By Mark Townsend published
The Golf Monthly Forum has its say on how much they'd be happy to pay for a round of golf
How Much Is Reasonable For A Round Of Golf?
It’s one of the most subjective questions in the game – we all have different budgets, tastes, time and general interest in the game – but it’s always one worth discussing.
The question was to discover not what you might play for a bucket list course but more what you might pay for a round at a normal course. And there were lots of different ways of looking at it from our forum members.
How Much Is Reasonable For A Round Of Golf?
Very much an open question. It will depend on many variables: Budget, course expectations, area,, visitors or guest, society. Eg Berkhamsted for £50 on a county card is excellent value, guest fees at Blackmoor and Ipswich are great value, a Woodhall guest and even visiting night trips are excellent as well.
£20-25 is a good price. £30-35 if the course is decent. I probably wouldn't pay more than £40 for a round of golf in anything but very special circumstances.
I think £30-£50 is about average for an average course. Mind you, it's been a while since I've paid for a green fee.
It really does depend, from a value perspective I’ve paid £20 and felt like I’ve been ripped off and I’ve paid £200 and thought it was great value. I can get a round locally for as little as £15, but would be more likely to pay £30-£50 to get a better course, that said I’m far more likely to play as a guest than as a green fee.
No point in telling someone who refuses to pay more than £50 for golf and they can get on at Swinley as a guest for £60, that they are nuts if they have a mortgage and three young kids and doesn't have the spare cash.
I did have a colleague who said the Brabazon course was the best he'd seen, so I took him to The Berkshire and he nearly had a fit. So, it also depends on how many courses and where folk have played.
If I can keep it under £50 great, but if I want to play a top place I have never played before, I'll pay the going rate.
If I was playing locally I would not pay more than £20-£25. You don't get that rate on the club websites but you do through the usual online sites. I could play most courses in the county and neighbouring counties for that.
I think a few of the courses around me are overpriced by about £10 a round. They should range from about £25-£40 but range from £35-£50.
In all honesty, and this is where I differ form many on here, I play for fun and to socialise and so as long as I am with a decent group I would play in a potato field and, in fact, cheaper is sometimes better if your focus is not 100% on the golf.
I live about five miles from Lytham St Annes but I've yet to play many of the courses in the area as I feel they are charging over-inflated prices simply because of the area they are located.
All in all if it was just a casual round with pals I wouldn't want to pay any more than £40 really. If we were away on a trip I'd be willing to spend more but after spending £120 on Dundonald recently and having my worst round of the year I'm not sure I want to go through that pain again!
That said, my father in law and brother in law are members at St Annes Old Links and I will be taking advantage of the guest rates there as soon as I can face playing a difficult course blind with two very low handicappers.
I think you tend to accept that courses are hard to get on at the weekend so I'd typically play weekday or twilight round. Because of that often £20-£35 is enough to play a nice course if I'm just looking for a simple change, but then I'll pay more for other things like open comps or signature courses quite happily.
I consider myself extremely lucky because I have a group of friends whom I have known for many years and are members of premium courses so we tend to play one of their courses per week as guests. Those courses are Blairgowrie, Carnoustie, Monifeith, Gleneagles, Gullane and Dunbar. One way we play other courses at very reasonable costs is to enter Senior Opens.
I'd pay up to around £40 for a day out somewhere different. That should be enough to get somewhere half decent. It's also about the same as the weekday green fee at my place. Trips are different, normally happy to play somewhere interesting up to £100 if we mix in a couple of cheaper days.
I generally consider £12 for an hour’s entertainment a disposable amount. It aligns with buying albums, films, games etc. but I find it holds up to most forms of entertainment.
Round of golf in my head is four hours = £48, so there’s the base figure I’ll consider as not requiring much thought. Getting a better price is great, getting a worse price will just make me question it slightly harder.
It’s not a hard rule though, I’ve played great places for silly low and silly high prices and would call both extremities good value for different reasons. Value to me isn’t just a measure of price.
I think this is a good way to look at it. How much does it cost to hire a tennis court, squash court etc for an hour? Multiply by four for a round of golf.
How much does it cost to go to the cinema or theatre?
How much is a ticket to watch a football game? Multiply by two for golf...
One of my locals is Chart Hills, currently around £100 a green fee (It's a nice course, but not £100). To me that's high and not worth it. However, I've paid £150 for Sunningdale and it was a deal for me. So it heavily depends on the course for me.
When I started playing maybe six or seven years ago, it wasn't uncommon to get regular special deals online and get a round for as low as a fiver. These are as common on the club's own sites as on teeofftimes.co.uk. I quite often booked a round and only played nine holes or so. Average prices have gone up and have gone up considerably since the first lockdown. Now, the minimum I pay will be around £17, £20-25 is more usual. It rules out those part rounds though as I like to get my money's worth! Most I've ever paid is £45 for one of the St Andrews courses.
For me it is just round of golf and there is nothing special about a round of golf so I doubt if you ever find me on a golf course where the green fee exceeds £30 and I am more likely to source out a course where it is £20-£25.
Since I joined a club I have tended to split my golf 2/3 to 1/3 in favour of home. Money is not a huge factor, and time is short, so I don't mind paying more than some folk would suggest, if it is a course I want to try. That said, some courses charge, or try to charge, waaaaaaaay more than they are really worth!
£25 I think is reasonable. Any more than that and I’ll either have to be desperate, offer something special or really want to play it. Highest I’ve paid is £140. It came with valet service, club cleaning, personalised experience and play off the black tees. Was it worth the two-hour drive and money? No, it rained and I’ve never played so badly. Almost nightmarish.
I usually pay £20-35. I have paid up to £60 before in certain circumstances. But given the local courses at the moment, most sit in the sub £40 bracket and those above often have offers sub £50. £50 is where I start to question value etc…
Mark has worked in golf for over 20 years having started off his journalistic life at the Press Association and BBC Sport before moving to Sky Sports where he became their golf editor on skysports.com. He then worked at National Club Golfer and Lady Golfer where he was the deputy editor and he has interviewed many of the leading names in the game, both male and female, ghosted columns for the likes of Robert Rock, Charley Hull and Dame Laura Davies, as well as playing the vast majority of our Top 100 GB&I courses. He loves links golf with a particular love of Royal Dornoch and Kingsbarns. He is now a freelance, also working for the PGA and Robert Rock. Loves tour golf, both men and women and he remains the long-standing owner of an horrific short game. He plays at Moortown with a handicap of 6.