25 Great Golf Courses to Play for Less Than $50
Not every golf game requires a club membership or three-figure greens fee to play. Even at more expensive golf courses, including some members-only clubs, it's possible to get decent discounts with a Links Card or find Groupon promotions. Courses requiring tee times sometimes offer discounted fees for unpopular slots, over and above the late-afternoon twilight rates most courses have.
But even without these strategies, budget-minded golfers hoping to hit the links can play surprisingly affordable rounds at public courses. Here's a sampling of public courses across the country where the standard greens fees, even on weekends and holidays, are no more than $50 a person. It's best to call courses to confirm prices before showing up, and to check dress codes and tee-time requirements.
This nine-hole course was built by the New Deal Works Project Administration in 1934. The Hill is open year-round, every day, from 7:30 a.m. until dusk. Greens fees are only $10 on weekdays and $12 on weekends and holidays, and the cart fee is $14. Credit cards are not accepted, so remember to bring cash.
This nine-hole course is closed Mondays but otherwise open each day from 7 a.m. until dark. The cost for a game at Porterville is $12 for nine holes or $17 to run the course twice, and cart rental is $11 for nine-hole games or $20 for 18 holes. Twilight rates -- a $5 greens fee and $9 cart fee for a nine-hole game -- start at 2 p.m.
One of two municipal golf courses in Colorado Springs, Patty Jewett charges as little as $29 for an 18-hole game on weekdays ($31 on weekends) and $15 for a nine-hole game (an extra dollar on the weekend). Annual permit holders can expect to pay even less. Carts are also available for rent, at $26 for a riding cart or $7 for a pull cart.
Many Georgia state parks have public golf courses attached to them, with Highland Park a typical example. For March through November, this 18-hole course a few minutes north of Athens charges a standard adult greens fee of $40 (with cart) on weekends and holidays, and $32 on weekdays. Reservations are recommended.
This lovely city-owned golf course is a member of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary System. Adult greens fees for an 18-hole game at Scovill are $25 on weekdays and $28 on weekends and holidays. Golf cart rental is an additional $15.50 for 18 holes, or $9 for a nine-hole game.
This municipal golf course started out with nine holes in 1929, but expanded 20 years later into a full 18-hole course featuring four river crossings. Adult greens fees for the full 18-hole game at Eberhart Petro are $16 on weekdays and $20 on weekends and holidays, plus $14 for cart rental. Weekday rates for a nine-hole game are $11. Weekday twilight rates for 18-hole games are also $11, and $14 on weekends and holidays.
This golf course is open year-round (weather permitting), with operating hours from 6 a.m. until an hour after dark. There's also an indoor golf simulator offering virtual games from 40 championship courses around the world, including the original St. Andrews in Scotland. For the St. Andrews in Cedar Rapids, weekday greens fees are $16 for a nine-hole game or $22 for 18 holes, while weekend rates are $18 and $24. Cart rental is $10 during the week and $15 on weekends. There are no tee times; play is first-come, first-served.
Sykes/Lady is one of two courses operated by the city of Overland Park. Local golfers can get discounted fees if they buy a Patron Card for $45 a year. For non-patrons, green fees for an 18-hole game range from $25 on weekdays to $32 for a weekend tee time before noon. Cart rental for an 18-hole game is another $16 per golfer, or $8 for a push cart. Twilight rates start at 2 p.m., or 4 p.m. for "Super-Twilight" discounts.
Kentucky's state park system owns and operates a dozen 18-hole public golf courses and four nine-hole courses. A typical example is My Old Kentucky Home, an 18-hole course in the central part of the state. The summertime greens fee for an 18-hole game is $27 on weekends and holidays, and $22 on weekdays; cart rental is an additional $14.50. Golf lovers who live in or near the state could consider buying a Golf Trail Card Pass, which entitles the holder to unlimited golfing, seven days a week. Prices range from $750 for a single person to $1,100 for a family pass covering parents and children up to age 21.
This municipal course in western Maryland requires tee times to be booked at least a week in advance. Weekday greens fees for an 18-hole game are $27, the weekend greens fee is $32, and cart rental is $19 for both at Black Rock. For nine-hole games, rates are identical on weekends and weekdays: $19 for the greens fee and $10 for the cart.
