Why Is Golf More Expensive in the Morning? Uncovering the Truth

As avid golfers, we’ve all experienced the frustration of paying more to play a round of golf in the morning compared to later in the day. But why is that the case? In this article, we’ll uncover the truth behind this commonly asked question and explore the factors that influence golf course pricing.

Why Is Golf More Expensive in the Morning

Understanding the Economics of Golf Course Pricing

Before we dive into the reasons why golf is more expensive in the morning, it’s important to understand the basic economics of a golf course. Like any business, golf facilities aim to maximize their revenue and profits while minimizing their costs. One way to achieve this goal is to set fees that reflect the supply and demand of their product, which in this case is tee times.

Tee Time Demand: A Key Factor in Golf Course Pricing

The demand for tee times is one of the most important factors that influence how high or low fees are set. Golf clubs set their fees based on the demand for their tee times, which can vary depending on the time of day, day of the week, and season. For example, courses in popular vacation destinations may charge more during peak season because more people want to play and are prepared to pay higher rates, while courses in colder regions may charge less during the winter months when demand is low and course conditions aren’t as good.

Many courses offer twilight golf at a reduced rate because many players prefer to play early rather than late.

The Impact of Supply and Demand on Golf Course Pricing

In addition to demand, the supply of tee times also plays a significant role in determining green fees. Golf courses have a limited number of tee times available, and as such, they can increase or decrease fees based on how many free slots are available at any given time.

For example, if there are a lot of available tee times in the afternoon, they may lower the fee to attract more golfers and fill those tee times. Many facilities will also look to maximize revenue by trying to make sure all slots are filled with four players. This means there should be a consistent pace of play rather than having two and three balls in the mix who will probably only end up moaning about slow play.

A recent survey by Hiller Hopkins covering the UK golf industry suggests that the average green fee has risen from £84 to £108 between 2021 and 2022. This must be down primarily to the influx of new golfers seen during the pandemic and the fact that clubs were trying to claw back some of their lost revenue. I would add that there must be a lot of premier courses included that are skewing this average cost.

It will be interesting to see the results of the 2023 survey given how much prices in general have risen lately.

Additional Factors that Affect Golf Course Pricing

Aside from supply and demand, there are other factors that will influence how a golf course set the level of its fees. For example, the cost of maintaining the playing surface, the quality of the facilities, and the reputation of the venue can all affect the cost of tee times. Golf courses with high-end facilities and a good reputation may charge more for their times than courses with fewer amenities and a lower reputation.

dewy green
Photo by KHAIRIL FAIZI, CC BY-ND-NC 2.0 via Flickr

The Pros and Cons of Golfing in the Morning

Now that we have a better understanding of the factors that influence how fees are set, let’s explore why golf is more expensive in the morning. Generally speaking, tee times in the morning are in higher demand than those later in the day. Golfers prefer to play in the morning when the weather is cooler (where that is a major factor) or because it leaves them the rest of the day free for other activities. However, this increased demand also means that morning tee times will be more expensive.

There are pros and cons to playing golf in the morning. On the one hand, playing in the morning can be a more enjoyable experience due to cooler temperatures. On the other hand, morning golfers may have to deal with dew on the grass, which can make the course wet and slippery. Usually, though the course is busier and therefore 18 holes may take longer.

The course should be in better nick first thing as golfers haven’t had a chance to create pitch marks or fail to rake bunkers! Afternoon players probably like the fact that courses are generally quieter and therefore quicker!

Additionally, golfers who play in the morning will have to wake up earlier to make their start time, which can be a drawback for those who prefer to sleep in.

How to Get the Best Value for Your Golfing Dollar (or Pound, Euro, Yen)

Now that we’ve covered why golf is more expensive in the morning and the factors that influence golf course pricing, let’s discuss some tips on how to get the best value for your golfing dollar.

Book Your Tee Time Early: As we’ve discussed, demand is a key factor in how they are priced. By booking your time well in advance, you may be able to take advantage of early bird discounts or secure a better rate before the demand increases.

Look for Discounts and Special Offers: Many courses offer discounts and special offers throughout the year. Keep an eye out for these deals and take advantage of them when you can.

Play in the Afternoon: If you’re willing to forego the cooler temperatures and play later in the day, you may be able to save money on your green fee. Golf courses may lower their fees in the afternoon to attract more golfers and fill their available tee slots.

Join a Golf Membership Program: If you’re a frequent golfer, consider joining a golf membership program. These programs offer discounted rates on tee times, access to exclusive courses, and other benefits that can help you save money in the long run.

Shop Around: Don’t be afraid to shop around and compare the fees at different courses in your area. You may be able to find a better deal at a course you haven’t played before or discover that your favorite course is offering a special promotion.

Check websites like Golfnow for special offers. There are usually many hot deals available at local public courses offering excellent value for money compared with normal green fees

CourseAM Round ($)PM Round ($)
Dye’s Valley275175
Duran Golf Club7539
Celebration Golf Club149119
Hermann Park Golf Course2719
Gus Wortham Park4740
morning/afternoon rounds
Peter Finch discusses whether green fees were too high – six years ago!

Why Is Golf More Expensive in the Morning: Conclusion

In conclusion, the reason why golf is more expensive in the morning is due to the basic principles of supply and demand. Courses set their fees based on the demand for their start times, which tends to be higher in the morning due to cooler temperatures or the fact that people want to get their golf done and get on with the rest of their day. However, there are many other factors that can influence the cost of a start time, such as the cost of maintenance, the quality of facilities, and the reputation of the course.

To get the best value for your golfing dollar, it’s important to do your research and consider factors such as the time of day, the day of the week, and the season. You can also look for discounts and special offers, play in the afternoon, join a golf membership program, and shop around to find the best deals on tee times.

Many clubs have increased green fees way ahead of the rates of inflation over the past few years, particularly those at the top end of the market which golfers will often view as a one-off treat.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is golf always more expensive in the morning?

Not necessarily. Golf course pricing is based on supply and demand, which can vary depending on the time of day, day of the week, and season. While morning times are often in high demand and therefore more expensive, this isn’t always the case.

Why do some golf courses charge more than others?

There are many factors that can influence the cost of tee times at a course, including the cost of maintaining the course, the quality of the facilities, and the reputation of the club. 

Can I negotiate the price of my tee-off time?

It’s not common practice at most golf courses. In fact, in all the time I’ve played golf I’ve never heard of anyone negotiating a green fee! You can try to take advantage of early bird discounts, special promotions, or membership programs to save money on your green fee.

How can I find the best deals on golf tee times?

There are many websites and apps that can help you find the best deals on start times. Some popular options include GolfNow, TeeOff, and Groupon. Additionally, you can check the website of the course you want to play to see if they offer any discounts or promotions.

Can I still enjoy golf if I can’t afford the high prices?

Yes! While golf can be an expensive hobby, there are ways to enjoy the sport without breaking the bank. Look for local public golf courses that offer affordable tee times, or consider joining a golf league or club to take advantage of discounted rates.

Why Is Golf More expensive at the weekend?

The same reason that it is more expensive in the morning. The laws of supply and demand apply.  There are usually more people looking to play on the weekend than on a weekday so facilities are able to increase the cost of their fees. 

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