TPC Sawgrass - PLAYERS Stadium Course

The "True Cost" to Play America's 12 Most Expensive Golf Courses

This article originally appeared on

Every year before and after The Players Championship, I get flooded with questions about how much it costs to play the Player's Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass.

Few holes in golf inspire heart-pounding anticipation like the intimidating and iconic 17th at the Stadium Course. (Golf Odyssey)

It makes sense: the golf course is open to all, but there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer regarding the green fee.

For one thing, if you want the most bang for your buck, I recommend playing the course as part of a package (the prices of which are too varied to list here).

For another, there's a big difference between the mere "green fee" and the "all in" cost after factoring in some of the mandatory and optional extras.

Again, I wouldn't recommend paying the walk-up rate, but to give you an idea of what it is (and the realistic total cost of your entire day at TPC Sawgrass, here's a rough calculation:

Peak green fee: $495 ("only" $450 in March-May; October-November)

Tax: $30

Cart fee: included (cart-path-only at all times)

Range balls: included

*Caddie fee (mandatory if you want to walk; one half of two-bag walking caddie): $65

*Yardage guide: $5

TPC Sawgrass logo shirt: $60

*Post-round cocktail: $10

TOTAL: $665

(*not mandatory, but part of most people's normal experiences and resort golf expenditures)

As you can see, the posted green fee is seldom the end of your ultimate spend, and this is the case at many upper-echelon courses where caddie fees and gratuities can be mandatory.

In fact, this got me wondering about the "true cost" at the other places often labeled as, "the most expensive golf courses in America."

I didn't calculate as many extras like I did for TPC Sawgrass, but below are the base green fees and any mandatory and suggested caddie fees and gratuities.

Again, this assumes you're paying the walk-up rate, but most (if not all) of these courses/resorts have more reasonable package pricing.

Interestingly, one course's fee has recently dropped: Cascata in Las Vegas, which debuted with a base fee of $500 but is now a relative bargain at "only" $445.

Below is the full list...

Going by base green fees, Las Vegas high-roller havens Shadow Creek and Wynn are the most expensive "public" courses in the U.S. (Shadow Creek/MGM Resorts)

t-1) Shadow Creek: $500+

$500 peak green fee includes forecaddie, but not gratuity

t-1) Wynn Golf Course: $500+ 

$500 peak green fee includes forecaddie, but not gratuity

t-3) TPC Sawgrass - PLAYERS Stadium Course: $495 - $635

$495 peak green fee (with cart; cart-path-only at all times) + $27.50 forecaddie fee + $20 forecaddie gratuity OR $66 double-bag caddie fee + $25 gratuity OR $90 single walking caddie fee + $40 gratuity

t-3) Pebble Beach Golf Links: $495 - $630

$495 peak green fee + optional caddie fee of $80 + $35-$55 suggested gratuity

t-3) Trump National Doral Resort - Blue Monster: $495 - $595

$450 peak green fee + $25 mandatory forecaddie fee + $20 recommended gratuity; single walking caddie fee is $125 + $20 gratuity

6) Whistling Straits - Straits Course: $490

$385 green fee + $65 mandatory caddie fee + $40 suggested caddie gratuity

7) Cascata Golf Course: $445

$395 peak green fee + $25 mandatory forecaddie fee + $25 standard gratuity

The Greenbrier's Old White TPC Course is a splendid but spendy experience. (The Greenbrier)

8) The Greenbrier - TPC Old White Course: $440

$385 peak green fee +$30 mandatory forecaddie fee + $25 standard gratuity

9) Pinehurst Resort - No. 2 Course: $420 - $505

$420 peak green fee (with cart; cart-path-only at all times) + $55 walking caddie fee + $30 minimum caddie gratuity

10) French Lick Springs - Pete Dye Course: $405 

$350 peak green fee + $30 mandatory forecaddie fee + $25 standard gratuity

11) Spyglass Hill Golf Course: $395

$395 peak green fee includes cart

12) Kiawah Island - The Ocean Course: $390 - $460

$390 peak green fee includes cart (cart-path-only at all times) and forecaddie or walking caddie base fee, but not gratuity, which is $35 for forecaddie or $70 for walking caddie

Total maximum cost of these 12 golf experiences: 

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the above figures are based on peak season "walk-in" rates.

You can often play these courses for a LOT less, particularly if you keep an eye on our email alerts.

(For example, we recently tipped you off about great packages at Pebble Beach and Whistling Straits.)

What do you think about the rates at, "America's most expensive golf courses?"

Overpriced or worth every penny?

Please share your thoughts or read what others are saying below.

May 12, 2015

Join the conversation

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Josh's avatar
Josh wrote at 2018-05-30 17:38:47+00:00:

Why would you ever pay this much to golf. I can go to the local park and hit a ball wherever I want!!!!!

Rick's avatar
Rick wrote at 2017-12-11 22:13:07+00:00:

These courses are a treat to ones self ... enjoy!

Kevin's avatar
Kevin wrote at 2017-09-05 21:50:45+00:00:

Of course it's overpriced. I have been to Pebble, Whistling Straits, Torrey Pines, Bandon, Kingsley, etc..and then i have played a ton of muni courses. Pebble has 6 great holes and 12 average. Given a choice i would play a good muni with 3 good friends. Cost doesn't make a course great, enjoy the game with friends and save some money.

