Personal Finance

Should I invest in a golf club membership?

Golf club memberships have several financial benefits, not to mention the air of prestige. But is it really worth it?

There are over 2,500 golf clubs in the UK, making golf one of the most popular sports in the country. With golf becoming more popular, however, the prices of club membership have risen over the years. To determine whether a membership is a worthwhile investment, it is important to consider a few key factors.

Costs and Benefits of Golf Club Membership in the UK

Golf has been proven to be good for the health and being outside for extended periods of time is always good for both physical and mental wellbeing. These motivations have contributed to the rising popularity of the sport.

One downside of the growing popularity of golf is the increasing prices of golf club membership. Though the average golfer won’t be willing to pay the £180,000 membership for Wentworth, Surrey, prices are still experiencing inflation since 2014 according a recent study. By 2017, most golf memberships cost between £500 and £1,500 per year.

Average club subscription for standard membership, 2017Percentage of clubs
£0-5001%
£500-1,00037%
£1000-150039%
£1500+23%
chart showing prices for UK golf club membership

Golf club memberships often have benefits beyond simply being able to play golf, with most offering access to restaurants, bars and clubhouses.

How Does Membership Compare to Pay-As-You-Play?

If you play golf nearly every weekend, membership might be worthwhile—but it depends upon the membership price and green fees at your club. For example, if a round of golf costs £50 for nonmembers £20 for members, and an annual membership costs £1,000, then you'd need to play more than 33 rounds of golf a year for the membership to be good value for you.

On average, green fees for nonmembers cost 2.2x as much as green fees for members. In terms of real money, a round of golf costs around £30 more if you're not a club member.

Average green fees in the UK
Weekday with member£22.42
Weekday without member£50.02
Weekend with member£24.41
Weekend without member£54.57
chart showing prices for UK golf green fees

How to save money on a golfing

If you want to be playing golf but are wary of the costs, consider a few of these points before paying big money:

  • Future investment: It is possible to sell most memberships on after you move on, but some have a transfer fee. Treating a membership as a future investment is a good idea.
  • The more you play, the cheaper it gets: It stands to reason that playing more golf during your membership makes each game cheaper, with the initial investment looking better and better. If you don’t expect to be playing more than three or four times in a week, it may be worth considering other payment options.
  • Membership options: Many clubs across the UK now offer several tiers of membership (e.g., "flexible membership", making it possible for casual golfers to become members for a reduced cost.

Comments and Questions