Are Golf Tournaments Getting Too Pricey?

Do you expect tons of food at a golf tournament?

Do you expect tons of food at a golf tournament?

So I’ve been wanting to play in my college alumni golf tournament for the past few years. But each spring the tournament comes and goes without my taking part.

This year I had decided I was going to play in it for sure. I put the little postcard reminder they sent me aside and planned on signing up online ASAP. Long story short, as I went to sign up yesterday I was stopped dead in my tracks…not by a scheduling conflict, but by the price: $395.

WTF are they smoking?

I had to check to make sure I wasn’t looking at the foursome price…nope, that was $1,580. Somehow, I just assumed it would be around $175 per person (I swear that’s what it was last I checked two years ago). Granted, it’s being held at a rather upscale public course where fees typically surpass $150, but $395…really? Needless to say, I won’t be playing this year either.

What the hell goes on at these tournaments, anyway? I spoke to someone recently who said a raw bar is a necessity at local tournaments nowadays. Really?

“If there’s not an oysters, clams and quahog spread behind the 18th green, then I’m out.”

A three-course meal after the round with a raw bar and free drinks? Is this a golf tournament or a wedding? Look, I’m all for supporting a good cause – be it your alma mater or a local charity, but isn’t $400 pushing it a bit too far?

But perhaps I’m crazy. Maybe I’m just out of touch with how much people typically pay to play in a local golf tournament these days. That being said, I offer the poll below – so you can tell me what you typically pay when you hit the links for a good cause.

How much do you typically spend on playing in a golf tournament?

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  1. Ted B. (Charging Rhino) says:

    The cost of “charity” tournaments around here—New Jersey—is getting sky-high to the point that the main people playing are lawyers-on-the-make trying to cozy-up to the politicians and movers-n-shakers sponsoring the events. Most of those attending treat the “donation” as a business-espense…not as an out-of-pocket charitable contribution. It’s become a legal-form of graft, if you do business with the charity…or member’s of it’s board or leadership…you’re expected to pony-up.

    For the courses, it’s a major sources of business revenue. Several local courses near the State Capital here primary-business is hosting these “events” during the week, you can never get a tee-time or a table for lunch. Nearly every day there’s a shotgun-start scramble at 930am or 1000am with an elaborate spread in the clubhouse at 200pm, it’s their biggest money-maker…and the lunch is more important than the golf. The clubhouse bar and restaurant isn’t there for the members, it’s a front for their liquor-license and the catering operation for these cost-no-object outings. As long as they can fill all the slots, the “donations” will just keep increasing. “All the market will bear”, etc…

  2. Ted B. (Charging Rhino) says:

    Around here, most charity events with a “political” or civic organization as host run $295 to $600. Even the local volunteer fire department event was over $250. last year. Most of the players at that event were “guests” of firms and professionals doing business with the Township.

    • Ted – I think you’re onto something with these tournaments being more than meets the eye. In the case of my alumni tourney, I believe the price is set high intentionally so that tournament organizers can woo the wealthy who attend into donating additional funds to other areas of the university. Pricing it at nearly $400 is probably a good strategy. The alumni willing to pay that amount for a golf tournament probably have deep pockets. If they set the price at $200 or less, they would attract more people to play, but less who would be in a position to fork-over additional money throughout the year.

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