Kayla's avatar
Kayla wrote at 2017-07-19 23:48:25+00:00:

In some places where I live we have some beautiful courses, Mareeba golf course is only $14 to play golf and an extra $25 for a buggy. That's ridiculous to charge $100+ for a game of golf

Luke's avatar
Luke wrote at 2017-07-02 00:42:05+00:00:

I pay 5 dollars to play golf at my local golf course. That's ridiculous.

Matt a Sawgrass's avatar
Matt a Sawgrass wrote at 2016-06-13 02:10:08+00:00:

I realize this is old thread. However, it's worth noting that the Stadium Course was immediately closed after The Players (2016) for a full blown 6 month overhaul. Right now, it's June 12th and I can see soil piled two stories high on 13. There is speculation about layout and greens fees. It will be interesting to see where it all ends up.

Rick's avatar
Rick wrote at 2016-04-25 19:54:53+00:00:

I have played 6 of the courses listed. I agree with all comments. Too pricey to play multiple times a year---or even 2 of them. I have spread it out over the past 10 years, bucket list with Torrey Pines North & South included. After watching all of the great tournaments on tv for so long it was time for me to enjoy while I can. Outside of those, I find the municipal courses like Costa Mesa, where you can play for well under $50 on a weekend.

Scott's avatar
Scott wrote at 2016-02-07 15:07:58+00:00:

Great conversation and it's certain there's no right or wrong answers here, just opinion. Whether the price is considered too high is strictly personal. We have to remember that golf is a business and places such as Pebble (especially) are unique. If the tee sheet is full, why would they reduce the fees? Because they're nice way it's about revenue and profit just like any other high demand limited production/available product. I've been fortunate to play most of these courses and due to connections in the golf industry either at a reduced cost or even no charge. With that said, under different circumstances there's some of these courses I'd pay full fare for and others not. $40 bucks for my local muni track is a lousy value in my opinion due to conditions, pace of play, boring layout, etc, yet $250 or more is a bargain at other venue So! For me personally, my best golf experiences have had no relation to cost. It's usually about the company your with, the laughs, the tears, the beauty, the challenge, the competition, a little scratch won or lost, the good shots and bad and of course a great 19th hole to recap it all! I've had awesome times on dog tracks, have had lousy times on the top-100 tracks. In the end, get out there and enjoy the game with people you enjoy hanging out with for four hours. Whether your wallet can stomach $5, $50 or $500, enjoy the aspects of what makes this game the best game in the world!

If need be, save a dollar a day and you'll be playing Pebble in no time!

PGRT's avatar
PGRT wrote at 2015-12-29 15:02:14+00:00:

for those logo sensitive people that buy teslas... very overrated for the average golfer

Brian from NC's avatar
Brian from NC wrote at 2015-09-29 16:55:56+00:00:

I have only been playing for about three years and this summer I really became addicted. The feeling of wanting to go out and do nothing but play drives me. That said, I am not rich/well off and I play with clubs my dad gave me when I was 15. I love the game of golf because of the challenge and the fun I have with my friends. I cant afford to play any course but the one in my hometown and its terrible for the most part. I have played other courses, but I cant afford to hand over $55 once a week to play golf. New clubs? Ha, ya right. I only buy used golf equipment and even then it is expensive. I would never pay 500$ or $100 to play any course. The cost kills my ability to enjoy the game.

Keith's avatar
Keith wrote at 2015-05-24 13:17:21+00:00:

Would love to play all of them before I die. Damn better get started. Bucket

Golf Channel Am Tour Member's avatar
Golf Channel Am Tour Member wrote at 2015-05-23 23:17:53+00:00:

Played Whistling straits 5/14/15 for $225 plus caddie, expensive yes but it was a bucket list item. Playing as part of the AM tour discount (had a tournament at sister courses Black Wolf Run the following two days). This $160 savings paid for most of my yearly dues to AM tour.

We get to play some PGA tour caliber courses for reduced rates and lodging.

Join the AM tour and start playing these fabulous tracks under tournament conditions and save a few bucks along the way, and if you get to Whistling Straits ask for Andy for your caddie.

Gary's avatar
Gary wrote at 2015-05-23 22:47:56+00:00:

I agree with the comment about the first tee program. It is a great way to get more people interested in this wonderful game called golf. It is also very sad that most of the graduates of first tee won't be playing due to the ever rising of prices. I have watched the new baseball stadiums being built over the past few years , they all have one thing in common. Less bleacher seats for the kids & more expensive sky boxes for the elite. We now have less interest in baseball by our youth. Golf needs to wake up or only the elite will be playing

Steve S.'s avatar
Steve S. wrote at 2015-05-22 18:18:33+00:00:

I am a retired disabled Veteran and love golf. I do not have alot of money therefore green fees are a major factor where I get to play. With the cost of equipment, I have never owned a new set of clubs, green fees and other things associated with the game continually increasing I have gone from playing once a week to once a month.

bobarson's avatar
bobarson wrote at 2015-05-21 05:04:51+00:00:

I played several of the course listed above. The only one I would pay for again is Pebble just because of the history. One course not listed is Atuyone at Turning Stone in Verona , NY. what a treat, I try to go back every year.

