Advice from Sherel Purcell
Vacay.ca Golf Writer
Love the game but think it’s too expensive? Think again.
By following these money-saving tips you can enjoy your rounds without worrying about breaking the bank.
1. Combine low-season golf deals with twilight rates that can start as early as 2 pm. Tip: book early to get the best twilight slot then show up a half hour sooner. If the course is wide open, you may get out right away. Worst-case scenario, you can work out the kinks in your game at the practice net or on the putting green.
2. Speaking of working out the kinks, walking the course is usually cheaper than riding — but not always. Package golf deals including green fees, taxes, motorized cart and sometimes lunch can offer real savings, especially in low season.
3. Municipal or public courses are almost always cheaper than semi-private ones and can be of comparable — or better — quality. The beautiful Kananaskis Golf course, set in the Rocky Mountains an hour and a half outside Calgary, charges Alberta residents a fraction of what outsiders pay to play this top-notch track.
4. Golfers worldwide can take advantage of unsold tee times on Golfnow.com. Last-minute deals of 50 per cent off or better can be found within 48 hours of your desired tee time and often include a motorized cart.
5. Check tee time specials on “group buy” websites such as Groupon.com. You can find substantial discounts on green fees but strict conditions apply. Read the fine print before entering your credit card details.
6. Golf course coupon books are best for groups of three or four players buying together who will actually use the “four for two” or “four for three” rounds. Again, these too can be quite restrictive so check the listings before you buy.
7. Taking golf lessons with a pro (check for CPGA certification) can be cheaper than green fees, will improve your skills and increase your enjoyment of the game. Golf pros can suggest proper clubs and equipment for your level/physique potentially saving you more in the long run.
8. Looking to save on lessons? Sign up for small group classes and golf clinics. Some pros may offer free introductory classes. Golf trade shows feature mini-lessons and valuable tips too. Rent instructional videos from the library and watch golf technique demonstrations online.
9. Buy golf clubs and equipment second hand. Check Play it Again Sports, Craigslist, Kijiji, ebay.ca and Cash Converters. Best if you can buy locally to check for obvious signs of trauma such as deep nicks or bent shafts. A search of Value Village and Goodwill may net some half-decent clubs but these stores are better for bags and pull carts.
10. Play knockoffs. These copy clubs of big name brands can be as good or even a better value than used.
11. Sign up for Golf Town’s Leaderboard email list for advance notice of clearance sales — best over Boxing Week and in early November when local courses return their demo clubs. Recent specials included Taylormade’s 2010 Superfast driver for $125 and a quality weighted Jazz putter for $12. Keep an eye out for the annual half-price regripping sale to extend the life of your clubs.
12. Buy new balls, but not expensive ones. Good mid-range balls can be had for $10 to $12 a dozen on frequent sales. Spending more on lessons and driving range practice will save on the cost of lost balls over time and turn you into the golfer you were meant to be.
(Note: Photo courtesy of Kananaskis Golf)
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