or Connect
TheSandTrap.com › Golf Forum › The Clubhouse › Golf Talk › Golf is for the upper class?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Golf is for the upper class? - Page 2

post #19 of 114
The thing is when you go to most tournaments, be it amateur, pro, semi-pro, that's when golf more than gives an impression it's a high income sport - that's not commensurate with how affordable it is to play for the average joe - in the US.
post #20 of 114

It's not a coincidence that the top 2 golfers on our local high school's golf team every single year belong to the same country club and live in the upscale community around the course.

 

They have access to unlimited golf and their parents have them working with the pro at the course from elementary school age on. They can enter any junior tournament they desire and have only the best equipment.

 

Golf is the only sport at the school where it can be predicted with near 100% certainty which neighborhood the best players will come from and how much money their parents have.

post #21 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by mortato View Post
 

I've always had the view that golf is a middle class game in high population areas and more egalitarian in low population areas. I've just restarted after a 10 year break and (apart from splashing out £400 on a set of irons) it hasn't broken the bank. I've got 2 of my kids sets of clubs and their membership fees are tiny. Any sport requires a bit of cash and you certainly get your moneys worth with golf. My daughters clubs cost less than her Brownies uniform. I can't think of any sport where you can get tuition from a qualified professional as easily and as reasonably priced.

I am lucky to live in a low pop. area though. The green fees would be horrendous in some areas.

 

High population usually has more options.  At home in the Denver area I can play on a course that charges about $20 to walk, or one that charges $35, or one that charges $55, and often several choices in each price range.  Or I can pay $65 and up to ride some really nice local public courses.  I guess the US is different.  There are far more public courses than private, and far more golfers who play for daily fees.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by colin007 View Post

Well, it's certainly not for the poor.

I guess it depends how you define poor.

With less than a $100 investment, anyone with about $25 a week available for discretionary spending can certainly play at least weekly in most places.

Certainly those that struggle to keep food on the table and a roof over their head aren't going to be spending a lot of time on the course, but I've known a lot of "poor" people that spend a heckuva lot more than that on cigarettes....

 

Amen to the cigarette comment.  The cost of that bad habit is just nuts.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by colin007 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post

I guess it depends how you define poor.

With less than a $100 investment, anyone with about $25 a week available for discretionary spending can certainly play at least weekly in most places.

Certainly those that struggle to keep food on the table and a roof over their head aren't going to be spending a lot of time on the course, but I've known a lot of "poor" people that spend a heckuva lot more than that on cigarettes....


Both my mom and my father in law were poor. As in they went to bed hungry at times, they shared beds with their siblings (3 in a bed), etc... For them, the only sports available were things like basketball or soccer if a friend had a ball. For them, golf would have been for the wealthy.

I consider myself wealthy in comparison to the stories they can tell me. I am wealthy compared to my family in South America. I have a modest house, I have a car, my wife has a car, we don't live paycheck to paycheck. For a lot of the world that is wealthy.

 

But the term "wealthy" is not really relative - it has a specific meaning to most people.  You may be in better condition financially than your relatives, but you are probably not wealthy as the term is generally used.  I'm well off compared to many of the islanders here, but we are not even in the ball park of wealthy.  We have certainly worked our way into the middle of the middle class, and with some judicious saving have given ourselves a good retirement, but I spent the first 14 years of my life just a toenail above the US poverty level, and that may be generous.  You have to make those comparisons within your own region, not base them on the values of second or third world economies.

 

We often watch wealth cruise by here in yachts which we couldn't even afford to put fuel in.  Those folks are the wealthy ones.  For them an exclusive club membership comes out of petty cash.  For me, I couldn't justify the cost of even an average private club.  I played munis, and later some better public courses - never a club unless by invitation with my brother-in-law.  I played with men and women from all walks of life, most no more wealthy than I was.  I'd say that most of my friends are lower tier professionals, or blue collar like me.  One was in insurance; another was a Safeway store manager who worked his way all the way up from bagger; some with college, some not; others in construction and other trades.  But none were anything like wealthy, or upper class, or anything more than middle middle class.

post #22 of 114

Having played for nearly 40 years and lived in a number of different States in a number of different areas, the definition of upper class and availability of golf is all over the map.