Rusty's avatar
Rusty wrote at 2015-05-19 22:33:34+00:00:

Over priced and these are just the top 12, what about others - $200.00 - $300.00 How long would that list be if it went to a $150.00? Which is still crazy. Why? This is most likely the result of ex-pros turned designers who what $20 000 000 to design a course. And there a lot of them. We have to pay for it in the long run. The joke is a lot of these courses are over designed and unplayable by the people - you and I - that use them and maintain them with our money. And because they are so tricky you have to have a caddie or a fore caddie. Some of the courses designed in the '20s are better than today and the designer / architect probably got life membership and a Sunday lunch.


Jerry's avatar
Jerry wrote at 2015-05-19 14:53:19+00:00:

Whistling Straits has a twilight rate ($270) that also allows you to play without using a caddie. While still pricey, this allowed us to save a few bucks and we still got all 18 holes in by teeing off right at 4:00 pm.

Jim's avatar
Jim wrote at 2015-05-17 16:41:14+00:00:

What a bunch of crybabies...wah wah wah!!!! Stick to your muni's...these courses were not built for you!!! If these courses were priced at $50 - $100 they would be sold out 365 days a year and look like muni's.

Aussie Norman's avatar
Aussie Norman wrote at 2015-05-17 10:30:50+00:00:

I am lucky enough to be a member at The New South Wales GC in Sydney Australia which was designed by Alister McKenzie in the 1930s.

I played on Pebble Beach 40 years ago. It was worth the fee then and is still a wonderful challenge.

Great golf courses are worth the money to play at least once!!!

Michael's avatar
Michael wrote at 2015-05-14 10:52:34+00:00:

I became "addicted" to playing the best links courses in Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland during my first visit there in 1984. Between 1984 and 1996 I returned there 13 additional times and was fortunate to play a total of 517 rounds on those championship links courses. My oh my........did I ever discover a golfer's heaven! For an example, all-day green fees at world famous courses such as Ballybunion (Old), Royal County Down, Royal Portrush, Royal Dornoch, Carnoustie, etc., ranged from $7 to $12 in the mid-80's. I bought a 7-day ticket at Carnoustie in 1985 for $65.......played 19 rounds on the championship course with that ticket.......$3.40 per round to play one of the best and most challenging links courses in the world! I'm so glad that I was able to play those great courses then, because most of the great ones today cost $150-$300 per round, unless they have a reduced twilight rate. I long for the "good ol' days" but I am ever so grateful that I was able to follow my dreams "across the pond" so many times.........when golf there was incredibly affordable.

Peter Mac's avatar
Peter Mac wrote at 2015-05-14 06:49:04+00:00:

Come to South Africa and play some of the greatest courses in the World for between $40 & $50 airfare a bit pricey but hey you only live once!

Curtiss mull's avatar
Curtiss mull wrote at 2015-05-14 06:35:46+00:00:

I believe most players pay that much for an ego trip. The enjoyment of golf is the people you are with, the pleasure of shots hit and the interest of the layout. That you can get at 100sof courses. Just to tell your buddies that you paid 500 to play one round doesn't add much Americans love to go to the Isles, play all the famous courses and miss out on the real experience of Scotish and Irish golf. Guarrentee you, Trump will raise the Turnberry cost to the same level soon. I played there for five days and stayed at the hotel 5nights for two for $1500 several years ago. Also grew up playing Firestone for$50 per year as a junior member as my dad worked there at the company.

Ken's avatar
Ken wrote at 2015-05-14 06:29:40+00:00:

I try to book early afternoons in the off-season and walk when permitted. The courses are empty, I can play two balls on each hole, and the price is much lower. Pinehurst was under $200 and numerous other top 100 courses can be found for under $80.

Aussie Phil's avatar
Aussie Phil wrote at 2015-05-13 22:44:23+00:00:

Ridiculous prices - been happily playing the game for 51 years now and have never needed to boast a round at these 'celebrity' courses. Perhaps a 3 or 4 marker would benefit from being able to hit 10/12 fairways, and 15/16 greens but 90% can't. Where is the enjoyment? Note article from Bloomberg below. They only have themselves to blame.

Jan. 17 (Bloomberg) -- More golf courses closed than opened in the U.S. in 2013 for the eighth straight year, according to the National Golf Foundation.

A total of 14 18-hole courses opened last year, up from 13.5 in 2012, while 157.5 courses were closed during the year.

Jose L Haurie's avatar
Jose L Haurie wrote at 2015-05-13 21:47:05+00:00:

way overrated. I don't think you will ever see me playing any of these courses.

Steve from Camp Hill's avatar
Steve from Camp Hill wrote at 2015-05-13 14:03:44+00:00:

For the average working guy, "no way"! For the guys making the big bucks, no problemo!

I played Shadow Greek about 10 years ago and this course is way overated @ plus $500, especially in dormant month of January when we payed it!

May be when I hit the lottery things will be different!

Joseph Pickett's avatar
Joseph Pickett wrote at 2015-05-13 14:01:46+00:00:

Nothing is overpriced if someone is willing to pay the rate, the problem is only the rich can afford it witch is why golf is considered elitist.

