Welcome to the Tip Jar, where our mission is to help you maximize, extend and get smart with your almighty golf dollars — yep, free of charge!
Not all rounds of golf are created equal. Some are weeks, months or even years in the making, requiring careful planning and, in many cases, commanding hefty price tags. These are what are known as “bucket list” rounds, and they call for special commemoration, all the better through mementos that don’t further strain your budget. In that spirit, here are 7 inexpensive, creative ways to sear your special day into the memory banks.
1. Shop smartly
Your grandma took you to Pinehurst and all you got was a lousy t-shirt? Stop complaining. T-shirts are nifty! They’re also trendy at many top courses. And they cost a fraction of a polo shirt or pullover. While you’re in the pro shop, keep an eye out for other low(er)-price souvenirs, from towels and beer mugs to divot-repair devices. Sometimes the best mementos come in small packages.
2. Snag some freebies
Most courses of high repute have tees and ball markers right there for the taking. Some also have matchbooks. We’re not saying you should dump them all into your bag. But they make great collectibles, and a healthy handful wouldn’t hurt, because when you get home, you’ll find they have a way of disappearing into the dark recesses of your golf bag.
3. Frame your scorecard
What’s more, get it signed by the people you played with, then treat this great memento like the Mona Lisa and hang it in a place of pride. (Unless, ahem, you shot 113.)
4. Make a photo book
At Pebble Beach, among other prestigious courses, it is not unheard for golfers to hire professional photographers to document their day. That’s cool, no doubt. But it will also cost you. The budget-friendly way to go is to bust out your iPhone, clicking freely without holding up play. But don’t just leave those snapshots in the digital ether. Print hard copies, or, better yet, have them compiled into a photo book via your favorite photo storing/editing site.
5. Make a pin map
Make like a prime-time TV detective. But instead of using pins to map out crime scenes, plug them in for every great new course you play. (Pro tip: GOLF.com offers this digital mapping feature for our World and U.S. Top 100 lists free of charge.)
6. Get crafty
Pencils are free. Logoed golf balls are affordable. Snag a few of each and transform them into some form of art piece for display on your office desk or wall. And fret not — you needn’t be Martha Stewart (although it would help if you are) to put together cool pieces like these.
7. Make an ace!
Your chances of making a hole-in-one are roughly 12,500 to 1. But if you card an ace at a top course, the odds are better that you’ll get a keepsake. At Pine Valley, for instance, they give you the flag (they don’t sell flags in the pro shop). At Pinehurst, they give away commemorative poker chips, emblazoned with the number of the course you played.