 

I grew up in Michigan in a relatively small  blue collar industrial town of about 100,000 when I started playing as a child in the 1970's. There were over 25 golf courses in our county and only two of those were private. Most of them were very affordable public family owned courses. We also had one State Park course and one city muni that was also very cheap to play. Because the public courses outnumbered the private by such a large margin it was easy to think that the very small few that were private course members were rich snobs. 

 

In contrast my father retired to a small town in Virginia where there is only one single golf course within 30 miles and it is private, so you either do a lot of driving there or fork over the cash. There is no one single answer to golf being only for the upper class. So much of that depends on where you live and what income bracket your in.

 

I will say that in all these years I have never lived in any place where I couldn't find quality golf at an affordable rate. Even my 10 years in the military when I didn't make jack-shit I still was able to afford most local courses off base. There are still some remote areas like where my father retired where golf is limited but in general I would say golf has been a middle class game since at least the 1970's. And that you can thank Mr. Arnold Palmer for, not Tiger Woods. The vast majority of all those public courses that were built in my home town were built in the 60's and 70's decades before the Tiger craze! Tiger has brought a lot of people to the game that may not have thought golf was cool, but Palmer is the one that really brought golf to the masses!

post #23 of 114

It all went to hell when the royalty appropriated it from the shepherds!

 

I go to a quirky little nine-holer around here on Mondays when the greens fee is $5! (they also have $2 draughts in the clubhouse)

post #24 of 114

Golf can be anything for anybody. The cheapest course I play is $5, par 3 but still fun at just over 1000 yards. My home course is a former private club. GolfNow green fees there are $28 after 2PM for 18 holes with gps cart. $125 a year gets me a range pass and 10% discount in restaurant and pro shop. Last year I used old Armour 845s I paid $37 dollars for. I bought new CG 15 wedges in 2012 for $69 each and bought a used driver and fairways. Walmarts sells half decent balls for around $20 a dozen. People playing on the cheap probably use balls they find. Don't have to be wealthy to  play golf. Especially if you aren't blowing money everywhere else.

post #25 of 114
The reason I love golf is because it is as little or as much as you want it to be. What I mean is you can pick up a cheap set of clubs and hack around the local muni course or you can shoot for the pro tour. With this being said I believe golf can be affordable to just about anyone. I also believe the face of our sport is changing and will hopefully give younger kids of this generation to look up to.
post #26 of 114

Yes, it is an expensive game/hobby/sport compared to most others and for many, there are BIG financial barriers to entry.

 

Consider how much it costs a young person to play basketball.  Public court and a basketball.  $30 maybe?  That's one round of golf on a crappy course.  Consider the cost for kids playing baseball or softball.  Glove, maybe a bat, annual fees to play.  Maybe $250 all in?  That is equal to my league fee for a summer.  HS sports are pretty much free, except for maybe golf and lacrosse where equipment purchase might be required.

 

Golf is a VERY expensive sport to many. I'm not wealthy, either.  But now that the kids are out on their own, my wife and I can spend a good chunk of money each season to enjoy golf.  We go on a couple of golf trips each year, We're both in weeknight leagues, we play every Sunday we can and both have a good chunk of cash tied up in equipment.  I'm GUESSING we drop about $5 grand a season on golf each year when you factor in the two golf trips a year.

 

Golf is VERY expensive if you ask me.  And it's the main reason it keeps so many away from the sport.  Is it reserved for just the rich?  No.  It's a disposable income choice most of us here make.

 

I've been reading about golf's effort to 'grow the game.' One of the best ideas I've read about offerings free golf to school age kids during the week at Muni's and privately owned public courses.  Don't even need clubs.  Some places doing this now have Sunday bags filled with starter sets of used clubs, balls, tees, etc.  Let the kids come out and play for FREE!

 

dave

post #27 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post


I guess it depends how you define poor.

With less than a $100 investment, anyone with about $25 a week available for discretionary spending can certainly play at least weekly in most places.

