David Leadbetter at Toronto Golf Show

12 Ways to Save Money on Golf

Spring in Canada means a welcome return to golf. While these first few rounds can be a tad soggy, there will be fewer players hacking up the fairways so you can blast around the course in record time. Look for “season opener” specials. As substantial as these savings can be, they are not the only way to cut your golf expenses.

Here are 12 budget-friendly tips to save on your favourite sport.

1. Combine low season deals with twilight rates that can start as early as 2 p.m. 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 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.

4. Ontario golfers and those traveling to popular golf destinations worldwide can take advantage of unsold tee times on Golfnow.com. Last minute deals of 50 percent 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 and wagjag. You can find 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 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 $125.00 and a quality weighted Jazz putter for $12.00. Keep an eye out for the annual half-price regripping sale (usually in February) to extend the life of your clubs.

12. Buy new balls, but not pro-tour ones.  Look for sale prices of mid-range balls for $10.00 to 12.00 a dozen.

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. Enjoy.

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