VA, MD & PA's avatar
VA, MD & PA wrote at 2015-05-13 08:23:43+00:00:

The number one ranked public course in MD (Bulle Rock, ranked #45 on Golf Digest Top 100 Public) costs $130.

The number one ranked public course in VA (Primland, ranked #31 on Golf Digest's Top 100 Public) costs $175 for guests/$200 for non-guests. (And they have 15 minute teetimes!)

Mystic Rock (Nemacolin Resort in PA) and Golden Horseshoe Gold (Williamsburg, VA) are ranked #60 and #62 and cost around $160 (peak) but can be played for considerably less--even in peak season.

These are still expensive courses, but seem to me to be a much better bang for your buck than any of the courses in this article.

Ron's avatar
Ron wrote at 2015-05-13 08:08:17+00:00:

As a "one off experience" I could be tempted to play Pebble Beach or Sawgrass because I have already played both so often "on TV" with the Pros. P.B. must be the most expensive Public Course in the world.

John's avatar
John wrote at 2015-05-13 08:07:38+00:00:

$429.00 drivers, a set of irons is getting close to a $1000.00, putters $250.00. And then we see these promotions for the First tee program, where will these kids play and will they be able to afford it? Better to teach them tennis.

Frans Kruger's avatar
Frans Kruger wrote at 2015-05-13 06:43:16+00:00:

Ridiculous prices. Come to sunny south Africa where you will pay less than $100 for courses in pristine condition.

Rob's avatar
Rob wrote at 2015-05-13 06:27:55+00:00:

Only $15 guest fee to play with a "memer" at Spyglass Hill (or $35 with a cart). Get after it though as the special 50 year SGH membership arrangement expires in March 2016 and it will not be extended.

Fortunate to play with a member at SGH numerous times. Enjoy SGH much more than Pebble Beach as SGH has ocean holes plus lots of character on almost every hole!

Roland's avatar
Roland wrote at 2015-05-13 05:09:02+00:00:

Played TPC Sawgrass a few years ago as part of a 12 person package. We stayed at the TPC condos for two nights and also played Dye's Valley course, The King and the Bear and the Slammer and the Squire at the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine. Paid $1200 not including the round trip from CA. The deals are definitely out there. We played in Sept. (Put two in the water on 17. Best 7 I ever had!)

charles's avatar
charles wrote at 2015-05-13 03:44:22+00:00:

Played 'tour 18' in Houston last week for 60.00, it was great, you don't have to spend a lot.

Colin's avatar
Colin wrote at 2015-05-13 03:32:02+00:00:

Having played many of the top courses in the world it is true that it's a wonderful experience to play those where the greats have trod but really, $500+ is way too much and simply not justified when there are other courses you can seek out which are just as good (or better). The one that really gets me though are these stick to the cart path courses e.g. Pebble Beach. It totally ruins the game of golf as it meant to be played when your ball is 50-100 yards from the cart and you have to guess which club you'll need for the next shot without benefit of knowing lie and distance just for starters. So you carry 5 clubs to your ball and still find you don't have the club you want! Of course you can hire a caddie but that can be a mixed bag (no pun intended). Yes, if you get a good one they can tell you the distance but then you have to listen to all the verbal crap that goes with typically verbose American caddies when all you want to know is how far and what hazards there are that you can't see. Of course GPS and Laser devices can overcome this to a large degree so why do you need a caddie? Presumably to protect the grass around the greens but some well-placed signs or instructions from the starter would ensure serious golfers respect the rules. I've played Pebble 3 times now but never again as the golf experience was spoiled by the cart rule and/or caddie stipulation.

Slurpeee's avatar
Slurpeee wrote at 2015-05-13 03:13:15+00:00:

Interesting you refer to the post round cocktail as "optional". I'd call it (a) mandatory (b) all things considered the the most bang for your buck on the day.

Make mine dry with extra olives

John's avatar
John wrote at 2015-05-13 02:12:58+00:00:

I've played the Ocean Course at Kiawah and it is a thrilling experience. Once, my seven year old son ( at the time ) who had worked under a Pro since age five, played with me. The wind was so strong at times, it literally picked him up and moved him ( not talking about the ball) at least 8 inches. When he finally quit laughing, he calmly sank the put !

This is true.

Don's avatar
Don wrote at 2015-05-13 01:19:03+00:00:

Shows how many Corporate events are played at these courses. Typically businesses are the only ones who will pay these silly fees. If you stay on the premises, you can get on Sawgrass for half what this is saying. I went to Jax for business, stayed at the Marriott, and played Sawgrass for $175. It was about 10 years ago so buyer beware, but the rack rate was like $295.

John R.'s avatar
John R. wrote at 2015-05-13 01:06:38+00:00:

Was fortunate enough to win a trip to French Lick.Played both the Donald Ross course and the Pete Dye course. Nothing I could normally afford, but if I ever got the chance to return I would do it in a heartbeat. The Dye course is truly breathtaking. Expensive yes, but the entire staff was outstanding.Made me and my buddy feel like superstars.

Mickey Bitsko's avatar
Mickey Bitsko wrote at 2015-05-13 00:50:08+00:00:

I agree- La Mirada needs to be listed as a destination

bud in la's avatar
bud in la wrote at 2015-05-13 00:49:19+00:00:

where is Alondra & Chester Washington on this list.