Certainly those that struggle to keep food on the table and a roof over their head aren't going to be spending a lot of time on the course, but I've known a lot of "poor" people that spend a heckuva lot more than that on cigarettes....

 

Its not a sport for the cash poor but more tellingly it most certainly isn't the sport for the time poor!

 

As someone said at my club a while ago, it is a sport of privilege. You need the privilege of having the cash to support your habit but most importantly of all you need the privilege of having the time in your back pocket to be able to play to start with.

 

Regards

 

Mailman

post #28 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by dave s View Post

 

 

Consider how much it costs a young person to play basketball.  Public court and a basketball.  $30 maybe?  That's one round of golf on a crappy course.  Consider the cost for kids playing baseball or softball.  Glove, maybe a bat, annual fees to play.  Maybe $250 all in?  That is equal to my league fee for a summer.  HS sports are pretty much free, except for maybe golf and lacrosse where equipment purchase might be required.

 

 

I have to add hockey to the exception. People usually don't realize how expensive just a hockey stick can be to replace. If I were to guess I'd say hockey is more expensive than golf for a high schooler. But I don't know....my pops bought my equipment :-D

post #29 of 114

Is golf for the upper class?  Is fishing for the upper class?  All you really need to go fishing is a branch and some thin string with a bent pin and a worm, though a cane pole and J hook are usually considered bare minimum.  On the other end are folks in the 80 foot Vikings trolling for marlin in some of the more exotic fishin' holes of the planet.  With golf there are plenty of people that get in a round a week on the local municipal goat farm with some old sticks they got at a garage sale down the road and they have fun.  Then you have Augusta and other clubs that aspire to attain that level with clientele that have very deep pockets.  Maybe the people at Augusta have as much fun as the people at the muni, I hope so.  And like fishing, there are an awful lot of people in between the two ends of the spectrum.

post #30 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by PirateJim View Post

Is golf for the upper class?  Is fishing for the upper class?  All you really need to go fishing is a branch and some thin string with a bent pin and a worm, though a cane pole and J hook are usually considered bare minimum.  On the other end are folks in the 80 foot Vikings trolling for marlin in some of the more exotic fishin' holes of the planet.  With golf there are plenty of people that get in a round a week on the local municipal goat farm with some old sticks they got at a garage sale down the road and they have fun.  Then you have Augusta and other clubs that aspire to attain that level with clientele that have very deep pockets.  Maybe the people at Augusta have as much fun as the people at the muni, I hope so.  And like fishing, there are an awful lot of people in between the two ends of the spectrum.

Great point. Add hunting to that same point. 2 activities that are probably less represented by the "upper class" as a percentage of participants than most that I can think of.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mailman View Post

Its not a sport for the cash poor but more tellingly it most certainly isn't the sport for the time poor!

As someone said at my club a while ago, it is a sport of privilege. You need the privilege of having the cash to support your habit but most importantly of all you need the privilege of having the time in your back pocket to be able to play to start with.

Regards

Mailman

It needn't take much more time to play a round of golf than to play a game of softball, basketball, or go fishing.
post #31 of 114
Doesn't change the fact though that you need to have the time to play golf, softball, fishing, tiddlywinks etc.

When you have family, kids, work, other pastimes and so on it makes it hard to justify the time needed for golf.

Mailman
post #32 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by mailman View Post

Doesn't change the fact though that you need to have the time to play golf, softball, fishing, tiddlywinks etc.

When you have family, kids, work, other pastimes and so on it makes it hard to justify the time needed for golf.

Mailman

 

No, what it takes is knowing how to budget your time so you can do the things that are important in your life.  I've known any number of good family men who played golf on a weekly basis without spending the grocery money or depriving their families of their participation.  One good way to do both is to get your kids involved in the game as they get old enough to play.  

 

All summer long there are kids hanging around the facilities at my home course.  They come to play the par 3 for $5, then stick around and play chipping and putting games on the practice greens afterward.  Add in money for a hot dog and a coke and they get entertained for a half day or more, outside of the house and away from the video games, and you're only out about $10.  They don't need a $1000 set of clubs to start out with, and even if they reach the point where they can make use of a decent set, there are always good used clubs on Ebay or Craig's List for very reasonable prices.  Heck, just hit a few garage sales an you'll find some crazy bargains.

post #33 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by mailman View Post

Doesn't change the fact though that you need to have the time to play golf, softball, fishing, tiddlywinks etc.

