There may be hidden costs on every dollar you spend. The Real Cost, a SingSaver Series, uncovers all the unexpected expenses you’re incurring.
Keeping up a regular golf habit can cost you a pretty penny – find out exactly what those costs are.
Ah golf, that most gentlemanly of sports where you hit your ball as far away as you can, then leisurely stroll up to where it lands, taking sips of iced tea along the way.
As idyllic as it sounds, is golf really that undemanding? Or does another picture lie underneath all those tanned smiles, taut calves, sunglasses and polo shirts?
In other words, how much does it really cost to keep up a regular golfing habit in Singapore?
To find out, we’re taking a look at the typical cost of golf – you know, golf club sets, memberships fees, green fees, etc. – plus all the other additional expenses that are related directly or indirectly to the sport.
Typical costs of playing golf in Singapore
|Golf clubs (set of 7)||From S$250|
|Golf bag (with stand)||S$70 – S$130|
|Club membership entrance fee||S$1,000 – S$30,000 per year|
|Club subscription fees||S$100 – S$200 per month|
|Green fees||9-hole: S$30 – S$160|
18-hole: S$40 – S$480
|Driving range fees||Golf balls: S$0.04 – S$0.15 per ball|
Stored value card fee: S$8 to S$10 per card
Golf clubs (set of 7): from S$250
Obviously, you’ll need your own set of golf clubs if you’re going to be taken seriously. A set of 7 clubs (consisting of 1 driver, 1 hybrid, 2 irons, 1 pitching wedge, 1 sand wedge and 1 putter) will set you back around S$250 or so.
You can opt to buy your clubs separately, starting with the commonly used ones (drive, putter and sand wedge) and work your way up to a complete set as you expand your skills. However, you may end up paying more in total.
While you’re at it, make sure you get the most out of your spend. Whether it’s cashback, airmiles or rewards that can be redeemed at a later time, use the right credit card to invest in the right set of golf clubs, and other related accessories for your golf addiction.
You can also choose to rent your clubs for a per-session charge (S$50 to S$75), but this option provides limited satisfaction and cost-effectiveness over the long run.
Golf bag (with stand): S$70 – S$130
Unless you want to hire a caddy to carry your golf bag for you on the course, you’ll want to invest in a golf bag.
You should choose a reasonably sturdy bag equipped with a stand, so that you can prop it up while you take your swing.
Club membership entrance fee: S$1,000 – S$30,000 per year
Many golf clubs require a membership, which can come in two components.
The first is an entrance fee, which is a lump-sum fee that grants you membership for a specified period. This can range anywhere from one to 10 years. Some clubs also offer lifetime memberships.
Club entrance fees are one of the golfing costs that vary wildly, depending on where you choose to swing your club.
Club membership subscription fee: S$100 – S$200 per month
Paying just the entrance fee alone isn’t enough to make you a member though. In many cases, you’ll also need to pay a monthly subscription fee in order to maintain an active membership.
Not all clubs are sticklers for membership fees, though – some also allow non-members to play on their courses, but at significantly higher prices. (Non-members will also face limited time slots and other restrictions).
Signing up for a membership will help lower the cost of each session, but you’ll need to play regularly in order to make the potential savings worthwhile.
Green fees: S$30 – S$160 (9-hole), S$40 – S$480 (18-hole)
Even having a membership doesn’t let you play for free; you’ll still have to pay when you book a golf session.
Green fees are priced according to many different factors, such as location, time of day, day of the week, and whether you’re playing nine or 18 holes.
Driving range fees: S$0.04 – S$0.15 per ball, S$8 to S$10 per stored-value card
Ok, so how about if you just want to line up some golf balls and send them flying?
In this case, you’ll want to go to the driving range, where you’ll need to rent golf balls by the basket. Prices can go up to S$0.15 per ball, depending on time slot, whether it’s weekday or weekend, membership status, etc.
Some driving ranges also operate a stored-value card system, which requires you to hand over a few bucks for a new card before you can go to the vending machine for your golf balls (or if you left your card at home).
