For many of us, the annual golf club membership is a major expense and a major part of our annual income. In an age of ever-increasing cost of living, this is a big expense that deserves careful consideration. But there are places in the UK where golf club membership is more affordable. And there are other options to be a member of a golf club and pay a little less too.
Generally, golf club membership prices are determined by the basic economic principle of supply and demand. In high population areas you will find more people willing to pay more money for golf club subs and prices will inevitably rise with demand. In sparsely populated areas, members are harder to find and clubs cannot charge such high fees. Clubs in these regions are run on a tighter budget so subs can stay lower.
Basically, the cheapest golf club memberships in the UK are where the people aren’t. This means you’ll find exceptionally low rates in the country where golf began – Scotland. Generally speaking, local clubs across Scotland offer good value for money in terms of annual memberships. But looking further afield, you’ll find incredibly cheap fares. These are just a few examples.
Tain Golf Club in the north of Scotland charges £450 for full subs. It’s a championship course, designed by Old Tom Morris, located on the beautiful Dornoch Firth and you can be a full member for just £450! In fact you have to include the Scottish golf membership fee of £16.10 and there is a bar levy of £20 meaning you have to spend £20 at the bar over the course of the year (this which is not a onerous task). So you can be a full member for £486.10. It’s cheap. But it could be even cheaper – If you want to join Tain as a new member, there is a new member offer of just £295 plus bar tax.
Tain is not unique in the north of Scotland in terms of membership prices. A little further up the coast at Golspie, annual subs cost £380. The famous inland gem at Boat of Garten in Speyside charges an annual subscription of £440 for full membership. Submarines at Ballater on Royal Deeside cost £435. Up the valley at Braemar, an extremely scenic location, it will cost you just £310.
And if you go a little further? There are great bargains to be had on the Scottish islands. Stornoway Golf Club on the Isle of Lewis is offering an introductory membership offer – £100 for the year for people who are new to the sport of golf, have moved to live in Lewis since 2012, haven’t been a member of Stornoway for two years, have been a social member and are looking to improve, or have just returned from injury or illness. £100 for the year! Don’t worry too much if you don’t meet these criteria, the full fee at Stornoway is currently just £363.
At Shiskine Golf Club on the Isle of Arran, the current full membership fee is just £220 (and for that you also become a member of the tennis club).
Back on the mainland, at the southwestern tip of Scotland, there’s more shiny value to be had. At Wigtonshire County Golf Club, full sub-memberships cost £440. Across southern Scotland, full subs at the highly regarded Eyemouth Golf Club cost £460.
Across Scotland, memberships are available for less than £500 a year at quality golf courses. £500 per year equals £41.67 per month, which is less than £10 per week. In old money, it’s cheaper than a pack of cigarettes!
There are also membership offers in Wales – Nefyn & District is one of the most photographed courses in the country, features in Golf Monthly’s next 100 courses and is a real pleasure to play. Full membership in 2022 is £560.
But like most courses, it’s good news if you’re a youngster. If you have just turned 18, you will only pay £145. Up to age 34, on a sliding scale, you pay less than £500 a year.
At Abersoch, a beautiful and friendly course, intermediate golfers aged 19-29 pay just £290 for the year against a full membership of £550.
At the other end of the scale, Nefyn is offering £40 off to over 65s who have been members for 20 years or more. Many clubs still offer senior rates. At Abersoch, golfers lucky enough to still be playing at the age of 80 hand over just £290 for yearling subs.
Remaining in Wales, Tenby Golf Club – one of the great coastal courses – offers a flexible membership option as part of the PlayMoreGolf group of courses. For just £350 you can play up to 30 games a year at Tenby and have the option of using ‘flexi’ points to play at over 260 clubs across the country that are part of the network.
Many clubs now offer flexible membership programs that allow you to pay while you play. In most cases, you pay a discounted subscription and then pay a fee to play. This can be per round, or the club can operate a credit system. An off-peak game might cost relatively few credits, while a medal start on Saturday would require more credits.
The Crown Golf group of clubs, comprising Pine Ridge, Addington Court and St Mellion, offers a range of flexible options that allow you to tailor your membership to your needs, keeping costs down.
More value options
Other clubs simply offer good value for money. Kington Golf Club in Herefordshire is one of the most unique in the country, it is the highest golf club in England. Full subscriptions cost £660, but they also offer flexible options from just £250. Kington offers a full range of memberships, including a low-income discount.
In the north of England, the popular Silloth on Solway course in Cumbria, ranked 51st in Golf Monthly’s latest Top 100 ranking, is offering a full membership for just £575 for a year, with discounts linked to golf. up to £200 for 19-24 year olds. In terms of quality of course versus value of membership, Silloth is hard to beat.
If you want to keep a membership somewhere but don’t plan to play frequently, you can opt for a national membership at a club where you travel on vacation or for work. Often a country’s membership will cost up to half the price of a full membership. This is the case at Mullion Golf Club in Cornwall where full membership is a very reasonable £610 and national membership at just £305. You can become a member of a country at most clubs, but the criteria vary depending on how far you must reside from the club.
Note: Membership rates quoted are at time of writing and may change/have changed for 2022 – Please check with individual clubs for confirmation.