be cheap. Some golf professionals make a really good living, and they earn the money they make. 

In addition, most golf courses have kitchen staff, golf cart staff, and golf course maintenance. This adds up to a lot of personnel to help maintain the entire course and keep customers happy. 

Equipment Updates

Wouldn’t it be great if you could buy a set of golf clubs and have it be the only one you ever need? 

As nice as this would be, it’s just not the case for golfers. 

Golf manufacturers put out new equipment each year. Although it is certainly not necessary to replace your equipment each year, most golfers find that every five years, their equipment is terribly outdated and can benefit from being updated. 

The cost of a new driver right now is more than $500. When you add that to an iron set between $800 and $900 the cost of a set of new golf clubs goes well over $2000. 

For some golfers, this is their entire golf budget for the year, and it just doesn’t make sense to spend this kind of money.

There are options for used clubs, and I always recommend updating the set in pieces and not all at once. Check out the best golf clubs for beginners for some budget options.

People Will Pay 

Golf is expensive because people pay for it. 

The people that love golf genuinely love it, and they are usually not going to cut back on the game simply because costs go up. People pay for golf and will continue to pay for golf. 

When you look at a course like Pebble Beach and a round of golf getting close to $1000, it can seem almost shocking. However, the course is packed. 

People from all over the world are booking tee times. In addition, golfers are joining clubs with $100,000 initiation fees. 

The point is that golfers don’t really hold back when it comes to spending, and while it remains that way, chances are the golf courses are not going to start charging less. People will pay for this and will continue to pay for it because of the love they have for the sport. 

Equipment and Accessories You Need To Play 

In addition to the 14 golf clubs that you can keep in your bag, golfers are sold on a ton of different accessories that they will also need. Things like golf bags, golf ball retrievers, golf balls, even rangefinders like the GoGoGo Rangefinder, and GPS units. 

Plus, things to protect this expensive equipment, like club covers for your driver.

The amount of equipment and accessories that you can invest in if you want to is a bit much. 

Most golfers have to control what they purchase because it is not all that necessary. 

However, golf is a multi-billion dollar industry, and there will never be a stop to the clothing, accessories, and training aids (like the Lag Shot 7 Iron) that you can purchase. Choose the things that you need accordingly, and try to be smart about what really will impact your game. 

Large Amount of Land 

Aerial view of expensive golf course

Land is expensive, and golf courses take up quite a bit of land. When you walk a golf course, expect to walk at least five miles. 

Many golf courses own this land, and others have to lease it. Even if it is owned, there are still taxes to pay on the land, as well as all of that maintenance. 

Lease payments and mortgage payments that golf courses have to make will all need to be made up in their revenue. This means that your greens fees will be higher, and your cart fees will be higher in order to cover the overhead of the golf course. 

I’m sure you don’t think about this when your greens fees go from $40 to $45, but it can very much be a reason why the prices change. 

Additional Fees 

There are some additional fees incorporated into a round of golf that make it considerably more expensive. 

The biggest of those fees is the cart fee. Some golf courses have greens fees that are $35 but a cart fee that is $25. 

The cart fee is almost as much as the green fee, and that can truly feel like a bit of a rip off. Instead, golfers should think about walking and investing in a push cart. 

The push cart is something that will pay for itself after just a few rounds of golf. 

Other fees include golf balls at the driving range. Some golf courses give you a small bucket of balls with your greens fees; choose courses like this that try to make the entire experience more affordable. 

Cost To Get Better 

driving range

Lastly, golf is expensive when you are trying to improve. It’s hard to get better at golf, and one of the best ways to do this is to take lessons and invest in golf technology. However, this comes at a high cost. 

It can be thousands of dollars a year just to try and lower your scores. Which is a big reason why rich people play golf.

For many golfers, this is incredibly expensive and can feel as though it’s not worth it. You can work hard on your golf game and do this on your own to save money. 

However, it will typically take a little longer. 


Golf is expensive; we can’t really skirt around it. 

However, most players that love the game will admit to the fact that it’s well worth the money. There are ways to combat the high prices of golf and play in the afternoon hours, walk the course and buy used equipment. 

In addition, you can take advantage of packages and deals that come up, but it is still one of the more expensive sports to play.

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