Crazy green fees?

Klimski

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Hi all, winter is coming and it's making me a keyboard golfer.

I am inviting you all to discuss green fee value. What are we getting if we pay more - or less - for a round of golf? Where is the sweet spot? Are green fees too high?

Let's fantasize about a June/July Fife visit with time for three rounds of 18 holes:

First, let's go full American tourist:

Dumbarmie (300), Kingsbarns (420) and Old Course (320).. for a grand total of £1040

Then, we realise that we could play the following three courses for around a third of that price:

Jubilee (140), Lundin (120), Scotscraig (125).. for a total of £385

However, you could also play these follwing three course for a third of that:

Burntisland (50), Aberdour (50), Kirkcaldy (30) for a total of £130

And finally, with little effort we can get three full rounds in for around half of that:

Kinghorn (20), St Michaels (20), Lochgelly (20): £60

So, what are we paying for? All these courses are highly rated, most are historic, by renowned architects... What is value in green fees?
 

Lord Tyrion

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I think it depends on the occasion but on the whole, for me I would do either of the bottom two trips. I have done prestige courses, paid high fees, although nothing near option 1, but they were for special occasions.

Value is up to £60 a round. Once above that I would not describe it as good value, although if you are paying £60 to play Turnberry or Muirfield etc then I understand that argument falls away. Hopefully people understand what I mean.
 

Albo

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I guess value is different for everyone.
The American golfer who comes to Scotland for a once in a lifetime visit, will doubtlessly tell you option one is the only option for him/her. They would find value in being able to tell their friends tales of playing the old course or the bigger more famous courses. Much the same as if I went to play golf as a one off in America, I’d love to play the likes of Bethpage Black and Sawgrass and Pebble, over a $30 municipal course.
 

Imurg

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Green fees are expensive....
I pay the best part of 2k subs each year
Playing half a dozen "top" courses a year is easily adding half of that, nearer 3/4, on top
That's a lot of coin....and it can get hard to justify.
Add into that the possibility of the weather ruining the day or, and this is my worst fear, spending 300 quid and playing like an absolute knob.
That would kill me...others may not worry about it but it pains me.
Not that I need to break course records but going to Birkdale and shooting 100 doesn't do it for me.
I'd rather play at home than do that.
 

abjectplop

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The first post is really interesting that it highlights 4 distinct options at very different price points. I'd be happy to go on a golf trip at any of them, but it just goes to show that there's a great trip to be had whatever your budget! Even the bottom trip at £60 could be paired with a visit to St Andrews to play the Himalayas or walk the Old Course on a Sunday.
 

Klimski

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Thanks, some great opions already! Personally I agree with Imurg, somewhere up to £60-70 represents good value. However, in 2025 my touring group will revisit Fife, and I've decided that we'll ensure that the average comes out at 65 - playing two affordable courses and one more premium option, for example: Aberdour, Burntisland and the Jubilee or New course. That keeps it sane for me.
 
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LincolnShep

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I'm a cheap golfer.
£20/£30: I don't worry what the course is like.
£60/£70: special course or special occasion.
>£70: the course needs to be renowned (or someone else needs to be paying).

I generally play opens at £20-£40 per entry. At that price, I feel like I'm always getting value because I see them as a way to spend time with my mates doing what we all like doing. Even if the course turns out to be rubbish, and my golf is even worse, I'll still feel like I've had VFM.
 

Neilds

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As I flippantly mentioned on a similar thread, why do golfers think that their hobby should be any different from anything else? Not all things are priced the same - Michelin starred restaurants cost more than Nando’s which costs more than the local cafe, Rolls Royce charges more than Porsche who charge more than Skoda.
If you think something is too expensive, there are plenty of other options
 

The Fader

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Green fees at the top end are just not worth it for me. But I understand there is a clientele with a different viewpoint.

At the end of the day - most golf courses are just 95% grass of varying lengths with sand and possibly water dotted around.

As long as the greens are kept to a decent standard and there is some variety in the individual holes I'll be happy.

The company I play with is my main priority.

From the options offered by the OP - I'll take a week playing the cheapest 6 courses leaving me over £800 to spend on comfy
lodgings, good food and a few drinks. And there's probably still money left over to cover a couple of "Sunday Driver" away days.
 

Albo

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Pretty much simple supply and demand here.
If the demand is there green fees will continue to rise and rise, and from a pure business perspective, why wouldn’t they?!
If I was an owner of a course I’d get everything I could for my product, it would increase profitability if it were a business, or reduce subs for members if it’s a members club.
If the market starts changing then prices can recede.
 

Orikoru

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All green fees have gone up since the Covid golf boom and, I suppose, since the cost of everyone's bills soared upwards (including golf clubs). Courses near me that used to be playable for 35-40 quid are charging upwards of 60 to 80 now. Surely it can't last though? They just won't have any visitors so what's the point?
 

Klimski

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Obviously not all, but the amount of threads on here that complain about high green fees shows that a lot do
To be honest, the title is a bit click baity. For me personally, although it's regrettable that green fees seem to be rising with all other costs (logical), it's more the fascination of the line up I made, showing the vast differences in prices for what seems like a pretty similar experience. I played Kinghorn in 2022 and really really enjoyed it! I like your car analogy because that is pretty similar. Is a Bently really worth more than a Dacia if you see a car as a method of getting from A to B?
 

MACM85

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When I head over to Ireland to see the in laws with the Mrs I always check out what opens are on in the area for when I am there and hopefully book on to one or two.

One course that is a perfect example of price increase is Druids Glen. I played it a couple of years ago for €60 a round. They closed did some renovation and now the green fee is €220. Massive mark up and wouldn't get me to head there to enjoy a lovely course as it is far too much to pay
 

GB72

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I think that there is a degree of delusion of grandeur from courses a lot further down the pecking order. Too many perfectly OK £30 courses think that they are £50-£60 courses and there are £50-£60 courses that think they are £100 courses.

I think that there is a big difference between cost and value. A lot of these offer little that warrants the higher fees except that some clubs believe that they are better or more exclusive than they actually are. There will always be a premium of courses that are golf famous and you will always pay over the odds for courses that really do not need your green fees.
 

IanG

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No different to other choices we have when deciding how (and whether) to spend our money - green fees, concert tickets, fancy wine, new drivers and Pro V1s are all firmly in the 'what the market will bear' categories.
 

DeanoMK

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A course near me charges £45+ on a weekend and it's nothing more than a £25 course, but it's packed every single weekend and most weekdays.

I'm 40 in 2025 and am planning on a trip somewhere, likely Scotland, and as much as I'd love to go silly and play the big clubs, the idea of the bottom two options with one big one thrown in is much more appealing and would probably be a lot more fun too.
 

D-S

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I’d be interested to know what the pricing of the 4 trips that the OP referenced would have been 10 years or so ago. My guess is that the cheapest is about 20% higher now, the 2nd cheapest 20% higher, the third one 50-75% more expensive and the top one 200-300% more expensive - the top one being representative of the hike in green fees across most ”Top 100” courses.
 
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