“Hidden” costs of playing golf in Singapore
|Accessories (polo tee, pants, shoes, gloves, shades, cap, water bottle)||S$150 – S$300|
|Golfer’s insurance||S$45 to S$60 per year|
|Storage lockers||S$30 to S$40 per month|
|Lighting charges||S$14 – S$27 per session|
|Trolley or golf buggy rental||Trolley: S$5Buggy: S$20 – S$35|
|Late or cancellation fees||S$10 – S$50|
|Golf lessons||S$350 – S$650|
Accessories: S$150 – S$300
There’s a reason why the polo-shirt is synonymous with golf.
Golf and country clubs often have strict dress codes, so you can forget about going for your Sunday golf session dressed in shorts and a t-shirt (as comfortable as that sounds).
While you won’t require anything as extreme as a uniform, you may still need (or want) to purchase a few specific pieces of attire just for golfing.
Some items are also non-negotiable, such as golf shoes – some clubs won’t allow you on the course without the proper footwear.
Other accessories such as sunglasses, UV protection sleeves and headwear (cap, hat or visor) may be important in helping to protect you from the sun out in the green.
Golfer’s insurance: S$45 to S$60 per year
Another often overlooked cost is golfer’s insurance.
As golfers face an increased risk of causing or receiving injury (turns out that swinging a stick with all your might can cause a golf ball to fly at speeds of 200km per hour, who knew?), golfer’s insurance must first be obtained before you’ll be allowed on the course.
This type of policy covers any accidental injuries suffered and also offers liability protection in case you accidentally injure someone. It may also provide some benefits for loss of personal golfing equipment.
One policy even gives you a cash bonus whenever you get a hole-in-one.
Storage lockers: S$30 to S$40 per month
If you don’t have your own car or don’t want to lug your golfing equipment back and forth between your home and the club, you’ll have to rent a locker where you can safely store your equipment between games.
Most lockers may be rented on a monthly basis, but some clubs offer a bulk discount for rentals lasting one year or longer.
Lighting charges: S$14 – S$27 per session
If after dark is the only time you can play golf, be aware that you may have to pay a lighting fee. Yep, it’s exactly what it sounds like – an additional couple of bucks for the privilege of not having to fumble about in the dark.
Not all clubs are as blatant about this charge – they’ll simply add it in as a surcharge for playing after sundown.
Trolley or golf buggy rental: S$5 (trolley), S$20 – S$35 (buggy)
This is another cost incurred if you don’t want to hand-carry your equipment all over the course.
If you’re playing with a buddy, you can share a buggy and split the cost. Otherwise, a trolley might be your only option if you want to save money.
Late or cancellation fees: S$10 – S$50
It is common for golf clubs to charge a fee if you’re late for your booking or if you cancel it, most likely as compensation for lost green fees.
Be sure to familiarise yourself with the fees charged by your club, as some can charge quite high.
Golf lessons: S$350 – S$650
Not everyone has the talent or patience to pick things up as they play. If that describes you, you may want to engage a professional coach to help you improve your skills.
Doing so will add another cost to your golf hobby.
The real cost of playing golf in Singapore
|Golf membership (entrance fee + monthly subscription)||S$1,200 – S$32,400 per year|
|Costs incurred when playing (assuming one 18-hole game and 200 balls at driving range per month, with buggy)||S$412 – S$7,140 per year|
|Gear, attire and accessories||S$875 – S$1,220 first-year cost|
|Total (first-year cost)||S$2,487 – S$40,760|
Assuming you need a full set of gear, accessories and attire, play one 18-hole game and go through 200 balls at the driving range every month, and you may find yourself spending anywhere between S$2,500 to S$40,000 in first-year costs.
Of course, where you land on that range will very much depend on which club you choose to join.
Also, don’t get fixated on the lower end of that range. Instead you should make your own calculations based on the specific package offered by the golf club you’re interested in joining.
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By Alevin Chan
An ex-Financial Planner with a curiosity about what makes people tick, Alevin’s mission is to help readers understand the psychology of money. He’s also on an ongoing quest to optimise happiness and enjoyment in his life.