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The Rising Costs of Playing


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It is not just prices. Our club arranges tournaments at local public-access courses. We have 100 or so players and would have a shotgun start at 9:00am. We would take over the course for 5 hours on Tuesday or Thursday. The courses were okay with not having paid tee times until about 2:00pm since we paid them $4,000 and ate/drank afterward.

Now, most courses have a reasonably full tee sheet from 7:00am to 2:00pm. Roughly 20-28 players an hour for 7 hours is a lot more money than our $4,000, even if there are some open times or twosomes. We have had to move to tee times or 8-8:30am shotguns plus pay more. Our average tournament cost is up from $55 to $65 with a somewhat lower quality course lineup. 

Brian Kuehn

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FYI, Chevron regular is $4.99/gal out here. There was a 50 cent/gal increase in fuel costs. Fuel for the golf carts has gone up... also they bought new golf carts. But the price increases mean that I'm walking this year.


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Prices seem to be up roughly $5ish this year for 18 holes in my area.  I’m not complaining considering this is a small increase compared to the rising prices of everything else.

The change that has annoyed me the most is a majority of the courses are going the pre-pay route.

Unfortunate to hear some courses in other areas are price gouging/surge pricing, especially when it wasn’t long ago courses were begging people to come out and play.

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Golf course play surged mightily during the pandemic in Upstate SC, like most places. All courses have increased their price per round, and slightly above inflation due to high demand. Range balls have increased at the courses where I practice by $2 per medium bucket. 

I am much more affected by the increase in play. I now accompany friends to their private clubs and pay a significantly higher greens fee to get around in less than 4 hours. Public course tee times on the weekends are difficult to come by and I often don’t know when I will be free until late Thursday or early Friday due to family needs - grandchildren are great, while family members with illnesses and old age needs can require more time.

My wife is a school teacher and when she would complete her lesson planning on Sunday afternoons, pre-pandemic I would practice and play a quick 9 holes whenever there was a break in the action. When I practice now, most courses will still be sending scheduled tee times beyond 5:00, and there is not much opportunity to play. In fact, the last time I was able to walk 9 on a Sunday was more than 20 months ago when I ran into a group on the 3rd hole and took my time for the rest of the 9.

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There is no question that rates in the Tampa Bay area have increased. I would say they have increased past inflation levels. I am assuming this is a sort of "strike while the iron is hot"   thing because the traffic on the golf courses has increased significantly since COVID. As a matter of fact, the private clubs (where I am a member) have done significant upgrades to their courses over the past couple years (new greens, new clubhouses, etc.). They don't seem to be hurting for $. Several of the public courses have also done the same thing. I can particularly notice the difference in the summer green fees. You could literally find tee times in the summer for 10-15 bucks before COVID, since then they have gone to the 25–30-dollar range. 

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Costs are up here in the Chicago area too. But I think it’s more to cover increased costs of course maintenance and minor improvements. 

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19 hours ago, colin007 said:


You ride at Spa? It's flatter than a pool table

Yeah I just feel like we don't have all that many nice courses around here, actually we don't have that many courses period. They are charging what the market is bearing

last time I played Spa it was for a league outing and we had to take carts. 
Othertimes I play with some elderly family members who are wounded vets and they always ride. I usually let them take my bag but try to walk from shot to shot.

However I am getting over a leg injury from last year, so I have to be careful with how much I walk.

regarding nice courses, I think we have a bunch with in a short drive. but they all suffer from being in the great northeast. So it goes from snow to mud to green grass, to too much rain, then a dry summer and then fall. Then repeat.
But Frear Park is looking nice, Spa park, Eagle Crest, Van Patten, Fairways of Halfmoon. You can head to Mass for Crumpin Fox or any course in Vermont!

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prices definitely up.  Rates went up $5 for residents at my local muni.  Still only $35 for weekends which is a pretty good deal for the NYC suburbs (NJ) overall, but that's about 13% increase from last year when it was $31.

I save money by walking ($20 extra to ride which would really add up over 30-40 rounds per year).

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  • 2 weeks later...

My home course hasn't seemed to raise rates but there are some things they've done to offset inflation. One thing has been eliminating twilight rates. They did have a special last year of $9 before 9, $9 before 9am, may have come with cart. I know of another course that I really like that had a small rate increase, but they also are trying to update the clubhouse. 

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On 5/11/2023 at 5:42 PM, 4thand11 said:

I save money by walking ($20 extra to ride which would really add up over 30-40 rounds per year).

Yes, when permitted, walking is a great way to hold down costs. I spent most of April walking 18 and paying $11.00. Even now, the Senior midweek rate for walking 18 is $14-$18 at several local courses.

Brian Kuehn

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If the course permits it walk when you can or able. That is usually a savings of 12-20 per round. I am lucky in that I have bethpage and 4 county courses. Cost is $36 to walk at the county courses. $32 for green fees and $4 res fee. 

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