4 Ways To Play Golf for Free (Legally)


So you have caught the golfing bug.

You’ve got some golf clubs, some golf balls, a few nice golf shirts and you’ve decided you want to golf on a regular basis. One problem, golfing is hella expensive and you can’t afford it.

So you ask yourself, how can I play golf for free?

Some good news, golfing for free is something you can actually do. And legally for that matter!

There are many ways you can play golf for free, but at the end of the day, each method consists of you providing some form of value to the golf course you want to play at – in return for free golf.

Luckily for you though, value comes in many different forms, and monetary (money) payments is just one of them!

Here are 4 ways you can play golf for free:

  1. Promote the golf course on Instagram.

  2. Retrieve and donate golf balls to the golf course.

  3. Work part-time at the golf course.

  4. Become a golf instructor at the golf course.

As you can see, none of these arrangements include any type of direct, monetary transaction, but they would all provide true value to any golf course.

1. Promote the Golf Course on Instagram

Promoting the golf course you want to play on Instagram is a great way to golf for free.

You probably have some questions, so let me explain.

If you are an average joe like me, you probably don’t have a ton of followers on Instagram, and for those that do follow you, it’s only a percentage of those who like golf.  So you need to create a brand new Instagram account based around golf.

For example, if you live in Florida, you could create an Instagram account called “I Golf Florida”. Not very original, but you get the point.

Then start growing your audience!  Start posting on that account and make sure it’s all golf related.

Whether it’s golf videos, golf pictures or maybe golf tips! Whatever it is, make sure it’s specific to golf AND somewhat specific to your location, which in this case is Florida.

For instance, you could create a 5 minute video discussing “The 5 nicest courses in Florida!”

Now, it’s important to know that this can take a little bit upfront time to gain initial traction. But you actually don’t need that many followers to create real value.

If you spend 1 month creating posts and growing your audience on Instagram, you can surely generate over 1000 Florida based followers.

Okay, so you now have a Instagram account with at least 1000 followers who are all interested in golf and are based in Florida.

Now for the last step. Ask for a meeting with the owner, or manager of the golf course you want to play at and see if they’d be interested in exchanging free golf for free Instagram promotions.

Negotiate the terms of the arrangement. For example, offer to make an Instagram post and story every time you play there.

It is super important to sell your Instagram page to the person you’re speaking with at the golf course.

Mention that all your posts are seen by hundreds or thousands of people and make sure they understand that your followers are interested golfers AND they live in the same geographic area as where the golf course is.  

At the end of day, you will probably need to approach a few different golf courses before you get a deal. But once you get one, you are set.

You might not get your first choice of course, but hey, it’s free golf, for very little work.

Yes, growing a new Instagram account will take a bit of work at the beginning, but not an unreasonable amount, maybe an hour or two a day for 3-4 weeks?

But once you have those followers, you have them, and now you just need to maintain them with somewhat regular posting (3-4 week).

What I love about this method is you don’t have to sell your soul to the golf course. You aren’t working there for free for 20 hours a week for a few free rounds.

You are working on your own time at home to create an Instagram account, which is fun to do!

To recap, here is what you do:

Step 1 – Create a golf related Instagram account specific to the region you want to play free golf in. (Example – @IGolfFlorida)

Step 2 – Develop a following of at least 1000 followers. These followers should be located in the general area of where you want to golf.

Step 3 – Meet with golf course owners/managers and negotiate a deal to exchange golf for Instagram promotions.

Step 4 – Maintain your page with regular posts.

Step 5 – Golf for free and buy the first round of drinks!

2. Retrieve and Donate Golf Balls to the Golf Course

Okay, so you don’t do Instagram. It’s not really for you, you’d rather throw up everywhere than make an Instagram account about golf, fair enough, it’s not for everyone.

Luckily for you, there are other ways you can play golf for free.

Have you ever considered finding lost golf balls and then giving them to a golf course in exchange for free golf?

Used golf balls are great things for golf courses to have on hand. Not only can they use them for the driving range, but if they’re getting them for free, they can also resell them at a 100% profit margin.

Where would you find lost golf balls? Think about it, where do you normally shank your golf shots? Splash, in the pond. Fore, in the woods.

Go to a golf course at night, or during the off season when there aren’t golfers, and retrieve these balls! While it will take a few hours, and maybe a few different sessions to do so, finding over 1000 golf balls won’t be too difficult.

Okay so here’s what you do, step by step.