One of the hi end tracks is La Mirada

Frank Ponte Vedra's avatar
Frank Ponte Vedra wrote at 2015-05-12 22:05:58+00:00:

TPC Sawgrass way over price. From May 11 till Sep. they talking down all the stands. Tons on noise and no discount.

Second how do you take your kids to play these courses. No way paying $600.00

The Saint Johns golf and county club greens make TPC greens look second rate.

Save your money and play the best greens in Jacksonville. Saint Johns off of 210. $ 50.00.

Tom's avatar
Tom wrote at 2015-05-12 21:56:17+00:00:

Back in '85 I played TPC Sawgrass for $55 and then a replay that same day for just the cart fee. Now plan to play it in June when the rate is "only" $250. That same summer I played Doral Blue Monster for $95 and Pinehurst #2 for $60 surcharge. Those were good times.

Paul's avatar
Paul wrote at 2015-05-12 21:33:21+00:00:

The prices will stay high as long as people pay them. Want them lower- stay away from them and eventually prices will come down. If it doesn't happen in your life time, play Bethpage black.

Joe donaldson's avatar
Joe donaldson wrote at 2015-05-12 21:28:17+00:00:

I have had the pleasure to play several of the named courses and they were magnificent, however none more beautiful than the northern coast of Ireland. They make the coastline of Pebble Beach look average! And I might add at a much less expensive rate. plus the friendliest people I have ever met!

Don from Indy's avatar
Don from Indy wrote at 2015-05-12 20:53:23+00:00:

I'd like to play 18 at TPC Sawgrass, I wouldn't mind the 495-635 dollars if they'd let me tee-off @ #17, 18-times.

Imagine the golf-ball sales I'd generate at the club house!!

:) :) :)

The Dave's avatar
The Dave wrote at 2015-05-12 20:29:04+00:00:

To Steve R

GFY - you're a major jerk

mike d's avatar
mike d wrote at 2015-05-12 20:27:00+00:00:

I've played 6 of these courses. You can pay 1/2 price at Spyglass by purchasing Duke card. It's good for a year and everyone in the 4some also pays half. Cost is about $300, but pays for itself quickly, especially if you can split the cost with your golf buddies. Spanish Bay is also included. I played SH 5x one year for under $200 per round.

None's avatar
None wrote at 2015-05-12 20:04:44+00:00:

Unless you have the money. These courses are certainly not worth the price. If you love to golf than you would.most certainly like to play 6/or.7 nice courses then one of.these.

Murray's avatar
Murray wrote at 2015-05-12 20:02:18+00:00:

I work as a forecaddie/caddie at a course that charges $290 in season, which is insane. But it's also what the market will bear, which ultimately determines the cost of everything but govt programs and California water. Would I pay any of the above fees? Only if I won the lottery first. Plenty of terrific courses for way, way less.

William's avatar
William wrote at 2015-05-12 19:41:20+00:00:

I have been to the Masters on numerous occasions and would love to play the course. However, I am a realist and know I will never get the chance. As for the others I know I would not pay the prices they are asking. I enjoy golf, but let's face it $200.00 to $500.00 is ridiculous just to play one of these courses. I have played Sugarloaf and Princeville in Hawaii, beautiful courses and nowhere near the price of these. I'll continue to play the pastures and let the rich play these courses.

Duke Lancey's avatar
Duke Lancey wrote at 2015-05-12 19:33:12+00:00:

The courses should require proof of income to play. Chuckle. Ask your mama for permission and go get lost.

Bruce's avatar
Bruce wrote at 2015-05-12 18:48:17+00:00:

As a once in a lifetime experience for a good golfer....OK. Otherwise overpriced. I have played Pebble and Spyglass and most of the greats in Scotland and Ireland. For regular golf they are way overpriced. I think most golfers consider them bucket list events and play them once. Most can't afford to play them regularly.

Steve R's avatar
Steve R wrote at 2015-05-12 18:47:03+00:00:

Recently spent 5 days at Pebble Beach with my wife and 2 sons. Our HDCP range is 9 to 15. We stayed at the Inn at Spanish Bay $750/night and played Pebble, Spyglass, Spanish Bay and both courses at Monterey Peninsula CC. We used 1 Caddie at each course (AVG $300) All in all it was about a $15,000 dollar trip plus Air fare from the east coast. We had great weather and played great and the caddies were tremendous help!

Expensive??? You bet! But worth every penny to share it with my wife and kids! Can't wait to do it again after we hit Bandon, Whistling Straits and Streamsong!

Scotty Y's avatar
Scotty Y wrote at 2015-05-12 18:13:15+00:00:

I barely take home 500 a week, to pay 100 to play golf better include a massage after. $500 better include more.

E Christensen's avatar
E Christensen wrote at 2015-05-12 18:03:03+00:00:

I have played a lot of the best courses in the World during my life......All of them have been a good to great experience........but not a lot better than most courses:-)......All together most of the hype is marketing........Especially the American courses are overpriced and lacking in charm.

European courses are more natural and much more charming......and by the way a lot cheaper.

