The Dirt Blogs
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To take pride in playing golf like you’re poor, to happily ditch the resorts and daily-fee tracks for a sometimes dusty muni, to play 25-year-old forged blades rather than buy a new set of Razrs or R11s, to fish out a blemished Pinnacle from a mud hole and tee that one up rather than pull out a shiny white ProV1x from the sleeve -- to do all that? Well, I guarantee ya, I’m close to goin’ solo on this one. And that’s OK.
I’m layin’ it down on how to be a GLYP'er (Golf Like You’re Poor), and there ain’t no one yet bustin the door down to join me. The people “friending” my profile can be counted on one hand at this point, followers few so far on my tweets and the message board on my blog is a virgin.
And, yet, I’m a part of a group.
I’ve found that if I’m going to satisfy all my goals that I listed previously on my blog -- to play, practice, compete and maintain my equipment, and do it in a way that I put up big-time red numbers against whatever other discounts might be out there -- it’s best to be a part of a group to keep costs low.
The group I’ve chosen is Alamo City Golf Trail. It’s a non-profit association that’s been established by the City of San Antonio to manage its municipal golf courses. I’ll write about the creation of the ACGT in a future blog. It’s a story worth knowing if you’re a muni player who’s tired of being stuck in a city that has golf courses only because it has to, and there’s no real desire in the Parks and Recreation Department to engender a feeling of a golf community.
But right now it’s time I opened the books and present my GLYP budget for $100 a month.
Membership -- $4.25
Play -- $57.50
Practice -- $13
Tournaments -- $17
Equipment -- $0
Total -- $92
The ACGT’s startup costs, to my knowledge, were covered by the city. Best to be politically minded, the ACGT made the city critics quiet by getting quick cash: They offered the public annual memberships at $49.95. It’s a sort of a player-development program. I bit, so it goes down in my budget at $4.25 per month.
The membership will be the base of almost everything I do: play a round of golf 26 times a year (every other week) with a warmup bucket prior to the round, and hit golf balls in a practice-facility session 26 times a year. I’ll play golf every other week and hit balls in a practice session on alternate weeks.
Even if I don’t play one round of golf and just hit practice balls, the membership will pay for itself. The medium bucket I will buy costs $8 for non-members. Members pay $6. That’s a yearly savings of $52, so I’ve covered my membership with a little more than two dollars to spare.
OK, so that’s hardly beating this deal by red numbers. But let’s now throw in what I do on days I play golf.
First off, the membership offers six rounds at a reduced rate through a punch-card system. I tee it up and just pay the cart fee. I don’t ride, but that’s OK. Instead of a $22 round of golf four times and $20 twice (there are six rounds on the punch card), I pay $10.81 for the cart I don’t use. So that means I’ll save $63.14 by having the membership and using the punch card.
And remember, I hit balls from a warmup bucket that would cost $6 if I was not a member. But my discount knocks it down to $4.50, so at 26 times a year that’s a savings of $39 for the year.
Let’s add up what the group membership means to me. There’s $52 saved on practice-facility discounts, $63 on the punch card for six rounds of golf and $39 on the warmup sessions at the practice facility before I play golf. The membership cost $49.95 and I saved $154, so I’m about $104 to the good.
After the punch card is exhausted, I’ll play rounds of golf at $22 (sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less, depending where I play).
So I’ve explained my activity and budget in terms of membership in a player-development program, rounds of golf and practice, leaving tournaments and equipment. As of right now, I’m playing in two tournaments this year. And there is no money for equipment. In future blogs you’ll see why that number is zero.
The reason, again, for trying to stick to a budget with my golf? I want to be fair to my family, and my business pursuits, by not allowing my hobby to become manic. I want to enjoy the game while not taking from contributions to retirement and educational savings and other important expenses to our household.
Best of luck in your pursuits.