spending

5 Ways to Pay Less for Golf

Follow these tips to save on equipment and rounds of golf.

At the risk of stating the obvious, golf is not a cheap sport. The average cost for 18 holes of golf at a public course is about $40, says Jeff Wright, vice president of communications and golfer relations at golf reservation site EZLinks.com. That rate can top $250, though, at premier courses, he says. And the cost of playing a round of golf doesn't even factor in the equipment you need, which can easily set you back $200 or more for a decent set of golf clubs.

However, Wright says that there are several ways that golfers can save money. Follow these five tips to pay less for your next round of golf or set of clubs.

Play at non-peak times. Most public courses offer a discounted twilight rate in the afternoon or an early-bird rate before 8 a.m, Wright says. In addition to saving money, you might beat the summer heat by playing early in the morning or later in the day.

Join loyalty programs. About 40% of public courses now have loyalty programs. Wright says that you can enroll in these programs, for free, then receive a card you can scan everytime you play golf to rack up points toward discounts and free rounds.

Sign up for e-mail offers. Ask at all the courses where you like to play if they use e-mail to notify people of discounts or special offers. If so, make sure you add your e-mail to their lists. If a course doesn't have an e-mail list, Wright recommends asking directly how to get the best rates.

Use discount tee-time sites. Several Web sites such as EZLinks.com, GolfNow.com and Golf18Network.com sell discounted tee times at courses across the country. For example, EZLinks.com offers discounts of 25% to 50% on rounds of golf at more than 1,000 courses in 45 states and 16 countries.

Buy used equipment. If you're new to the game or don't want to shell out big bucks for a set of new golf clubs, Wright recommends buying a used set through GolfWRX or an online auction site, such as eBay.

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