May 27, 2023
POSTED BY: Nicholas Venditti

How Much Does the Average Golfer Spend Per Year?

Sports are only as expensive as you make them. You can choose to get fully decked out in gear and apparel or just shop the basics, depending on your relationship with the game. Golf, however, requires a certain baseline of expenses that are unavoidable.

To begin with, there are the clubs, the balls, the accessories, and the green fees. But how much does it cost the average golfer to play the game each year? Read on to discover just what expenses you're likely to encounter. If you're already paying them, see how you measure up to the average. 

Types of Expenses for Golfers

Green Fees

When you think golf expenses, your mind probably goes straight to clubs, bags, apparel, and other gear and accessories. But there is a more invisible cost that adds up over time: green fees.

Unlike sports like basketball, baseball, and soccer, which lay fans can usually find free fields to play on, golf requires a highly specialized play space. 9.9 times out of 10, those spaces operate on a pay-to-play basis.

The “green fee” you pay at a golf course includes the price of admission - and sometimes includes a cart fee. Sometimes, you may pay extra for the cart. Remember that playing without a cart has its advantages. Recent research has shown that golfers older than 65 saw a greater positive impact on lipid and blood glucose levels after completing an 18-hole round of golf. But you'd need to walk to enjoy those benefits.

Most courses allow you to buy an annual pass which helps you save on green fees over time if you use it enough.

Golf Clubs

The good thing about golf clubs is that once you buy them, you can use them for a number of years. Golf clubs are sturdy, solidly built instruments that fortunately don't suffer much wear from whacking little 1-ounce balls.

But as a beginner, the initial cost for clubs may set you back. Here is the average cost of each of the four main types of golf clubs, if you buy new:

  • Driver: $350 - $650
  • Iron set: $400 - $1000
  • Wedges: $100 - $250
  • Putter: $100 - $250

Buying used is a perfectly acceptable choice. As stated above, golf clubs withstand wear and tear quite well, so used golf clubs still get the job done after many years of use. Here are the average prices of used golf clubs:

  • Driver: $80 - $300
  • Iron set: $350 - $750
  • Wedges: $50 - $200
  • Putter: $75 - $200

Golf Balls

In a perfect world, balls would be the smallest annual expense for a golfer. But because they need continual replenishing, the cost can add up.

The average price of a golf ball is between $2 and $4. Fancier ball brands will charge you as much as $8 or $10 dollars per ball, but here's a small tip: they don't perform any better than the regular brands. You can save even further by buying in bulk.

Golf Accessories

Accessories like apparel and club socks and gear like a rangefinder should also be factored into the projected annual expenses of the average golfer. These aren't necessary like balls, clubs, or the green fee, but you'll find the game harder to play without them. Particularly vital gear like rangefinders will certainly enhance your game.

How Much Does the Average Golfer Spend Per Year?

It's hard to say how much the average golfer will spend per year, because habits vary so widely. Whether you play with a full set of clubs, go through 1000 balls or 10, and belong to a green vs. pay the occasional green fee all change the estimation. But let's make some projections. 

All told, the average golfer can look to spend between $2000 and $2500 per year on the sport. The cost of clubs is factored into that estimate somewhat, so once you purchase your clubs, you can expect your estimate to drop. In 2022, 20.8 million people who didn't play any golf indicated that they were “very interested” in beginning to play. Can you imagine the boon to the golf industry were those 20 million respondents to start chipping away at that $2000 estimate?

How Much Do Golfers Spend on Golf Over a Lifetime?

If you're frightened by shockingly steep cost estimates, avert your eyes. When projecting the average annual cost of being a golfer to a lifetime of golfing, that $2000 to $2500 range extends up to at least $125,000 and at most $150,000.

The biggest source of the expense is green fees and green memberships. There's simply no way around them. But think of it this way: every dollar you give to your local links helps them maintain the course, pay the staff, and keep everything in working order so you can perfect your game. It's money well spent.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Does the Average Golfer Spend on Balls per Year?

Estimates as to how much golf balls cost per year range from as low as $250 to as much as $400 per year. Used golf balls are just as useable as used golf clubs, so if you're looking to save, consider shopping used.

How Much Does It Cost For The First Year as a Golf Beginner?

The first year of playing golf may be rough, cost-wise. You'll need to build your kit from the ground up, including clubs, balls, apparel, and gear. You will also likely try out different links, and green fees can add up. You can up the average for your first year to $3000 - $3250.

Final Thoughts 

Golf will cost you, but it pays you back immediately in experience. There's nothing better for the nerves or the spirit than a balmy afternoon spent on the green. Shop Stitch Golf to find the best golf gear and apparel that doesn't sacrifice style for quality!