Although twilight rates are tempting, sometimes your best value is booking the earliest tee time available. Many courses offer replay rates, where the green fee on your second round is a fraction of the cost of your first. It's fun to get a chance at the same course twice, but even better when a facility has multiple great tracks. If you've got the gall and the summer sunlight, you can play all three courses at the Bandon Dunes Resort (Bandon Dunes, Bandon Trails and Pacific Dunes) for $370. The first round is $265, the replay rate is $105 and the third round is free. Eat a solid breakfast.
The Best Deals In Golf
We all like free stuff (or at least saving money). Our crew gives you some ideas on how to cash in
$370: Bandon Replay Rates
$50: Amateur Competitions
Playing in state and USGA amateur events can get you a bounty of golf for a reasonable entry fee. If you carry an official USGA Handicap Index of 4.4 or better and are not a member of a private club, the U.S. Amateur Public Links is a great opportunity to tee it up at a bargain price. Just $50 gets you 36 holes in sectional qualifying, and success there births the dream of playing eight more rounds all the way through the final. That's $5 per round of championship golf on championship courses.
$10: Golf in Hawaii
You can walk the nine-hole Kahuku course along the North Shore of Oahu, about 40 miles from Honolulu, for $10. Though only 2,699 yards, you can see the ocean on almost every hole, and strong, whipping winds typically present plenty of challenge. There's no golf shop or restaurant, but there are outdoor picnic tables for brown-baggers. Consider that just next door, rounds at the Turtle Bay Resort are $160-$195.
Free: Kids at Majors
The USGA makes it easy for kids to attend its major championships. At the U.S. Women's Open, Senior Open and Men's Amateur, a ticketed adult can bring up to nine kids age 17 and younger for free. All an adult has to do is show up at the gate with the youngsters in tow. At the U.S. Open, two kids 12 and under are admitted free per each adult ticket-holder, and kids 13-17 can get in for reduced rates of $15 for practice rounds and $30 for championship rounds. Purchase these ahead of time online. The Masters grants free access to a junior ages 8-16 who is accompanied by an "accredited patron" (you're on your own obtaining that status). The British Open grants free admission to all fans 16 and younger.
$45: Poor Man's Pebble Beach
Just 5½ miles from Pebble Beach Golf Links, Pacific Grove Golf Course has comparably terrific views of the Pacific Ocean. The course doesn't have the teeth to host a U.S. Open, but if your wallet and/or ego needs a respite after playing Pebble for $495, the Grove lets nonresidents play for $45 on weekends. That's up $5 from the old green fee, but hey, word has gotten out.
$330: Live in Scotland
This might make anyone who ever paid £130 to play the Old Course sick to their stomach, but residents of the town of St. Andrews, including students of the university, can obtain what's called the Full Resident Yearly Ticket. This little plastic card costs only £165 (about $330) and offers the holder unlimited rounds for a year on all seven St. Andrews Links Trust Courses: the Old, the New, the Jubilee, the Eden, the Strathtyrum, the Balgove and the newly constructed Castle.