Pack your clubs, and don’t forget your wallet!
Every year the National Golf Foundation does a survey of greens fees across America and then ranks states by their average cost of golf.
What do you think the priciest state to play golf in is?
My first thought was Hawaii, given the limited amount of land, the high price of real estate, the very high price of coastal real estate, the reputation as an expensive vacation destination and – well that is enough. My second guess was Florida, although Florida has plenty of cheap courses, and more courses period than any other state, it also has some of the most egregiously overpriced, especially in South Florida, where many awfully mediocre courses command well over $200 and sometimes over $300 a round.
I was wrong. Florida did not even make the top 5. What do you think?
According to the NGF, the most expensive place in America to play golf is…. Nevada.
Upon reflection, it makes a little more sense to me, since Sin City is home to the three most expensive public courses in the nation, Shadow Creek, Wynn Golf Club and Cascata, all of which command the stratospheric greens fee of $500 per round. In general, golf around Vegas is inflated because of the massive numbers of visitors, especially guys’ trips and business travelers, with a limited number of courses. Even though other areas of the state, especially Reno and Primm, but also Mesquite, are much more reasonable, there isn’t much “local” golf, or that much golf at all relative to the population, and what there is has been aimed at conventioneers and high rollers. So despite being hit harder than any other state by the real estate turndown, and losing arguably its best public course with the closing of Reflection Bay, Nevada still takes top honors in the “ouch, that hurts my bank account” category, with average state-wide greens fees of $110.90.
Nevada won this dubious title easily, and much to my surprise was the only state clocking in at over a C-Note a round. My pick, Hawaii, was second, but still comfortably less at $98.30. Now to the frugal golfer that still might sound like a lot, but the average quality of golf in Hawaii is very high, maybe the highest of any state, and there are few courses there I would say are not worth $98 to play – especially when you consider how many really crappy courses elsewhere already cost more than that.
Rounding out the top five was Arizona ($72.10), which I am guessing is based on peak winter prices, since in summer rates statewide plummet to almost nothing, New Jersey ($69.40), the real shocker to me, since the Garden State has a wealth of great private layouts, but I can think of the handful of must-play publics on both hands, and California ($69.30), not surprising given that everything from gas to taxes costs more there.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is the spread. Among the 5 Cheapest States to Play Golf, the difference was just $3.20, here it is $41.60.
That means the difference between the most expensive state in the US and the fifth most expensive is greater then the difference between the third most expensive and the absolute cheapest.
It also means the bottom line is that if you are going to Nevada, the only silver lining is the five hours you spend playing golf might save you money at blackjack.