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Why is Golf a Rich Person Sport?

by Joseph Hardison / July 26, 2021

Being a premium sport, golf is commonly considered a sport for the rich. There are a number of reasons for that. For one- the equipment-  range finder, golf clubs, a golf bag, balls, gloves, and other assorted tools are pretty expensive. Besides that, playing on a golf course requires golf club memberships, which means membership fees. While these membership fees vary from course to course, they can go up to around $500- $1000. 

However, the expense isn’t why golfers play golf; it teaches valuable life lessons and provides a tranquil environment for playing an outdoor sport for business people while also ‘talking shop’.

We talked to experts in the golf world and came up with a number of reasons the sport is associated with the rich.

  1. Larger Barrier to Entry

“One big reason golf is considered a sport for rich people is because there's a larger barrier to entry, mainly because it's more expensive than your average sport. A good set of clubs is expensive and playing on nice golf courses is expensive, not to mention all the other accessories you need to buy (golf bag, balls, tees, and so on). 

“In comparison, all you need to start playing a common sport like basketball is a ball and a pair of shoes. Basketball courts are very easy to come across and almost always free to play on. Golf also typically requires lessons and plenty of practice if you want to get good, which is another added cost on top of everything else. And finally, people who aren't rich may not have the time to practice as much as is needed to become better.”

Laurice Baldwin, from ChoosingLuxury

  1. Used for Discussing Business

“The people that I know that golf, use it as a way of discussing business deals and creating and growing business relationships. A lot of people even write it off on their taxes as a business expense.” 

Kaden Coziar, TheBloggingCeo.com

  1. Expensive Equipment, Membership Fees and Uniform

“From the equipment, membership and course fees, and uniform, everything about golf is expensive; it's the main reason they consider it an elitist sport. In comparison to other sports, it eclipses them in terms of cost. Besides, players play the sport in a vast open area covering between 30-200 acres of prime land.

“The wealthy prefer golf because it gives them the luxury to see beautiful landscapes and connect with new rich people; it's less crowded and safe. However, the stereotype that only the rich play golf is far-fetched since you can still opt to buy used golf equipment and pay affordable membership fees.”

Harriet Chan, Co-Founder of CocoFinder

  1. Old Reputation as an Elitist Sport Stuck

“Joining a country club used to be very expensive and thus only rich people got in close touch with golf. This has loosened in the US, but many other parts of the world still treat golf as a sport for rich elites.”

Andy Shandling, Sports Review Guide

  1. Expensive Gear and More

“I’ve been playing golf as a hobby for nearly a decade now. Personally, I won’t necessarily call it a rich person sport since I know people who play the game but aren’t really well off. But I can say that, unlike any sport or hobby, it’s a bit costly to keep. First, let’s take a look at the rough costs. To have all the gear you need (new irons, driver, putter, wedges), the damage floats around the $4,000 range. This does not include country club memberships where these golf courses are located, and that costs at least $1,000. 

“Now, I did mention that I know people who aren’t classified as “rich” but play golf every weekend. For one, you can cut the equipment costs in half by either renting or buying used ones. You will still need to pay some club fees, but you can choose to go for other more affordable options.”

Jack Miller is the founder of How I Get Rid Of

  1. Expensive Clubs, Membership, Course Fees, Consumables

“Growing up around golf, and playing when someone else is paying gives you a bit of a shock when you have to start footing the bill. There are four main expenses when it comes to playing golf. First, you have your clubs, this is generally a once-off purchase, and it can range anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Then you have your membership, which is normally an annual fee, which again can range anywhere between a few hundred to a few thousand (tens of thousands in the extremes). Then you have green fees when you play courses where you aren't a member, and lastly, consumables like gloves, balls, tees, etc.

“If you average out how often you play, a few hundred/thousand for a membership isn't that expensive. If you love the sport it is a price worth paying.”

Chris Papenfus, Owner MissionSmartHome.com

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