What Are The Cheapest Times To Play Golf?

You can find discounted green fees at certain times of the year and certain times of day.

cheapest times to play golf
(Image credit: Getty Images)

With the cost of living continuing to climb, most of us our looking for ways to economise and save some cash. Golf is not the cheapest pastime out there but for those of us who love the game, it’s an essential expense. It provides physical exercise and mental stimulation, it’s hugely sociable and a great way to spend time with friends and family members out in the open air.

There are ways to save money on your golf though and one of those is to look for the cheapest green fees available when you’re out and about playing at different courses. If you are prepared to play at certain times, it’s possible to find reduced rates and save yourself some money.

Winter golf

St Andrews Old Course

The Old Course St Andrews

(Image credit: Getty Images)

First, and rather obviously, if you’re prepared to play through the winter there are generally deals to be had. Most courses offer significant discounts on full-price green fees through the colder months. As an example – At The Old Course St Andrews, venue for The 150th Open Championship this July, low-season rates are half the price of the summer fee - £135 compared to £270. Half price winter fees are not uncommon – At Hollinwell, The Home of Notts Golf Club, the winter rate is £75 compared to £150 through the summer. At Duff House Royal Golf Club in Banff, Scotland – A Dr Alister MacKenzie design – the winter rate is just £20 compared to a summer fee of £70 – Almost a quarter the price.

Weekday golf

Knole Park golf

Knole Park

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

If you’re able to play on a weekday you will often find cheaper green fees available than on weekends. At Knole Park Golf Club in Kent, it’s £20 cheaper to play Monday to Thursday than Friday to Sunday for example. At the Nicklaus Designed Machynys in Carmathenshire, the summer rate is £60 from Monday to Thursday compared to £75 Friday to Sunday.

If you go through one of the golf green fee booking sites, you’ll also find discounted rates on quieter days at some clubs. If you’re able to be flexible, you’ll find deals to be had, particularly closer to the day you wish to play as courses seek to fill their tee sheets.

Twilight Rates

Royal Dornoch golf links pictured

Royal Dornoch

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Many clubs will offer a cheaper rate if you’re prepared to play later in the day when there will generally be less demand on the tee times. These discounts are often referred to as “twilight” rates.

At Royal Dornoch Golf Club in the north of Scotland, the twilight ticket (play after 6pm May to July and after 5.30pm in August) gives a rate of just £125 to play the championship course compared to the full price of £210. You can play the Struie course for just £30 on the twilight ticket. Some clubs offer twilight rates earlier than that. At the other end of the country at Royal North Devon, the oldest course in England, there’s a twilight rate of just £40 after 4pm, that’s half the price of the Saturday rate and £30 less than standard fees, Sunday to Friday. At Southport & Ainsdale Golf Club in Lancashire, a twilight package is available - £460 for a fourball after 3pm on a weekday compared to a rack rate of £175 per person – that’s a £60 saving each.

The basic rule with green fees is, if you’re prepared, or able to play at off-peak times – in the winter months, on a quieter weekday or after a certain time in the afternoon, you can find discounted green fees: Those are the cheapest times to play golf.

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?