Author Topic: Any Golfers here? Budget?  (Read 3952 times)

Frugal Golfer

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Any Golfers here? Budget?
« on: September 12, 2016, 03:33:42 PM »
Hello,

Long time reader of MMM, I have implemented several policies over the years.  Still driving my 1994 Honda, riding my fancy hand-me-down roadbike and saving over 50% of my net income, etc. etc.  4 years into my first job as a civil engineer, living/working in a sleepy town on the west coast.  I make ~60-70k gross income, and my personal annual spending just inflated to somewhere around 20k

The main source of inflation.... this year... I went down a rabbit hole with a few friends and started golfing pretty regularly.  We are all pretty bad as golfers go, started out pretty innocently but all of us became addicted somehow and really enjoy the challenge, monitored improvement, and the dedicated time to hanging out.  We are all a bit young as far as golfers go (Age 29), and (CONFESSION) I recently joined a golf club... justified it as a cheaper way to play golf regularly, rather than spending $50-$150 per weekend (several rounds per weekend during the summer), I am now spending about $150 per month (year round) for unlimited golf.  Feel free to face-punch away, I probably deserve it as I know it is costing my future self (over 10 years) ~$30k.

I guess my question stands, are there any golfers here?  any country club members?  Can you be considered frugal or mustachian and play golf?  How did you get started, and how do you control your habit?  I know most people probably don't understand how addictive the game can become, most of my non-golfing friends are baffled

Anyway, Looking for some advice...  Thanks

slowsynapse

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Re: Any Golfers here? Budget?
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2016, 03:55:11 PM »
I play and it is the stupidest thing I spend money on, but I still do it!  Like many hobbies, there is no justification for the expense but I did save $250K in after tax money to budget for golf.  It is also my biggest/easiest cushion now that I am FIRED to get my budget under control if the need arises.  While in no way Mustachian, joining a club can make golf more affordable if you are actively using it.  It is also a great way to meet people and potentially network, although that has never been my intent.  Lastly, non-golfers never really get those who are addicted to golf.

Fortuna

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Re: Any Golfers here? Budget?
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2016, 07:08:07 PM »
I used to play hockey winter and summer leagues and when I did spent about $1200 a year on that plus equipment and gas to the rink.  Retired from it because my back gave me too many problems.  I have replaced it with golf and spend about $1500-1600 a year.

I don't think either sport is a waste in any way.  They provide entertainment physical fitness and friendships.  However like all things they can be overdone.  In my FIRE planning I budget specifically for golf  about $260 per month.  I keep costs down by not buying new clubs everything is used or a demo and I remember that the clubs will not make me better it is the swing.  I also never buy food and beer at the course as that is way to expensive.  Plus I walk for health and to save costs on carts.

bogart

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Re: Any Golfers here? Budget?
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2016, 10:01:40 PM »
I know my DH pays ~$300/month for a membership, I don't ask him what else he spends on golf -- it comes out of his discretionary funds.  I know he doesn't frequently buy clubs. 

What are we here for, if not to play golf (hint:  to ride horses.  But, eh, pick your poison)?

Albatross

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Re: Any Golfers here? Budget?
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2016, 11:07:38 PM »
I'm pretty addicted to golf (also 29!) - and I think it can be Mustachian. Remember, the point of FI is to feel free to do what you want. If what you want includes golf, then that needs to be financially addressed, but it doesn't make it less Mustachian. It would only be anti-Mustachian if you bought new golf clubs all the time or signed up to a country club you barely used. If however you're always using the facility and it works out cheaper in the long run, there is no problem. I'm lucky in that I get about $130 a month from my company to spend on memberships or sport, so I effectively golf for free right now (not playing as often as I'd like). But come retirement, I'll have to think carefully about how to budget it, but I certainly wouldn't be against some sort of membership if I did it often.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2016, 11:09:31 PM by Albatross »

mwulff

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Re: Any Golfers here? Budget?
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2016, 01:17:11 AM »
I don't play golf, but I would argue that spending money on a hobby that provides fresh air, exercise and enjoyment is worth it.

Part of the journey is to enjoy it along the way. Pat on the back for trying to do it as cheaply as possible.

But if I were you I would go play and enjoy myself.

Greystache

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Re: Any Golfers here? Budget?
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2016, 07:42:25 AM »
I retired about 20 months ago. I included $250 a month in my retirement budget for golf.  That includes green fees and golf related travel.  I don't belong to a club.  There are not any inexpensive membership options in urban SoCal that I am aware of.  I recently started working as a non-paid ambassador/marshal at my local muni in exchange for green fees and practice time.  Feel like the guy at the freeway off-ramp with a cardboard sign "will work for golf". This is obviously better suited for retirees that those who are still working.  Other ways to reduce your expenses is to avoid the 19th hole.  Invite your buddies over to your place for beers after the round.  Smuggle beer onto the course instead of buying it on the course.  Buy used clubs.  Find golf balls faster than you lose them.  Hope this helps.  Gotta go now and tee off.