Mark's avatar
Mark wrote at 2015-05-12 18:01:16+00:00:

I love golf. And I would love to play many of these courses - all of them if I could get to them. But I've played Eagle's Nest in Toronto for $80 and Glen Abbey way back when for a more reasonable price. So, sorry but paying more than $100-$150 for a round of golf ANYWHERE is just buying into the snobbery and elitism that golf is becoming. And Augusta tops it off with their lack of full access to the Masters (the whole thing should be televised on public TV) - because they can and they are SOOOO full of themselves. So, as much as I love golf, I keep my senses intact when considering what I will pay for green fees.

Bob's avatar
Bob wrote at 2015-05-12 17:46:15+00:00:

Winter golf in Northwest Ohio is out of the question so we play indoors on a simulator. Jan. & Feb. 2015 we played Pebble Beach, TPC Sawgrass, and TPC Scottsdale for $20 per man. Loads of fun and the price is right. The only thing you miss is the wind in your hair if you still have hair.

John's avatar
John wrote at 2015-05-12 17:36:57+00:00:

I have played 4 of the courses on this list (Pebble, Whistling Straights, Spy, and Ocean Course) I only paid the rates described at Pebble. I also had to stay in Lodge which added $600-700 a night to the rate.

The prices may reflect the intersection of supply and demand, but as a avid affluent golfer who enjoys playing the top courses, I don't think any of these course justify this amount of my money.

In fact, the exorbitant cost is causing my interest in golf to wane. Remember when membership at a private club was several hundred a month...ignoring the downstroke. Now there isn't a course in my area with dues less than $1000 per month. I fear the game is killing itself before we even talk about pace of play.

Adam's avatar
Adam wrote at 2015-05-12 17:35:40+00:00:

In the US, I have only paid over $100 for a round of golf once, and that was at Mystic Rock (Nemacolin Woods resort in PA). Including a forecaddie (and a decent tip), it was about $160. It was well worth it, and given the chance I would do it again.

I have also played Torrey Pines (North & South)---each for under $100. Well worth the price I paid--and I would probably pay (at least a little)more for the same experience.

On the other hand, I have said "No, Thanks!" to a lot of courses because they were too expensive--even if you are only going to play them once. There are too many good courses out there for so much less money (and great courses that are much better deals) that I can give my business to.

Bill B's avatar
Bill B wrote at 2015-05-12 17:34:38+00:00:

I'm 84 years old and have played most of these courses over the years. I played Pebble when it was $70 and a year ago when it was $500+ it is still an outstanding golf course everyone should play it at least once. But I play golf four times a week and I have to agree golf is just pricing itself out of business I live in Florida and golf courses down here have really priced themselves out of business and there rates are nowhere near the rates most golf courses are asking. Find a small golf course become a member and be happy.

Tony's avatar
Tony wrote at 2015-05-12 17:29:01+00:00:

I have played Merion, Doral, TPC Sawgrass, Pebble Beach, Bay Hill among a lot of other great resort and public and private courses. I would pay as much as $250 to play any of these courses, any more than that is a bit much. It is a special treat and depending on when you play them and the condition of the course it may be over rated. Having said that, it is just as much golf and the enjoyment comes from playing on a well designed and maintained course that tests your game as much as playing some of these iconic courses and emptying your wallet.

Mark's avatar
Mark wrote at 2015-05-12 17:03:16+00:00:

I played Pebble many years ago for just under 300. I thought that was too much. Paying today's prices for some of these courses is just plain highway robbery. I'll add my remarks to those who've said golf is headed down the wrong path if prices don't soften

Frank's avatar
Frank wrote at 2015-05-12 16:47:10+00:00:

Craig Lyles, I feel your pain. I am a millionaire and will not get sucked in by fees like this just so I can annoy my friends with my hole-by-hole description of my Sawgrass experience. All that would get me is an entry in Dickopedia!

Jim's avatar
Jim wrote at 2015-05-12 16:42:18+00:00:

Have played most of these courses over the years when they were not as expensive. There are many great courses that you can play for less than $100. Leave the high dollar courses alone, they're not worth the price.

Dick's avatar
Dick wrote at 2015-05-12 16:41:41+00:00:

I try to play one of the "Top" golf courses every year. I love the game, the history and the stories. I save up the money in little chunks so that it is not so bad. Many of these courses have a military/senior/off-season rate which can cut the price in half. On-line golf discounts are out there as well. It is definitely worth the extra money but I agree with all the comments about the golf industry pricing themselves out of the business.

tjduban's avatar
tjduban wrote at 2015-05-12 16:34:28+00:00:

You constantly hear how golf is not growing in comparison to many other sports! The reasons given are, to much time per round, too hard to play, distance, etc., but why doesn't anyone ever say the main reason for golf deterioration is COST! I am not poor by any means yet I could not justify paying $500 plus for fees and then realistically knowing by the time you are through the total is $600+. Even small town golf has picked up the pricing and at $65 to $70 dollars a round, eliminates a lot of people from trying golf. Then remember equipment $700+ shoes $50 plus, balls $30 plus, and lessons $50 plus and on and on. Is the time it takes to play a round really the reason golf is on the decline?

