Originally Posted by David in FL
In case I wasn't clear, that was for the Pittsburgh
area that I checked.
You've got a ton of cheap golf available to you, if you want....
Ah sorry. I didn't catch that. Yes, I've seen some of those on golf now. It's a little bit more granular than that. There is cheap golf for people if they want it. I got a hot deal on GN for $22 at a course on Tuesday but I should have gotten $23 change.
From playing around here for 5 (long, long) years there are three types of courses:
1 - higher end daily fee courses that are at a premium
2 - real goat paths in the country that charge the rates you mention
3 - Real goat paths that charge way too much and are hurting in some way
#2 you will probably have a better experience than #3 in my experience. And #3 is where my commentary is aimed at. There are too many courses that charge too much for the golf you get. The rates you found are basically at courses that are of the same standard as the $40 - $45 courses in the area. There are reasons why that can happen, namely bad management, league play that supports a tee sheet that is only half full or a membership that supports a half full tee sheet.
There's a case to be made that either some courses should be charging more or some should be charging less. Out here it largely depends on location and what people within half an hour will support. However most of those $20 or less rounds are on really rough courses and you won't be playing there for long if you are serious about the game.
It's great that there are a range of courses to play. But price as a barrier to entry is difficult. Two weeks ago I played on a beautiful course in Ohio for $35. Nicest public course I played this year. The sea hag at the local place next to my father-in-law wants $42 for a goat path. Completely out of whack. And she's in the middle of nowhere!