Schaefer Light

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Re: Any Golfers here? Budget?
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2016, 11:55:06 AM »
I track what I spend on golf (mainly so I'll know what to plan for in retirement), but I can't really say I have a strict budget.  At the moment, I'm spending more than usual because I'm taking lessons.  When the time comes, I'll probably work a little bit longer to have room in our retirement budget for all the golf I could ever want to play.

boarder42

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Re: Any Golfers here? Budget?
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2016, 12:03:09 PM »
here is how i look at things.  we all have some hobbies.  some arent mustachian.  IMO the mustachian way to do a non mustachian hobby is to figure out the most cost effective way to do said hobby.

i own a boat.  i live on a lake.  i live in the cheapest lake community in my area.  i use my boat a lot.  i wakeboard and wake surf alot.  my boat is a 1999 model i got for a song.  (had i not blown up the engine i'd still have 6k of equity instead i'm breaking even after 4 years of ownerships)  i buy and resell boats and watersports gear to make this hobby more or less free. 

sounds like you're doing it a pretty frugal way.  150 a month isnt awful if you're golfing more than 3 times a month.  walking all the course i assume as its a great way for exercise - if you're drinking you should be filling up your own thermos and packing it along with you or throwing some cans in your bag.  ways to decrease the cost. - work at the club house one day a weekend.  great way to meet others who share your love of golf etc.  you can do expensive things on a budget and even sometimes turn them into a way to profit. 

lastly mustachianism to me isnt giving up something you love to save a dollar ... its figuring out how to make something you love cost as little as possible or even profitable.

steviesterno

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Re: Any Golfers here? Budget?
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2016, 01:49:12 PM »
reading and writing because, while I used to love golf, my hobby now is shooting (similar expense and gear race).

sounds like you are getting a deal with the rate. around here it's $60+ a round, so if you go 2.5 times a month you are even, and more you are ahead. Like others have said, walk. Buy clubs from people upgrading, I got a one year old set of irons that cost $2k for like $50 because someone was upgrading.

I would see if you can fish balls out of water hazards. Ask the club, I've seen people come over on days off or whatever and just go diving for balls. More than enough, and if you're terrible like me, who cares what brand ball you smack into that guys house?

I also suggest sneaking in drinks, or just buying a soda and adding your own booze if needed. It's a hobby that gets you out in the sun, it's mostly fun, and you can play forever. so take it easy, stretch, and enjoy.

Now if anyone can teach me how to shoot for free, that would be amazing. I'm already down to $200 a year for unlimited visits, but bullets get burned up once you use them. Can't really reuse them like you can golf balls...

boarder42

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Re: Any Golfers here? Budget?
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2016, 02:07:30 PM »
reading and writing because, while I used to love golf, my hobby now is shooting (similar expense and gear race).

sounds like you are getting a deal with the rate. around here it's $60+ a round, so if you go 2.5 times a month you are even, and more you are ahead. Like others have said, walk. Buy clubs from people upgrading, I got a one year old set of irons that cost $2k for like $50 because someone was upgrading.

I would see if you can fish balls out of water hazards. Ask the club, I've seen people come over on days off or whatever and just go diving for balls. More than enough, and if you're terrible like me, who cares what brand ball you smack into that guys house?

I also suggest sneaking in drinks, or just buying a soda and adding your own booze if needed. It's a hobby that gets you out in the sun, it's mostly fun, and you can play forever. so take it easy, stretch, and enjoy.

Now if anyone can teach me how to shoot for free, that would be amazing. I'm already down to $200 a year for unlimited visits, but bullets get burned up once you use them. Can't really reuse them like you can golf balls...

use your bullets to shoot animals to offset your meat costs in your budget.  i assume you'll come out ahead assuming you can process it yourself. one bullet per 200lb of deer meat. has to be a good ratio

Rufus.T.Firefly

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Re: Any Golfers here? Budget?
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2016, 03:42:51 PM »
To save money, I play during off-peak hours. Greens fees drop 50% or more during those times. Also, there are various websites that offer "hot deals" that are even less money. I've seen options for as little as $10 for 18 holes with a cart. In my area, I almost always pay $22-35/round.

Added bonus is that the course is emptier during off-peak hours which means you can hit extra shots, take your time, or not get backed up behind a slow group.

Frugal Golfer

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Re: Any Golfers here? Budget?
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2016, 10:00:24 AM »
Wow, thanks for all the responses.  I figured there had to be at least a few golfers here... (retirement blog and all)  Seems like the overwhelming response is to go out and enjoy it.  That is the way my significant other feels as well, I just feel guilty about it for some reason.  Probably the undeniable privilege and country club stereotypes in my head.  We plan to average at least one 18 hole round per week through the winter, and then next spring/summer I'll be back to playing 3-5 rounds per week.  The club membership "threw-in" free golf cart for the first year, so we plan to walk some, but hard to pass up on free carts.  We settled in to walking the sunset rounds so the employees can go home before dark.

I had made a deal with my SO, that when/if I broke 80, I could buy a new set of clubs to replace my 15 year old ping i3's.  We tabled that for a full year minimum (probably wouldn't have broke 80 anyway).     