Joe in the 305's avatar
Joe in the 305 wrote at 2015-05-12 16:30:28+00:00:

Just to state the obvious: Sawgrass, Shadow, Trump-Doral & Wynn more expensive or tied with the cost to play Pebble Beach, those resorts are obviously the epitome of overrated! As many of us all know to well, these resorts know no shame when it comes to setting their rates.

bud in la's avatar
bud in la wrote at 2015-05-12 16:29:13+00:00:

how many has 2 putt weber checked off?

Adam's avatar
Adam wrote at 2015-05-12 16:13:47+00:00:

I know very few people who would shell out over $100 for a round of golf, and those who are willing would expect a fantastic experience for the money. It's hard to even imagine paying $25 or more per hole (or $100 per hour) for a round.

With the ridiculous cost of equipment, instruction, and green fees at so many places, it isn't hard to see why people are not flocking to the game.

Dennis's avatar
Dennis wrote at 2015-05-12 16:06:32+00:00:

Pebble beach wA

Mike's avatar
Mike wrote at 2015-05-12 15:55:48+00:00:

These courses might be wonderful, but NO golf is worth that much! Golf courses all over are hurting and yet they keep raising rates. No wonder the sport is in trouble!

Jim in Palm Springs's avatar
Jim in Palm Springs wrote at 2015-05-12 15:47:39+00:00:

Come here in summer and play PGA West for a quarter point f the in season cost, just be ready for the high temps, but hey, it's a dry heat!

andre's avatar
andre wrote at 2015-05-12 15:45:18+00:00:

Le golf se Porte bien, ici au Quebec les terrains en arrachent

peu de gens peuvent se permettre ce luxe indecent

Dan K's avatar
Dan K wrote at 2015-05-12 15:40:06+00:00:

I've played Pebble and Spyglass on this list, and to echo Paul's comments I would pay again to play Pebble. Just an awesome experience with unreal views and history. I also dropped a lot of coin to play Merion, and would do so for any of the top 10 courses that have a ton of history, but not for most of these resort courses on this list.

Produce Wiz's avatar
Produce Wiz wrote at 2015-05-12 15:29:58+00:00:

Wonder why golfers quit . Ridiculous green fees.

Aaron's avatar
Aaron wrote at 2015-05-12 15:29:25+00:00:

I have played 8 of the 12. These are not courses you play every day. These are the courses that you treat yourself to once in awhile. These are all beautiful courses that are way beyond the courses you play regularly. It is worth it if you can do it.

BriMarx's avatar
BriMarx wrote at 2015-05-12 15:25:25+00:00:

Ah, the Disneyland of golf. I like getting GOOD bang for my buck and I don't feed the rat.

Jeff Gonda's avatar
Jeff Gonda wrote at 2015-05-12 15:20:33+00:00:

How do you get the job of "Caddie?" I am looking to fill the position at one of these courses. Obviously, these are way too pricey for normal duffers.

Prof Ott's avatar
Prof Ott wrote at 2015-05-12 15:17:37+00:00:

Places like these are special. Prices are high, but experiences like these are so rich in tradition they often times are truly priceless. Life is short. Enjoy the day and play your own game!

Paul from albany's avatar
Paul from albany wrote at 2015-05-12 15:11:00+00:00:

I have played two on the list: Pebble and Spyglass. For a once in a decade experience, they were worth it. I don't think I would pay that much to play the others, but I would to play Pebble again. It isn't the hardest course or maybe the best designed course, but overall given the condition, beauty, history and just feeling of excitement you get playing that gem, I can think of no other (public) course I would rather play. I say public, because I would rather play Cypress or Augusta National, but I don't have a prayer of ever playing those gems. By the way, you can walk Pebble or Spyglass without taking a caddie or a golf cart, though you essentially pay for the cart you are not taking. Still no one forces you to take the cart, and I think that is great! Unless you have a handicap, taking a cart at Pebble is a sacrilege!

Peter.P.'s avatar
Peter.P. wrote at 2015-05-12 15:10:42+00:00:

When we have so many great courses to play at a fraction of the cost of these, I have to say that they are grossly overvalued and not worth it!

Tom Haag's avatar
Tom Haag wrote at 2015-05-12 15:08:21+00:00:

To play a course where the World's BEST have played and to walk in their footsteps is definitely on my bucket list.I am not one of the Rich and Famous that Ed mentioned, but if you have a TRUE love and passion for the game, it is worth socking away a few dollars to do so.I played the Copperhead course the weekend after the Valspar and I was not disappointed and it was worth the price.But then again you can always go the route of the Virtual experiences opening up,they are pretty realistic and air conditioned.Plus you don't have to wait for the cart girl to come around.

Peter's avatar
Peter wrote at 2015-05-12 15:07:40+00:00:

It makes one yearn for the good old days. We used to travel to California in March in post-university days when Spyglass was the SCGA course. It was.....wait for it......$16! A friend of mine drove the 25 hours from Vancouver just to play it, and drove home again. Around the same time (late 70's/early 80's) we had to unglue our wallets to pay $75 for Pebble and $70 for Riviera. Today's prices are a joke, but someone will obviously pay them!

To bring us into the modern era, we're heading to Ireland this week to play and giving the big miss to Royal Portrush with it's $300+ green fee. I hate to miss it, but there are many other courses to experience the game on.

