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Golf Is Only for ATAS (Read: Rich) People. Still Like That Meh?

BY Ashley Ooi

Updated 22 Apr 2019

When you think of golf, you’d probably think about one of these - “Only old people play golf.” “What’s fun about golf? It’s so boring.” “Aiya, golf is so expensive.” 

Well, golf is not just played by older people (retirement, anybody?) but young people too. After all, Lydia Ko was only 17 when she became the world’s number one in 2015. As for its appeal, some prefer it as you can play on your own, without any hurry, and without the need for extreme strength or stamina. 

As for expenses, golf can be an expensive sport or it can be an affordable one depending on what your requirements and golfing lifestyle revolve around. Don’t let the myth of ‘golf is a rich man’s sport’ deter you from playing it. 

What's covered in this article?

 Let’s look at how much golf really costs in today’s world

  • Cost of Equipment 

“Go big or go home.” Or, you can start small with decently-priced equipment. To give you a rough ballpark figure of what golf costs, just one of Tiger Woods’ golf clubs, a TaylorMade M5 driver, costs around £449 (RM2,400). You can read more about what’s in his golf bag here

Big numbers aside, appropriate golfing equipment consists of a couple of items: golf clubs (definitely), golf tees (a little piece that raises the ball slightly over the ground, typically used for the first stroke of a hole), and golf balls. A quick search on Lazada for the cost of these items brought us to this: 
● Golf tees: From RM0.19/pc to RM7.4/pc 
● Golf balls: From RM5.42/pc to RM75/pc 

Brand-wise, Callaway, Srixon, and Titleist are one of the more average/better brands out there. It’s not too expensive that it’ll burn a hole in your pocket nor is it too cheap to reflect the bad quality that might agitate you to rip your hair out. 
Golf bags are often sold as one and without any clubs as players would prefer to mix and match with clubs from other brands. Comparing the prices of golf bags from the 3 brands mentioned above, the average price of a golf bag comes to about RM800 to RM1,000. 

Whereas for golf clubs, the standard golf clubs set includes 1x driver, 1x fairway, 1x iron, and 1x putter. A set has a basic price range of RM1,600 - and that’s just the set of clubs, not including the bag. 

However, there are certain steals like a golf bag AND clubs set that is priced rather well. The one from Callaway retails for RM2,160.37 (RRP/SP: RM3,099). You can also find good deals from Aeon, MST Golf, or through online shopping websites; the lowest price we saw online was RM703 for the bag and clubs.

  • Cost of Attire 

Yes, there’s a dress code for golf. They have the rights to kick you off the greens or bar you from entering the driving range if you’re not dressed suitably. This means donning an ‘alright’ T-shirt (preferably polo) and a decent pair of shorts or trousers, or a sports skirt for women. Leave those holey jeans, short-shorts, and crop tops at home, please. 

Clothes-wise, it’s not too expensive as you can shop freely from any departmental store or sports shop. Prices average about RM100 for a complete outfit if you know where to look for bargains and you’re not too picky, or up to RM600 and over if you’re all about that #brandedlife. Here are some estimated prices from an official golf shop: 
  • Golf shirts: From RM25 to RM479 
  • Golf skirts/skorts (females): From RM46 to RM325 
  • Golf shorts: From RM112 to RM419 
  • Golf pants: From RM65 to RM529 

Aside from just clothes, additional attire includes a golf glove for better grip, a cap/visor to prevent yourself from being sunburned, spike or spikeless shoes, and sports' sleeves (commonly known as arm gloves). 
  • Golf glove: From RM29 to RM99 
  • Arm gloves: From RM33 to RM102 
  • Golf cap/visor: From RM23 to RM159 
  • Golf shoes with spikes: From RM179 to RM869 
  • Golf shoes without spikes: From RM187 to RM1,090 

Alternatively, you can get arm gloves and a golf cap/visor for a cheaper price at Daiso or Aeon (#justsaying). Don’t skimp on protecting yourself from those harmful UV rays! Casual sports shoes/sneakers also do fine on the golf course although those with spikes help to provide grip. 

  • Cost of Membership 

To play on the greens you need to either be a club member or be invited by a club member to play a game of golf there. Even then, you may need to pay an entry fee. Membership fees at the most expensive club in KL, the Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club (KLGCC, or commonly known as TPCKL), costs around RM250,000 (lifetime or for a period stipulated on the membership contract) whereas the cheapest golf membership we could find costs RM7,500 at Kelab Dahrul Ehsan and the Berjaya Hills Golf & Country Club. 

Even after you’re a member, there’s still the annual membership renewal fee, maintenance fee, and perhaps more to cover. Membership fees are split to non-golf fees (use all the facilities of a country club except the golf course) or with-golf fees where you can enjoy all the perks of a country club including the golf course but at a higher rate. If you’re buying or selling your membership to someone else, there are transfer fees to consider as well. 

Add-on costs for this particular membership include: 
● Transfer fees: RM8,480 
● Nomination fees: RM1,590/nominee 
● Late payment of membership: Subject to 12% interest charge p.a. 


So, is golf a rich man’s game? 

The price tags of golf may seem displeasing and unaffordable to some, but compared to way back in the days where golf was a sport solely reserved for high society with steep membership prices, golf is now more accessible for all. So if you're thinking about playing golf for networking or sports purposes, don't feel intimidated. 

Good news is that the driving range is open to the public so bring your clubs there and rent golf balls for as low as RM5 to RM50 depending on how many balls you’d like to have a go at. Alternatively, you can pay for sessions on weekdays and weekends; the cheapest would be weekday mornings/afternoons with weekend mornings the most expensive. 

Undoubtedly, the rise of e-commerce has made it easier and cheaper for us to purchase all types of golf equipment. This helps to diversify the market as there are entry-level brands for beginners to start with cheaper equipment as opposed to launching head-first and dropping a bomb. Avid golfers are also known to upgrade or change their clubs, so purchasing second-hand or pre-loved golf equipment is good too for novices. 

To further finance your golf game, certain credit cards offer cool golf privileges which include discounts on greens fees and even golfing privileges in GCCs across Asia courtesy of CIMB, Maybank, Standard Chartered, and Citibank. With this added benefit on your credit card, you’ll be able to enjoy your golf game anytime and with better savings. You can compare which credit card gives you the best perks here.

Happy golfing! 
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About the Author

Ashley Ooi


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