Step 1 – During off golfing hours, go to a golf course with some sort of big bucket or bag, preferably something you can wheel. Things could get heavy after a while.

Step 2 – Find and collect anywhere from 1000-10,000 golf balls.

Step 3 – Bring them home and give them a polish.

Step 4 – Meet with golf course owners/managers and negotiate a deal to exchange free golf for thousands of free golf balls.

Step 5 – Maintain a steady collection of balls to regularly supply the golf course with.

Step 6 – Golf for free and buy the first round of drinks!

Similar to the Instagram method, I love this idea because you are working on your own time and you aren’t sacrificing 15-20 hours weekly to get free rounds of golf in.

You make an upfront time investment. You spend a few days whacking around in the woods, getting a little wet in the ponds and finding a ton of golf balls.

This is really a win-win situation.

Once you have these golf balls, you have something the golf course needs. In other words, you are offering them real value.

The golf club gets to sell these golf balls for a tidy profit, or at the very least use them on their putting green or driving range, and in exchange, you golf for free!

3. Work Part-Time at the Golf Course

Okay, so you’re not into this Instagram idea, and you don’t really feel like going into the woods in the dead of night with a flashlight to find some golf balls. Again, fair enough.

Working part time at a golf course you want to play at for free is probably the most popular option used today.

The golf course industry can be brutal sometimes. Especially in places with bad weather.

Golf course managers will do whatever they can to keep the place running, while still maintaining a positive cash flow.

Unlike the other two options, golf courses actually seek out people who’d be willing to work for them in return for free golf.

Types of part time jobs at golf courses include front desk workers, maintenance workers or canteen operators – just to name a few.

All golf courses need these types of jobs filled and they don’t require any formal training.

Important Note #1 – I would not recommend working full time (40 hours a week) just so you can golf for free at that course.

I would maximum, and I mean this is on the high end, work 20 hours a week for free golf all season.

The one thing I don’t love about this idea is the constant work you have to do in exchange for golf. Once you stop working these 10-20 hours a week, your free golf is likely over.

With the other two examples I gave, it required more work at the beginning, but not nearly as much on an ongoing basis.

Not only that, but you have to work during golfing hours, not during your hours, and let’s face it, working a job you don’t get monetary compensation for can be very difficult.

What if it rains all summer? 200 hours of work for 6 rounds of golf, yikes!!

4. Become a Golf Instructor at the Golf Course

Okay, last but not least.

Actually this is least. While becoming a golf instructor is a sure fire way to play golf for free, it requires a serious time investment.

Becoming a golf instructor takes time. Years and years for that matter.

Not only do you need to understand how to play golf, but you also need to be a somewhat of a good player. And let’s face it, becoming an even decent golfer is HARD.

But hey, let’s say you love the game more than life itself and you become a golf instructor over the course of a few years, bravo!

Now it’s time either:

  • Get employed by a golf course and work exclusively with them.

  • Operate your own golfing business and make business arrangements with golf courses.

These arrangements usually include a cut of your revenue and could also include some sort of annual fee as well. So technically this method may cost money, but at the end of the day you should also be making money!

Anyways, I mentioned at the beginning of this section that becoming a golf instructor is difficult and it takes a lot of time and effort.

But, if you do decide to go down that route, it can be a beautiful ride.

Not only will you golf for free as you teach your lessons, but you will actually get paid to play as golf lessons usually take place on the golf course itself.

How awesome is that. Your job is playing and teaching golf. You are actually generating an income from doing something you love.

Again, another win-win situation. The golf course is generating some revenue from your clients, and in return you also get paid while golf for free!

Conclusion

To conclude, golf is expensive and paying a golf course $50-$60 a round on a regular basis adds up, and it adds up quickly.

So that’s why I wanted to talk about other forms of value you could offer to golf courses in your area in exchange for free golf.

To quickly recap, the 4 ways you can play golf for free is to:

  1. Promote the golf course on Instagram.

  2. Retrieve and donate golf balls to the golf course.

  3. Work part-time at the golf course.

  4. Become a golf instructor at the golf course.

There are other ways you can go about golfing for free without freeloading of a parent or a rich friend, but at the end of the day, they all include you first providing some form of value to the golf course.

Just remember, very few things in life are free. But that doesn’t mean they all cost money.

Anyways, all this golf talk got me thinking.. It’s time for a nap.

Noel

Noel is the founder and main contributor for his blog - Noel's passion for personal finance has helped him amass over 600k readers to his Financial Geek blog.

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