When you have family, kids, work, other pastimes and so on it makes it hard to justify the time needed for golf.

Mailman

Not hard at all. Like anything else, it just needs to be something you want to do. Show of hands.......how many members on this site have family, kids, jobs, and other pastimes?

Wow, look at all those hands up! a3_biggrin.gif
post #34 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mailman View Post

Doesn't change the fact though that you need to have the time to play golf, softball, fishing, tiddlywinks etc.

When you have family, kids, work, other pastimes and so on it makes it hard to justify the time needed for golf.

Mailman

Not hard at all. Like anything else, it just needs to be something you want to do. Show of hands.......how many members on this site have family, kids, jobs, and other pastimes?

Wow, look at all those hands up! a3_biggrin.gif

 

My next door neighbor back in Colorado has twin girls, so everything they do has to be done by twos.  He wasn't really even a golfer himself, just played 2 or 3 times a year, but he wanted to expose the girls to everything he could.  About 4 years ago they got starter sets and he enrolled them in the junior workshop at the district course where the workshop takes over the par 3 course for 2 weeks straight.  He plays more now than he did before because he gets out with the girls in the evening or on a Saturday morning for 9 holes on the par 3 or the Executive 9.  It's all about how you choose to use your time and entertainment budget.  For them, golf is cheaper than going to the movies.

post #35 of 114
It seems from the comments that different people are talking about slightly different subjects. Some are talking about whether it is possible to find a way to play golf on a very low budget and others are talking about whether it's likely for somebody in that group to be able to play enough to be any good at it, or even care to try.

I suppose you could "play golf" with a couple of clubs from a yard sale and money from gathering cans off of the highway, but that's not likely to happen very often.

For most low income families it isn't even a consideration and never really even crosses their minds. The single mother with 4 kids, and working at McDonalds, isn't likely to shell out the money for them to play enough to even find out if they like it.

I have even seen a shift (in America) in the family income levels of baseball players. When I first started coaching Little League teams I would literally go down to the corner lot and draft my team based on which neighborhood kids played there everyday. Made no difference if it was a poor neighborhood or a rich neighborhood.

Now that lot would be empty and the way to draft players is to see who signed up for the summer clinics put on by the colleges (and that costs money). That, as much as anything else, is why so many Latin players are in the game. Their "corner lots" are still full of kids playing baseball.

Historically caddies were the poor man's introduction to the golfing world but that "corner lot" is also almost gone.
Edited by MS256 - 1/18/14 at 6:04pm
post #36 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by MS256 View Post

It seems from the comments that different people are talking about slightly different subjects. Some are talking about whether it is possible to find a way to play golf on a very low budget and others are talking about whether it's likely for somebody in that group to be able to play enough to be any good at it, or even care to try.

I suppose you could "play golf" with a couple of clubs from a yard sale and money from gathering cans off of the highway, but that's not likely to happen very often.

For most low income families it isn't even a consideration and never really even crosses their minds. The single mother with 4 kids working at McDonalds isn't likely to shell out the money for them to play enough to even find out if they like it.

I have even seen a shift (in America) in the family income levels of baseball players. When I first started coaching Little League teams I would litterally go down to the corner lot and draft my team based on which neighborhood kids played there everyday. Made no difference if it was a poor neighborhood or a rich neighborhood.

Now that lot would be empty and the way to draft players is to see who signed up for the summer clinics put on by the colleges (and that costs money). That, as much as anything else, is why so many Latin players are in the game. Their "corner lots" are still full of kids playing baseball.

Historically caddies were the poor man's introduction to the golfing world but that "corner lot" is also almost gone.

It's worth noting that the question posed by the OP was whether golf was perceived as primarily a bastion of the upper class. NOT whether or not the very poor played often.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Golf Talk
TheSandTrap.com › Golf Forum › The Clubhouse › Golf Talk › Golf is for the upper class?