Easing the Financial Burden of Golf: Part 2
Most of my fellow golfers are in or near retirement with grown children. They have quite a bit more extra time and disposable income than they did when they were my age. Younger golfers that are on their own must budget effectively to play and practice as much as possible without making it an unfair drain on the household budget.
6. Consolidate – One year I got a membership at a decent course that was only 20 minutes from our home. It was a great course; the only real downside at the time was that there was no driving range. Also, the practice green barely sufficed – there was no real slope or undulation, no place from which to chip and pitch, and it was positioned in the main area outside of the pro shop so that people would constantly stop and make conversation with you and others disrupting practice time.
I dealt with it since a driving range had recently opened that was only about 5 minutes from our house. It cost a little extra money on top of our membership but it was usually empty and was close to home. I resolved to go there to work on my long game. The problem with this solution was that there was no real putting green for short game practice other than a cement slab that had been covered with fake grass from the hardware store.
I then began going to a course that we were former members of; the course itself wasn’t perfect but it had a marvelous practice putting green. It was large, sloped, positioned off the beaten path, and not used by many other people. I could do anything I wanted to do to practice my short game. And it was free!! The downside was that this was also 20 minutes from our home and in a different direction than our home course and they too had no driving range.
What a conundrum! I had a great and relatively inexpensive home course to play on. I also had a quiet driving range close to my home to work on my long game. I even had the ideal practice green to practice my short game. But none of these were in the same place! It got to the point where I couldn’t both play and practice all aspects of my game in the same day because it would involve too much driving. This was the primary reason for upgrading to a membership at a better club. Not only does it have a full 18 –holes of high quality golf but it has a world class practice facility with a fast and undulating green, sand trap, separate pitching tee box, and grass tee driving range.
Now I have one-stop shopping. I can go to the course and just play, or just practice, or play and still practice all three aspects of my game in the same session. This is what I mean when I say Consolidate. If you spread yourself too thin going between things there won’t be enough time and money left for you to actually do the work to get better.
7. Make your clothes and shoes last – I am not willing to buy a brand new golf wardrobe at the beginning of each season. My collared shirts are a bit faded as are my black shorts. Thank goodness for spandex skorts, those things never fade or shrink. I also spent the first half of the season schlepping in my shoes from last year. If you make what you have last you can hold off on updating a bit longer.
8. Join a league – Players in a league usually get reduced rates to play. My golf league is tremendously cost effective and affords rates at a bunch of different courses that I simply couldn’t get if I just walked on to play alone or with a friend.
9. Snack before you go or bring your own snacks – When I play with my little boy a few snacks for the round are an absolute must. When I’m alone it is easy enough to gnarf down an apple or a banana between holes or at the turn. I often have extra granola bars in my golf bag in case I get hungry on the course and didn’t want to eat the overpriced food that is unhealthy anyway.
10. Practice at home – I can’t always get to the course; its 20 min away and I am a stay-at-home mommy. When I need to practice I will put on the carpet or hit balls into a net in my yard while my little boy sleeps. Not only does this work great to save on travel costs but it’s also one of the best solutions for inclement weather.
Last but not least, remember it is all about priorities. You may decide that golf is not worth scrimping and saving during those few precious years when your children are young. You may also decided that kids are kids and they won’t care one hoot what brand diapers they are wearing or if the clothes they wear to romp around in the sandbox have designer labels. My advice is to do the best you can to keep golf a part of your life. More than likely the few minor sacrifices will be more than worth it.♣