The cost of living crisis is forcing many of us to tighten our belts. However, you don’t want to do something daft like stop playing golf.
Yes, there are new drivers on the market that retail for more than £500, and a dozen premium golf balls can set you back nearly £50. However, golf doesn’t need to be expensive, and there are several ways you can be smart and save money.
Here’s how to play golf on a budget…
Head to the supermarket before you play
It’s important to support your local pro, but if you want to save a few quid—and this can add up to a fairly chunky number over a year—fill your bags with snacks and drinks before you play.
Why pay £2 for a bottle of water, or £2.50 for a protein bar, if it costs you half that at the shop around the corner?
Buy a reusable water bottle
Just think how much money you spend on bottles of water over the course of a year. £20 a month, maybe, if you play a couple of times a week. Over a year, the amount of money you’d save with a reusable water bottle could be put towards a new driver—plus, you’re doing your bit for the environment. This is one of the simplest ways to save money.
Play twilight golf
Most golf clubs offer discounted green fees at certain times of the day, particularly later in the afternoon, after most members have had the opportunity to play. Sometimes, this discount may be as much as half the normal rate.
Sometimes you’re allowed to play as many holes as you can fit in after a certain time. Twilight golf is a real treat in the summer, too, so it’s not as though you’re losing out—you just need to be a bit more flexible.
Play more nine-hole golf
As well as twilight golf, a lot of clubs offer nine-hole rates. If you’re put off by paying £50 or more for 18 holes, just play nine, which also gives you more time to enjoy a glass of something cold in the clubhouse afterwards.
Related: The UK’s best 9-hole golf courses
Try playing a non-premium ball
Stocking your bag can be expensive, especially if you’re struggling with the driver. The best golf balls on the market will cost you close to £50. However, some manufacturers have closed the gap between the top-performing urethane models and the more mid-range offerings. Give them a go, and you might be pleasantly surprised by what they offer.
Don’t swap balls so frequently
A slight blemish on your golf ball isn’t going to make a lot of difference. Professionals might notice the effects of a little scuff, but these guys have a different level of feel to the average club golfer. Keep using them until they’re worn out—then pop them in your practice bag.
There’s nothing better than visiting a qualified PGA professional face to face, but if you’re looking to save money on lessons, there’s no shortage of free tips and advice on the World Wide Web.
There are a handful of YouTubers, too, who take great pride in helping you to improve and enjoy better golf—golfers like Alistair Davies, Ged Walters, and Matt Fryer. It’s certainly worth subscribing to a few channels, most of which are free.
Related: Q&A with golf YouTuber, Alex Elliott
Clean your grips
As a general rule, it’s recommended that you change your grips once a year. However, many of us, even those who are members of a club, simply don’t play anywhere near that much. Grips will get grimy regardless, but that doesn’t always mean they need a change.
Fill a bucket with hot water and washing-up liquid and give them a good scrub with a brush or cloth. A 14-club re-grip may cost you in excess of £125, whereas a thorough scrub at home in the garden won’t cost you a penny.
As we explained recently, this isn’t such a difficult process—and it’s actually quite rewarding. If you’re looking to get all 14 clubs re-gripped, you’re probably looking at somewhere between £3 and £5 per club—so a bit of DIY can make you a tidy little saving.
Related: How to regrip your golf clubs
If you’ve caught the golf bug and are considering joining a club, this is something worth considering. Generally, the way it works is that you pay a reduced annual fee and then buy credits depending on how much you intend to play.
By playing at less popular times, say, a Tuesday afternoon, you can still get a decent number of games in, too. Overall, it means you have greater control over how much you spend on playing. At the same time, you enjoy pretty much most of the same benefits at the club as a ‘full’ member.
GolfNow Hot Deals
If you’re flexible and happy to wait until the last minute, you can often grab a cracking deal with tee-booking websites, such as golfnow.co.uk.
Pick where you’re looking to play, the date and the time of day, and your price range, and you’ll get a list of options. According to the website, you can save up to 80%. There are some wonderful courses on there and some attractive green fees, too.
Buy second-hand clubs
Sure, nothing beats shiny, new gear, but buying used or second-hand clubs is a fantastic way to upgrade your equipment without hurting the wallet.
With trusted sources like Golfbidder, all golf clubs are checked and rated. And if you’re selling, it’s a good place to get a fair price for your old clubs, too.
Specialist golf insurance from Golf Care
So, now you know how to play golf on a budget. However, one thing you really shouldn’t cut from your spending is insurance. Having the right policy in place will protect you and others should the unexpected happen.
At Golf Care, our arranged golf insurance includes Equipment cover up to £7,500, Public Liability up to £10m and much more. It’s also underpinned by our very own ‘Ripe Guarantee’, which promises great cover and exceptional service at a price you can afford.
Click on the banner below to learn more about how we can help you.