At some point in every golfer’s life, he or she learns about the great courses and golf destinations of the world. We all dream of taking a historical pilgrimage in our respective sports. Tennis players want to go to Wimbledon, football fans to Cowboy Stadium or Lambeau Field. For baseball fans it’s usually Yankee Stadium or Fenway Park, and many Soccer fans dream of going to Wembley Stadium or Estadio Azteca. The great thing about golf is that we often get to play on the same venues as the pros, which isn’t the case with most other sports. For example, every serious golfer I know wants to some day take a trip to the home of golf and play the Old Course at St. Andrews. Last month my friend and fellow golf blogger Tony did just that. He spent a week with friends at St. Andrews and played most of the courses in the area.
I too would love to take a trip to St Andrews, or any number of other fantastic golf destinations. The problem is, most of us simply don’t have the cash laying around. A week long golf trip can run from $500 to well over $2500, depending on where you go. There are however, plenty of ways to save up your pennies to one day take that great golf trip. With that in mind, we’ve compiled ten ways how you might be able to scrape together enough money to make your dream golf trip happen!
- Cut out the Starbucks! Personally I don’t understand why people willingly pay upwards of $5 every morning for a cup of coffee, but just think about how much you can save if you cut back to maybe twice a week, instead of having it every day. You could save over $500/year just by scaling back your fancy coffee & caffeine fix by drinking a Diet Coke in the morning instead, which contains about as much caffeine as a cup of that precious mocha latte.
- Cook! If you eat out regularly, you are probably aware of how expensive it is. Dinner and a few drinks at a restaurant like Chilis or Olive Garden usually runs me between $20 and $30. Surely you can eliminate one $25 meal at a restaurant per week right? If you do you’ll save over $1000/year.
- Walk! If you normally ride in a golf cart when you play golf, try walking for a change. Golf cart fees usually range from $12 to $24 for 18 holes, and if you play once a week that’s $50 to $100 per month. In 2 months you can save enough to buy a push cart like the fantastic ClicGear push cart that I use when walking. Walking will also get you in shape, and you’ll need it if you plan to go to St Andrews, because they don’t typically allow the use of motorized carts anyway.
- Play more cheap golf! It’s nice to play well maintained golf courses, but they are also more expensive. Get to know your local municipal golf course, and play there more often. You’ll save quite a bit of money on greens fees, and chances are your scores will be pretty much the same even if the greens aren’t perfect. You can also take advantage of tee time services like GolfNow.com to get good deals and save 20% to 60% on tee times. Let’s face it, if you want to save up for that guys or gals golf trip next summer, you’ll need to make sacrifices.
- Stop Smoking! OK, now I’m getting personal. Forget about the health concerns or the difficulty of quitting – no smoker will argue with me when it comes to the financial impact of smoking. A pack of cigarettes costs between $4 and $8 in the US, depending on where you live. Forbes.com estimated that the average cigarette smoker could save $200 to $900 a year by quitting. Add to that the inevitable added cost of healthcare, insurance premiums and even dry cleaning, and it could be significantly more. I’ll step down off my soapbox now.
- Spend less on equipment! If you are saving for that golf trip to Pinehurst with your buddies, you probably shouldn’t be spending $499 on that new driver that promises 10 more yards. Look, if every new club on the market lived up to its promises, we’d all be hitting it 400 yards off the tee by now. Besides, that $499 driver will likely be just as good six months later when it goes on sale for $299. Another way to save a few bucks is by recycling golf balls. The pros on the PGA tour switch to a new golf ball every three to six holes. You can probably go 36 holes or more with the same golf ball, assuming you don’t plop it in a lake on the way. It’s OK to be uncompromising and insist on playing only with a Titleist Pro V1, but maybe for a season while saving up you can buy the $25 second hand balls instead of brand new ones for $50. Remember Shooter – New golf balls sink in the water just as fast as second hand ones do.
- Chill out on the betting! I love a good money game as much as the next guy, but if you are trying to save up for that trip to golf heaven you might want to drop the stakes on the weekend Nassau down to more reasonable levels. Most golf games involve small amounts like $5 or $10, but loses can add up pretty quick over the course of the year. You may even come out in the black over the course of the year, but the money you are taking is probably coming from the guys that will accompany you on the trip, so give them a break too and try cutting the stakes in half until you’ve saved enough to make your trip.
- Carpool to the course! Gas prices are going up. If you have a regular weekend foursome, why not try to carpool to the course and save a few bucks on gas? This way you only have to drive every fourth weekend, and more time with your buddies means more time for trash talk and gloating! This works better in the USA where everyone seems to drive SUVs (or land-yachts as I like to call them), but it may not work too well if you live in the UK and drive a small car. Even if one person picks up another and you can manage to take two cars to the course instead of four, you’ll be doing your wallets (and the environment) a favor.
- Sell some old clubs! Do you really need 6 backup drivers and 12 putters? You may not think your old clubs are worth much, but one man’s trash is another man’s treasure! I recently sold several clubs on eBay, and when all was said and done I had raised over $1000. It adds up pretty quick. Every one of the clubs I sold were of value to me and I didn’t want to see them go, but it was becoming increasingly unlikely that they would ever find a place in my bag again, so I sold them. Easy money.
- Open a golf savings account! Many banks these days offer free online savings accounts. This is a perfect way to keep track of your fundraising efforts. You can transfer money from your regular checking and savings accounts to the online account and watch it grow as your dream golf trip becomes more and more of a reality. Check companies like ING Direct to set up an online account with no fees and start saving!
If you play this game long enough, it’s inevitable that you’ll go on a golf trip. With the economy in a recession and money being tight, it can be hard to put money away for such trips. But there is always a way to save a few extra dollars. Using the suggestions we’ve already talked about combined with your own efforts and discipline, that golf pilgrimage you’ve always dreamed about can become a reality in no time! If you have any other suggestions for way to save, feel free to share with us in the comments below! Happy saving!
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