Rev. Nagi's avatar
Rev. Nagi wrote at 2015-05-12 15:07:12+00:00:

I played Sawgrass a few years ago and found it quite delightful. Of course, at the time, I was working for the Ritz-Carlton golf course in Bradenton, FL. They invited us up there and we got to play a premier course for free. So maybe delightful doesn't cover it...

Bob H.'s avatar
Bob H. wrote at 2015-05-12 15:06:19+00:00:

I have worked in the Golf industry and fought high fees most of my life. Fees at most courses are set by those to whom money is easy to come by. Golf used to be a common man's game. It is now, once again evolving to become an elitist game. And, they wonder why the number of golfers is not increasing like it was when the average round of golf was $5-7.00.

John's avatar
John wrote at 2015-05-12 15:05:37+00:00:

I think if some of these are on your bucket list, then it's worthwhile

TPC Sawgrass is super, Pebble is awesome, and Spyglass - challenging.

Only had 3 of the 10 on my bucket list - I'm done unless I get an opportunity to play Augusta

Forget about the $$$$ - enjoy the golf

William's avatar
William wrote at 2015-05-12 15:04:37+00:00:

played many of these golf courses but did not pay that much because we stayed at their lodge.

calvin lamb's avatar
calvin lamb wrote at 2015-05-12 15:01:56+00:00:

i live in jacksonville. we have enough 20-50 courses, funny if u are a 20 hdcp on 500 course will be the same. save 480 and play one of the other courses in the area.

Cyril Blanc's avatar
Cyril Blanc wrote at 2015-05-12 14:58:31+00:00:

Being at the Intercontinental Hotel of Mare Menor ***** , Murcia Spain, we play 8 euro/10$ on the 6 Nike golfs of the hotel.

We pay 460 euro for 33 days of golf cart !

I will NEVER pay 400 to 600 $

The maximum I have paid is 100 euro to play the "Ile aux Cerf", the golf course is in the 10 of the best golf courses in the world !

What I found is that it is great to find hotel with golf courses, the green fee is either 0$ (you just pay a few $ for the buggy if needed) or a very small fee.

Do you have adresses like this in SC ? elsewhere ?

Jim's avatar
Jim wrote at 2015-05-12 14:58:06+00:00:

Way overrated - just want to play the course, not buy it. There are a lot better deals elsewhere, and the courses are just as good.

Troy's avatar
Troy wrote at 2015-05-12 14:56:33+00:00:

I have played Cascata a dozen times and never paid more than $250. Shadow Creek is nice, but only worth playing once at $500. The Wynn is not worth close to $500 -- way over rated.

Andy A.'s avatar
Andy A. wrote at 2015-05-12 14:53:19+00:00:

The rack rate for TPC Sawgrass in June drops to $250 which is much better, but limits your advance tee time ability. Since most travel packages require multiple golfers or multiple nights, I cannot take advantage of those. But, I hate to share this, the Best Deal in Golf EVER is at Kiawah Island in the winter; and if you travel solo you can the play the package course twice!! Available at the Ocean as well as their other championship courses.

steve's avatar
steve wrote at 2015-05-12 14:52:42+00:00:

if golf is dying they need to lower a hurry

Graham Gregg's avatar
Graham Gregg wrote at 2015-05-12 14:51:47+00:00:

Ridiculous prices. I play at a links course in the UK rated in the top 40 in UK and Ireland. The walk up rate is about $100. My annual cost to play the course all day every day should I so wish is around $1100. That's correct $1100. My only other costs are golf balls which I sometimes lose and competition entry fees of around $5 if I wish to enter. We play all year and have competition golf every Saturday plus several mid week comps every month.

Nice to play these special courses, but I prefer a card in my hand rather than social golf.

David's avatar
David wrote at 2015-05-12 14:50:03+00:00:

It is prices like these along with restricted access to many other courses that taught me at an early age that life is not " Fair". ( and neither is Golf).

Craig Lyles's avatar
Craig Lyles wrote at 2015-05-12 14:49:24+00:00:

Ridiculously overpriced. Is everyone a millionaire now?

Lanny Jarrell's avatar
Lanny Jarrell wrote at 2015-05-12 14:48:19+00:00:

I love golf, but there is no golf course worth $500.00 plus for a round. $200.00 IS MORE THAN ENOUGHT!!!'s avatar wrote at 2015-05-12 14:44:58+00:00:

I have played Kiawah before caddies were required and after they instituted this rule. It's definitely better with a caddie.

bob's avatar
bob wrote at 2015-05-12 14:42:20+00:00:


Ed Brown's avatar
Ed Brown wrote at 2015-05-12 14:41:41+00:00:

Some are so great, like playing in your yard. Still may be a little overpriced. However, for the Rich and Famous it is nothing for them to pay these costs.

Craig Better

Staff Writer

Craig Better is one of the founding editors of Golf Vacation Insider. In addition to traveling to 15 foreign countries, he has twice traveled across America to play golf courses in all 50 United States. Prior to joining Golf Vacation Insider, Craig was a freelance writer who contributed to GOLF Magazine, Travel + Leisure Golf, Maxim Magazine,, and co-authored Zagat Survey’s book, America’s Top Golf Courses.