Financial Planning

Financial Planning for Golfers: 5 Tips to Help You Financially Support the Game You Love

By  Jeff Fang

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If you’re like me, golf isn’t just a game.

I wake up thinking about golf, go to work listening to a golf podcast, and finish my day on the driving range. To me, golf is a calling and something I can turn to no matter how the other aspects of my life are doing.

Of course, golf is not a cheap sport. So when it comes to financial planning, my love of golf is a significant consideration in my decisions.

This post will cover some tips that can help with financial planning for golfers. If you’re an avid golfer like me, consider these tips to help you achieve your goals on and off the golf course.

Why Financial Planning for Golfers is Important

Before diving into some financial planning tips for golfers, it’s essential to understand why financial planning is so important.

For starters, golf clubs are some of the world’s most expensive pieces of metal. Even on the lower end of the spectrum, a complete set of irons will cost at least $400, a driver will cost around $300, and your short game clubs plus putter will likely add up to more than $400.

Then there is the actual cost to play rounds of golf. According to the National Golf Foundation, the average price to play a golf round in America is $61. Multiply this a couple of times a week, and the cost increases quickly.

Finally, if you’re like me and constantly looking for ways to improve your game, you’ll likely seek out golf swing tips from professionals. Golf lessons aren’t cheap and can easily cost hundreds of dollars an hour.

Altogether, the cost of golf can be thousands of dollars a year. Without proper financial planning, golfing can put a significant dent in your finances (or you won’t be able to play golf at the level you want because of your finances.)

Budgeting for Golfers

One of the most critical steps for all golfers wanting to take control of their financial life is to figure out their golfing budget.

Spend time figuring out exactly how much you’re pouring into the game you love. It can look as simple as the estimations I gave above or be as detailed as going over each green fee you paid throughout the year.

The objective is to separate your golfing costs into buckets and determine which items you need and which are things you want but aren’t necessary. Doing a little bit of budgeting can help you cut down on the amount of money you spend on golf each year.

5 Financial Planning Tips for Golfers

Here are some financial planning tips to try out that will optimize your budget and your enjoyment of golf.

Pick a Career That Is Golf Friendly

Some career paths will never intersect with golf, but there are also some in which golf is a large part of the job.

For example, as a senior investment banker, a large part of your job is winning clients and getting them to choose your firm over others. A lot of the time, golf is an avenue of choice for networking and connecting with your prospects.

Many people in golf-friendly careers can even write off their green fees and membership dues as business expenses!

If you’re a golf lover and still at the outset of your professional journey, remember that not all careers are created equal regarding how much golf exposure there is, and choose wisely. If you’re already working, try to find ways to incorporate golf into your job (maybe there are ways to switch to the more business/networking side of your career).

Pick the Right Friends and Colleagues

As mentioned already, golf is a pricey sport. One way to save some costs for golf is to choose the right friends and colleagues. Many higher-ups in the business world play golf and love to spend time on the course.

By befriending the right friends and professionals, you can potentially get them to take you out on their dime. Even getting someone else to pay for a couple of monthly rounds can take a considerable burden off your golfing budget.

Just remember that as you continue to work your way up, the roles will start to shift, and you will be responsible for taking your juniors out to golf rounds! Hopefully, by that time, you’ll be making enough money that cost is not a limiting factor for your golf.

Choose When to Play

If you work in an industry that relies heavily on networking, nobody will bat an eye when you leave work early and head to the golf course. You might even be able to do so on the company dime if you’re meeting with a potential client.

However, this is not the case for most types of work (it’s hard to argue golf is part of the job when you’re a computer programmer). That’s why it’s essential to be smart about your vacation and sick days. Pay close attention to how many vacation days roll over from year to year, and make sure to maximize the amount of time you can potentially golf.

Plan for Retirement

For most people, the time of their lives when they can play the most golf is during retirement. If you’re a true lover of the game, you’ll want to plan for retirement well ahead. Some tips for doing so are:

  • Maxing out your retirement accounts and taking advantage of employer matches
  • Putting money towards long-term investments
  • Budgeting your money for each month
  • Saving and investing a large chunk of your paycheck before spending on expenses
  • Investing as aggressively as you can

Follow these steps, and you might retire earlier than the average age of 65. That means fewer years of your life working and more on the golf course!

Hire a Financial Advisor

A financial advisor who understands your love of golf can help you achieve your financial and golfing goals.

If you’re feeling confused or lost regarding your finances, a financial advisor for golfers can help create a spending plan for you and your family. When it comes to golf, a financial advisor can help you maximize your finances so that you can spend more time playing and less time worrying about how you will afford your next golf outing.

Every minute a financial advisor saves you is another minute you can spend on the golf course with your friends. When it comes down to it, if you truly love golf, you’ll do whatever it takes to dedicate more time to the game.

Additionally, many financial advisors are golfers themselves, so you might gain another golfing friend when you consult with an advisor.

ASK THE EXPERT

Q: Among your clients who share your passion for golf, is there a financial planning challenge unique to golfers that you frequently encounter? How do you work with them to overcome this challenge?

We asked Weldon Spring, Missouri, financial advisor and golf enthusiast specialist Doug Oosterhart to answer this question. Here’s what he said.

Doug Oosterhart, CFP® A collaborative financial advisor for retirees and those near retirement

The golfers I work with are generally the type that takes the game seriously enough to want to improve continuously, but not so seriously that they don’t have fun. They’re also generally fast movers in their professional lives (often doing lots of different tasks, making quick (but well thought out) decisions).

With golf, there are many factors that play a role in the shot selection a golfer might choose. They have to account for the lie, carry distance, target, wind, temperature, etc. when deciding how to play a shot.

Although this challenge maybe isn’t unique to golf, a challenge I face with clients is how to structure a retirement income strategy that fits their specific style. I have to know how they react when the market goes down, when the market goes up, what their goals are, their tax situation, and more. I wouldn’t recommend a flop shot when a bump and run with a 9i still accomplishes the goal (it might not be as sexy, but it works!).

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Doug Oosterhart, CFP® | LifePoint Planning

Financial Planning for Golfers

Golf is one of the most challenging yet enjoyable sports in the world. If you love golf, you’ll likely want to spend as much time as possible playing it.

Of course, nothing is free, and golf is no exception (by a long shot). Proper financial planning can ensure that you’re optimizing your life for your passion for golf and your future. The earlier you start planning, the better it is for your finances.

Your future (early retired) self on the golf course will wish that you had started financially planning earlier.

About the Author

Jeff Fang

Jeff is a Harvard 2025 student who is passionate about learning, living, and sharing all things personal finance-related. He has experience working in the financial industry and enjoys the pursuit of financial freedom. Outside of blogging, he loves to cook, read, and golf in his spare time.

Disclaimer: To make Wealthtender free for our readers, we earn money from advertisers, including financial professionals and firms that pay to be featured. This creates a natural conflict of interest when we favor their promotion over others. Wealthtender is not a client of these financial services providers. Learn how we operate with integrity to earn your trust.