And as you can guess, I don't feel guilty when I'm out on the course  :)  So it sounds like I just need to spend more time out there, less time in my head.  Thanks again everyone

trailrated

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Re: Any Golfers here? Budget?
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2016, 11:32:50 AM »
This is totally bragging but I can't help myself. I spent $250 on a poster and somehow won a trip to Florida that covered flights, afterparty, hotel, clothing, and food and got to play a full round of golf with this guy and I got to bring a friend. Fucking coolest thing I have ever done.

Little Aussie Battler

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Re: Any Golfers here? Budget?
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2016, 11:47:02 AM »
FG - never buy new irons. It's just not worth it. Technology hasn't advanced that much, and the used-club market is ridiculously large and inexpensive (mainly due to people upgrading every time a company releases a new set - which is all the time, golf manufacturers have ridiculously short product cycles).

Join golfwrx, keep an eye out of CL, eBay, etc and go from there.

Technology in drivers, fairway woods and hybrids has advanced, but I would still argue that you don't need the latest and greatest.  One of the biggest benefits in these clubs will be getting ones that are actually suitable for your game. Try to find a driver that has a shorter shaft than the retail standard (44.5 is really good) - most pros do this for increased accuracy.

Sorry, will step down from my soapbox now!

Paul der Krake

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Re: Any Golfers here? Budget?
« Reply #15 on: September 14, 2016, 11:55:59 AM »
Like others have said, there's no reason to ever spend money on equipment. Clubs can be had for 80% off retail price from some sucker who upgrades every 3 years. Balls can be found faster than you lose them.

Two rounds + a couple driving range outings make keep this hobby well under $100/month.

clarkfan1979

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Re: Any Golfers here? Budget?
« Reply #16 on: September 14, 2016, 01:57:01 PM »
My limit is $60/round, even if I get invited by friends. I spend about $35 on my typical round.

I'm going to start golfing again because I finally got my Hawaii drivers license and now get the local discount. My wife wanted to hold onto our old Florida Driver's License for an extra year because she wanted to do another trip to Disney World and get the discount. However, it never happened.

My local course is a county funded course. The greens fees for locals are $30 on the weekends and $15 during the weekday. If you tee off after 2:00, it's 50% for everyone. As a result, if I can tee off between 2:00 and 2:30 on a weekday, I can golf 18 holes for $7.50. I also try to avoid the motorized cart. I can justify the golf with the exercise. However, I probably golf 2-3 times a year with a motorized cart with friends.

TheInsuranceMan

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Re: Any Golfers here? Budget?
« Reply #17 on: September 14, 2016, 02:44:07 PM »
reading and writing because, while I used to love golf, my hobby now is shooting (similar expense and gear race).

sounds like you are getting a deal with the rate. around here it's $60+ a round, so if you go 2.5 times a month you are even, and more you are ahead. Like others have said, walk. Buy clubs from people upgrading, I got a one year old set of irons that cost $2k for like $50 because someone was upgrading.

I would see if you can fish balls out of water hazards. Ask the club, I've seen people come over on days off or whatever and just go diving for balls. More than enough, and if you're terrible like me, who cares what brand ball you smack into that guys house?

I also suggest sneaking in drinks, or just buying a soda and adding your own booze if needed. It's a hobby that gets you out in the sun, it's mostly fun, and you can play forever. so take it easy, stretch, and enjoy.

Now if anyone can teach me how to shoot for free, that would be amazing. I'm already down to $200 a year for unlimited visits, but bullets get burned up once you use them. Can't really reuse them like you can golf balls...

Can't you reload the empty casings?  I know that depends on what gun you're shooting, and what type of ammo, but it is significantly cheaper than buying rounds/shells each time you go out.

TheInsuranceMan

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Re: Any Golfers here? Budget?
« Reply #18 on: September 14, 2016, 02:49:07 PM »
Yes to the suggestion of joining GolfWRX forum - they have the greatest golf classified section ever.

I play, but I'm in a very, uuhhh, rural area.  My course membership....for the year....was $278.  Yes, you read that right.  For the year.  It's a little 9 hole course, it's not even semi private, but with the amount of golf I play (which actually has increased now that my daughter loves to come with me - she's 2...she just gets in the way, but it's fun!), it's quite a bit cheaper than paying each time I go out.

I typical play every Wednesday, which is Men's Night, and probably spend $15-$20 on booze.  $12 a six pack, plus tip, or drinks if that's what is sounding good.  My parents own a cart and a cart shed on the course, and don't play anymore, so I get that for free as well.  Clubs are the biggest expense, and I've really reigned myself in on that.  My set is out 5 years old, Taylormade R9 irons and driver, my 56 degree and 60 degree are both Cleveland's, and then I upgraded putters about 2 years ago.

forumname123

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Re: Any Golfers here? Budget?
« Reply #19 on: September 14, 2016, 02:50:19 PM »
Anybody who golfs should have the Golf Now app. You can get disgusting deals on green fees (usually with a cart included).

The courses I play are typically $60-80 for 18 holes ($80-100 with cart), and through Golf Now the most I typically pay is $25 with cart. Often $10-20.

Everybody I show it to ends up furious that they weren't aware of it sooner.