Why Do Rich People Play Golf
Wealthy people generally play with toys that are wholly inaccessible to most lay people. A private jet or a yacht are perfect examples. So-called rich people sports require a high initial investment, a crew to operate them, a place to store them, and people to maintain them. Likewise, car and horse racing sports are virtually inaccessible for most people due to the exceptionally high cost of participation.
In order to participate in such costly pursuits, it definitely helps to be a person of high net worth. The federal government defines people of high net worth as those who own more than $30 million in assets. While about 9 percent of all adults in the United States play golf, about 10 percent of those who qualify as persons of high net worth play golf. The greater interest in golf among persons of high net value suggests the sport has a broad crossover appeal.
But golf is an entirely different matter. Depending on where you live, you might have several relatively affordable golf courses near you plus some good driving ranges. For about the cost of a movie ticket, you could play nine or maybe 18 holes of golf without a cart and quite possibly have an even better time doing so.
Why do rich people play golf?
When you have so much wealth that you can afford to participate in virtually any sport, the alternatives are many when it comes to weekend fun. Yet, a significant portion of the ultra-wealthy still choose to play golf rather than engage in a wide range of other potential sporting events, like horse racing.
Aside from the fact that they can afford to play virtually anywhere, wealthy people generally play golf for three basic reasons. Those three reasons are:
A golf course with no more than four players on a hole is a great opportunity to get outside, smell the grass beneath your feet and participate in a fun activity. A golf course provides privacy for the ultra-rich that they cannot get outside of their homes. It is a chance to go out and enjoy a full round of golf and spend several hours out in the sunshine with people you like and choose to be around. It is an intimate sport that you can play with up to three others without interference from others.
That same sense of privacy enables the ultra-rich to network and possibly get business done over the about four hours that it will take to complete a full round on a regulation-length course. Business and social networking opportunities are fantastic. People who might be complete strangers at the start of a round could end up good friends and possibly even partners in a planned business endeavor that one of them brought up during the round.
The ultra-wealthy also like to play golf to support charitable causes. Among the best fundraisers around are 18-hole events with a wide range of secondary contests, like closest to the pin, awards for aces, longest drive and other significant accomplishments during a round of charity golf. Raffles always accompany such events, and the charity golf events tend to draw a lot of other people of high net worth. Lots of ultra-rich folk playing charity golf is a great social networking opportunity as well as a change to have fun and claim it as a deduction on annual taxes for supporting a local charity.
How much does golf cost?
Depending on where you choose to golf, the cost to play 18 holes is relative to the cost of going to the movies and buying some popcorn and a something to drink. The median cost to play 18 holes at a public golf course with a cart is $36, according to a recent Golf Channel survey. The cost goes lower if you choose to walk instead of using a cart, and many courses offer special prices during slower times when course pressure is light.
Private golf courses typically cost significantly more per round that public golf courses and charge membership dues and other fees that can make them very expensive. The costly barriers to entry make it more exclusive to join private courses, which ensures relatively light pressure and great course conditions throughout the playing season.
The cost of golf often depends on where you live. Some locations have outstanding public and municipal golf courses that do not charge much for local residents to use. Municipal golf courses generally cost a fraction of what a private course would charge to play and can provide a variety of golf courses. They also are less expensive than public courses, which makes them a real bargain.
Wisconsin’s Milwaukee County Golf is a great example of an outstanding municipal golf course system that is owned and maintained by local units of government. Milwaukee County Golf provides 14 municipal courses that are suitable for golfers of all skill levels. Some are better for beginning golfers and experienced youth golfers while others can challenge PGA Tour professionals.
The Milwaukee County Golf system includes four regulation-length courses, including one that hosts annual PGA Tour events. It offers four par 3 courses and two executive golf courses so that you can work on any part of your game and get in a full round of golf or just nine holes with a wide variety of very affordable options. Milwaukee County Golf generally maintains the courses to keep them in reasonably good condition so that the greens are not pock-marked or scarred to such an extent that bad lies and putt interference become issues.
Other options for affordable golf include local public courses that are kept in reasonably good shape and provide reasonably challenging holes. The option of walking nine or even 18 holes usually reduces the cost to play while adding more physical exercise and benefits to your outing. Many public golf courses offer specials during the weekdays when pressure is light and heading out during breaks in otherwise inclement weather can net some really good deals and fast rounds when most other golfers are staying away or called it quits until spring.
Do you have to be rich to play golf?
Golf certainly does not require players to be rich in order to participate. The two primary obstacles for most people who want to play golf are accessible courses and the cost of equipment. Savvy players will find the best courses offering the best deals to play in their respective locations to get around the first obstacle. Thankfully, golf clubs, golf bags and most accessories are durable items, which makes it easy to get around the cost barrier.
While the grips on golf clubs do wear out over time, the shaft and clubs generally stay in good shape for decades. That makes it possible to find a good set of used golf clubs for a relatively low price. An old set of Wilson clubs and a good putter, plus a golf bag bought at a local thrift store are good examples of inexpensive used equipment that can become a perfect first set of golf clubs or a lifetime companion on the links.
Used golf clubs that are in good condition can last a lifetime and beyond wind up in estate sales, sole on Craigslist and donated to local thrift stores. You can check those sources regularly and typically create a truly high-quality golfing kit that costs a fraction of what many golfers are spending on new gear. When many golfers buy new equipment, their old gear eventually gets sold with relatively little wear and tear on them.
While professional golfers generally wear dedicated golf shoes for tournament play, there is no reason beginning or even skilled and experienced amateurs should bother with the expense. Instead, a very comfortable pair of athletic walking or running shoes is ideal for playing 18 holes and keeping your feet in relative comfort.
Golf is a physical sport and playing 18 holes literally will put your legs and feet through their paces – especially if you walk the course. Comfortable walking or running shoes will give you all the traction you need while keeping your feet and legs in better comfort. You likely already own one or more pairs, which is all that you ever really need.
Another potentially costly item that many overlook is the golf ball. If you buy a pack of three at a pro shop, you are spending quite a bit per ball and very well might run out before you complete 18 holes. A lot of balls wind up in water hazards and out of reach, but still are in good shape. Many also get lost in the rough and abandoned by their respective owners to speed up play.
Many of those golf balls still are in great shape and have waterproof coverings. Unless they suffered damage from a mower, most are in perfect playing shape and wind up retrieved by divers and golf course maintenance crews. Those rescued balls get sold in pro shops for a fraction of what new ones cost. You just need to learn where you can find them and which ones are ideal for your game.
So it’s not just the rich that can and do play, it’s everyone’s game!