The Lowdown on Discount Golf Passes

It doesn't matter who you are -- everybody likes a good deal on golf.

So it's no surprise I get a lot of questions about those discount golf passes, coupon books, and cards that are pretty much available anywhere you live or travel (and for pretty much any type of course: low, mid-, and high-end).

What everybody wants to know is, "are they worth it?"

The answer is...

...it depends.

Some offer truly great deals; others are no more than marketing gimmicks. (The five questions below will help you decide.)

Of course, even the good ones must be used multiple times to recoup or exceed your initial outlay.

And because you never know for sure how much golf you'll be able to play, I like to see a discount golf pass pay for itself after one to three uses at a minimum.

That should be no problem assuming it provides meaningful discounts on, or access to, desirable courses during seasons, days, and times when you would normally play.

(By that last part, if you have to play, for example, after 1pm to get the discount, but that's not typical for you, you may wind up never using the pass.)

I know many of you will be attending consumer golf shows this winter where you'll see a lot of these golf passes for sale.

If you're thinking about buying one, ask yourself (and/or the seller) these questions:

1. What are the best courses participating in the program?

2. When (season, day, time) can I play these courses and is there a per-course limit?

3. What is the greens fee discount on these courses (for me and my guests, if applicable)?

4. What other fees (such as cart fees) am I obligated to pay?

5. How much will I save per use, and how many uses, realistically, will I get before expiration?

If your aggregate answer to No. 5 exceeds the price of the discount golf pass you're considering, it might be worth buying.

And here's a final tip most people don't know: the price of the golf pass itself may be negotiable.

Particularly with the printed passbooks, the seller has made a considerable, up-front investment and the clock is ticking on the selling window. He/she may cut you a deal particularly if you offer to buy multiple passes.

Are there any specific discount golf passes/programs you like or dislike? Curious about any you'd like me to evaluate?

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

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, USAToday.com, and co-authored Zagat Survey’s book, America’s Top Golf Courses.
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The Lowdown on Discount Golf Passes
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