I’m honestly starting to run out of ideas when it comes to writing golf articles. I feel like I am going through a writer’s block at the moment, but thankfully this idea came to my mind.
Golf, as we all know, can be stupid expensive. If you aren’t careful with saving money with this addicting game, it can get ugly. $250 here for a club, $50 here for a round, $25 here for balls… it adds up! Many times, the biggest expense with golf is simply the cost of paying for your round, though. Take that out of the equation, and you could potentially play golf for free! Believe it or not, though, there is a way that you can play rounds of golf for absolute no money at all.
So today we are going to talk about how to play golf for free!
Free Golf Clubs: Hand Me Downs
Alright, first things first. You can’t play golf without golf clubs. Here is a method that is simply not used enough. Don’t buy new clubs right off the bat. You will probably end up getting a really cheap golf set anyway, and it could break pretty quickly if you are not careful. Instead, look at all of your options.
Start with your family. Every family has “that one golf guy” that has played for years. He has probably racked up tons of golf clubs over the decades, and he would love to donate some of his older clubs to you. He might be weary of letting you use his more expensive clubs. However, those clubs for the 90’s that he forgot that he even kept? For sure, you can have them for free. Ask his wife instead, and you are likely to get a lot more! Grandfathers are notorious for keeping old golf clubs for far too long, so that is a good place to start..
If you somehow don’t have anyone in your family that has old golf clubs that you could have, look at your friends. Ask the biggest golfers you know if they have some clubs that they wouldn’t mind giving up for you to learn the game. Beggars can’t be choosers, so you will have to lower your expectations when it comes to what clubs you are getting. Heck, you are getting them for free though! Nothing much better than that.
Free Golf Balls: Find Them Yourself
Alright, so you’ve got your clubs, but now you need some balls. Hopefully the hand me down golf set has a few spare balls that came with it. Use those for as long as you can. But the MINUTE that you step on the course for the first time, you need to have your eyes peeled.
Always be looking for golf balls in the hazards, in thick grass, in muddy areas, in heavily treed areas, in water hazards, in tough-to-reach spots. The harder the spot is to get to, the least likely someone else has gotten there first. Consider where most golfers might miss on a hole. If there is a HUGE drop off beside the cart path, most people are too afraid to go down and look for balls. I’ve found myself in absolute golf ball gold mines at times!
Funnily enough, there is a slight trend to what golf balls you might find. My friend told me this many years ago, but I didn’t really believe it until I started to see it. Let me forward this with the fact that the golf balls you are going to find very much depend on where you are playing. If you are playing at a cheap course, you will find cheap balls. If you are playing at an expensive country club, you are more likely to find those prized Titleist Pro V1xs.
What my friend told me was this: the cheaper balls are typically found to the right of the fairway, while more expensive balls are found to the left. This is because golfers that aren’t as good will slice the ball into the tight trees. These same golfers typically have cheaper golf balls because they take the game less seriously. Those that hook the ball are often more experienced golfers that buy premium golf balls. An interesting thought, for sure!
Free Golf Rounds: Get a Part Time Job There
So here’s where things get really frugal. If you want to play golf for free, you need to work at that golf course. Doesn’t matter if you are full time or part time. Typically every golf course gives their employees free or highly discounted golf rounds. I worked at a course for many summers, and got to play for free all year round. It was a very high dollar country club as well, so I lucked out!
You need to do the same. See if you can work weekends. See if you can work mornings. Any free time that you have on a daily basis, consider what jobs need to be done then at a golf course. Go in person and ask if they are hiring.
See if you an marshal on the weekends. See if you can join the groundskeepers 3-4 days a week in the mornings. See if you can close down the range each day/evening. See if you can work in the pro shop. See if they are hiring for bag drop.
Do you own a business? Are you great at providing a certain service? See if you can work out a deal to provide that service or product to the club in exchange for a membership. You’d be surprised how many people have done that in the past.
Free Range Balls: Use a Friend or Check Your Local Courses
So you’ve got your free golf clubs, your free golf balls, and your free golf rounds. But you also want to hit free range balls. I get it, you are getting greedy. Very easy to do. Here’s what you need: a good friend or good research skills.
If you are good friends of a member of that course, you can ask them to give you extra range tokens. You can even go out to the range with them, and they could just bring the balls over for you. It all depends on how that course distributes their range balls. The moral of the story is that your buddy does you a favor, so you do him a favor! Buy him a soda, maybe a beer, throw him some (good) golf balls, etc.
The next option is a pretty risky one, but people do it all the time. I do NOT encourage it, but I am going to talk about it anyway, because…. well, I want to. You need to do research and see what the driving ranges are like around you. Many courses, typically the nicer ones, will have free range balls out. They are meant for their members, yes, but most courses don’t care or wouldn’t be affected much by you hitting some. The range picker is still going to have to go over the entire range to get balls; now they will just have to get a little more. I knew everyone at my country club, and I could tell when randos would be coming in to hit the free range balls that we had out. Depending on what course it is at, your results may vary. No one could bat an eye. Or someone could ask you if you are a member. Worst case, just say you are new in town and that you are checking out placed to join. Say you didn’t realize it was a priavate course. They might give you a really in depth tour of the place, depending on how convincing you are.
I feel super mischievous just talking about this haha. Again, I definitely would not recommend it, but I know people will do it anyway.