9 smart ways to save money on your next golf buddies trip

A golf ball, golf glove,and golf tee sit on a pile of U.S. dollars

Here's how you can save up and still play great golf courses.

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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!

Almost by definition, a golf trip is a splurge. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find savings. A bit of economizing here and there, and soon the cost-reductions add up to real money. If you’re gearing up for a long-awaited getaway, here are nine ways to cut back on expenses — without compromising on the fun.

1. Fly mid-week

Airfares, like greens fees, often change throughout the week. For domestic travel, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays tend to be the cheapest days to fly. No matter when you go, it pays to keep in mind the Saturday-night stay rule, which means — you guessed it — your trip will cost less if it includes exactly what the rule suggests.

2. Look for package deals

Travel. Lodging. Greens fees. Meals. You can always buy those items a la carte. But look around. Sometimes, there’s an option to bundle them together in a package deal at a better price.

3. Ship your sticks

It isn’t always cheaper but it can be, depending on your airline status and the airline baggage fees.


Not beer. Balls. And plenty of them. Enough, anyway, that you don’t run out of ammo. Reloading in the pro shop comes at a premium.

5. BYO snacks and water bottle

What’s true of golf balls is true of power bars and pretzels: better to pack a few extra in your bag than to shell out for them once you’re at the course. Same goes for drinking water. Bring a reusable bottle and fill ‘er up.

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6. Try the shoulder seasons

They call it peak season for a reason. If you’ve got flexibility in your calendar, book your trip a time of year when the whole world isn’t traveling. Oftentimes, the weather is every bit as good and the prices drop by as much as 50-percent or more.

7. Find a sleeper course

By all means, make it a dream trip. But not every course you play has to be a bucket-lister. For every Pebble Beach, there’s a Pacific Grove muni, a delightful layout just down the road where you’ll pay a whole let less and likely battle lighter crowds. Courses of this kind might even be a better fit for your crew.

8. Stuff clothes in your golf travel bag

golf scorecard and glove
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Along with your sticks, pack shoes, socks, shirts and other extras in your club bag so you don’t have to bring an extra suitcase. It might look like you’re dragging a corpse into the airport. But really, you’re just saving on airline fees.

9. Play one round a day

We know how it goes: your heart is crying out for 36 a day, but your body — and your budget — are pushing for 18. They might be onto something. A single round of golf is still a lot of golf. If you’ve still got bets to settle, or an itch to scratch, tack on a twilight loop on a par-3 course (a lot of resorts have them), or a putting competition on the practice green. You’ll save money and spare your back. You also might discover that post-round hang-time with your buddies isn’t half bad.

Josh Sens

Golf.com Contributor

A golf, food and travel writer, Josh Sens has been a GOLF Magazine contributor since 2004 and now contributes across all of GOLF’s platforms. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Sportswriting. He is also the co-author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We Having Any Fun Yet: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.