This Boston-area golf course offers nine-hole or 18-hole options. For non-resident casual golfers, the fee to play 18 holes of golf at Fresh Pond is $35 on weekdays and $40 on weekends and holidays. These fees are cheaper for residents, and frequent golfers can save even more money by buying a season pass.
This nine-hole municipal golf course is open from 8 every morning until an hour before sunset. Adult tourists pay $15 for a nine-hole game or $18 for 18 holes; for residents of Taney County, those prices are $5 cheaper. Riding carts are not available at Don Gardner, but pull carts can be rented for $2, and golfers can rent clubs for $3. Unlimited-play season passes cost $200 yearly for county residents and $250 for non-residents. Fees for youth golfers are even lower.
Highlands is the highest-rated of five municipal golf courses maintained by the city of Lincoln, including one for junior golfers. Adult greens fees for an 18-hole game are $37 on weekends and holidays and $25 during the week, while nine-hole games are $25 and $18. Other courses in the city charge even lower greens fees.
This nine-hole course is open every day from 7 a.m. until sunset, and offers three sets of tees for men and two sets for women. Greens fees at Truth or Consequences are only $18 for a nine-hole game and $27 for 18 holes, cart included. Walkers and twilight golfers get even cheaper rates.
This golf course, operated by the city's Parks and Recreation district, recommends players reserve tee times 48 hours in advance. Daily adult rates for an 18-hole game at Williston are $24, plus $17 for cart rental. For nine holes, the fees are $17 to walk and $12 extra for cart rental.
This 10-hole golf course was established in 1929, making Hidden Valley one of the oldest courses in Oregon. Summertime rates are $13 for a nine-hole game, $18 for 18 holes, and $28 for all-day unlimited play. (Students and senior citizens can knock another $2 off those quoted prices.) Cart rental is an additional $14 for nine-hole games or $20 for 18.
The summertime non-resident rate for an 18-hole game on this city-owned golf course in Allentown is $21 on a weekday and $32 on weekends. Cart rental is an additional $16 a person, but players can rent a pull cart for only $4. (Simply walking the grounds without playing costs $3.)
America's golf history started in Charleston, when Harleston Green opened in 1786. Charleston's City Course, which opened in 1929, is considered very golfer-friendly; a typical 18-hole game can be played in less than four hours. The low greens fees are equally wallet-friendly: Weekday rates are $15 for city residents, $20 for people from the Tri-County area, and $22 for everyone else. Weekend rates are $2 higher. Twilight golf rates kick in after 4 p.m., costing $10 every day for everyone. Cart rentals cost an additional $15 a rider for an 18-hole game, or $8 for nine holes.
All three of the municipal golf courses in Sioux Falls charge affordable rates, but the fees at Kuehn Park are the lowest. The weekday greens fee for an 18-hole game is $21 to walk and $36.50 to ride; on weekends, add another $1.50 to each. For nine-hole games, weekday greens fees are $14 to walk and $23.50 to ride, with the same $1.50 weekend increase.
The standard listed adult rates for the city-run golf course in Knoxville are $30 for weekday games and $33 on weekends and holidays (with nine-hole games costing $19 and $21, respectively). These prices apply to tee-time reservations made online; walk-ins and phone reservations cost more.
Mountain Dell is one of four 18-hole municipal golf courses owned by Salt Lake City (the city has two nine-hole courses, as well). All six courses charge low rates. At Mountain Dell, it's $18.50 for a nine-hole game and $37 for 18 holes Monday through Thursday. On Fridays and weekends, the rates are $19.50 for nine holes and $39 for 18. Golf cart rentals are the same for all six courses: $7 for each rider playing nine holes and $14 for each rider playing 18.
This municipal golf course in western Virginia charges a $29 weekend greens fee for an 18-hole game and $24 on weekdays, plus cart rental of $18. For nine-hole games, the greens fee is $16 on weekdays and $20 on weekends and holidays, plus $11 for cart rental. Meadowcreek tee times should be booked online.
Fees are the same at all four municipal golf courses in Spokane -- the Creek at Qualchan, Esmeralda, Indian Canyon, and Downriver. An 18-hole game costs $35 for a "prebooked" time. Otherwise, greens fees are $31 Monday through Thursday and $34 Friday through Sunday and on holidays. Cart rental rates are $22 for a single rider and $30 for double riders at all municipal courses except Indian Canyon, which charges $20 for a single. Nine-hole games cost even less.