The Lowdown on Discount Golf Passes

It doesn't matter who you are -- everybody likes a good deal on golf.

So it's no surprise I get a lot of questions about those discount golf passes, coupon books, and cards that are pretty much available anywhere you live or travel (and for pretty much any type of course: low, mid-, and high-end).

What everybody wants to know is, "are they worth it?"

The answer is... depends.

Some offer truly great deals; others are no more than marketing gimmicks. (The five questions below will help you decide.)

Of course, even the good ones must be used multiple times to recoup or exceed your initial outlay.

And because you never know for sure how much golf you'll be able to play, I like to see a discount golf pass pay for itself after one to three uses at a minimum.

That should be no problem assuming it provides meaningful discounts on, or access to, desirable courses during seasons, days, and times when you would normally play.

(By that last part, if you have to play, for example, after 1pm to get the discount, but that's not typical for you, you may wind up never using the pass.)

I know many of you will be attending consumer golf shows this winter where you'll see a lot of these golf passes for sale.

If you're thinking about buying one, ask yourself (and/or the seller) these questions:

1. What are the best courses participating in the program?

2. When (season, day, time) can I play these courses and is there a per-course limit?

3. What is the greens fee discount on these courses (for me and my guests, if applicable)?

4. What other fees (such as cart fees) am I obligated to pay?

5. How much will I save per use, and how many uses, realistically, will I get before expiration?

If your aggregate answer to No. 5 exceeds the price of the discount golf pass you're considering, it might be worth buying.

And here's a final tip most people don't know: the price of the golf pass itself may be negotiable.

Particularly with the printed passbooks, the seller has made a considerable, up-front investment and the clock is ticking on the selling window. He/she may cut you a deal particularly if you offer to buy multiple passes.

Are there any specific discount golf passes/programs you like or dislike? Curious about any you'd like me to evaluate?

Please share your thoughts or read what others are saying below.

Craig Better is one of the founding editors of Golf Vacation Insider. In addition to traveling to 15 foreign countries, he has twice traveled across America to play golf courses in all 50 United States. Prior to joining Golf Vacation Insider, Craig was a freelance writer who contributed to GOLF Magazine, Travel + Leisure Golf, Maxim Magazine,, and co-authored Zagat Survey’s book, America’s Top Golf Courses.
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Our group plays twice weekly and have used the TeeTime and more recently the VGP books. Without question they are worth it as long as you play at least 5-10 times a year.
We have obtained a substantial discount, 30%, and order a combined total of 50+ books a season. Both books offer a broad variety of courses, SE PA, and the discounts to play are similar with only a couple courses not covered by both. The VGP book also offers access to several upscale private courses as a plus.

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I was offered Golf Pass online for $99.00. Doses anyone know if it is worth $99?

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Probably NOT. Both TeeTime and VGB books retail at $59 and pay for themselves in just a few rounds. Don’t know your area, but applies to PA Del NJ Md

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I am interested in "the open golf pass" to use in Provence next July.
Is it widely accepted on the 11 courses available?
Can it be used on weekends?

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I have brought and used the Victory Golf pass book for several years. I believe that its one of the better deals out there . You can play some great courses at discounted prices. They also keep adding to the list of courses .( public & private)

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I have bought and used the Victory Golf pass for many years, and if you use it, it is great. Good courses, and good deals, but you have got to plan...then use the book.
And the 'cause' is wonderful, Krohn get the book, and tee it up...

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The best pass I know of is the Dukes Pass at Del Monte in Monterrey.

For an annual cost of $295, you get discounted rates at Del Monte ($45 M-F, $60 w/e, vs. reg. $110), Spanish Bay ($140 v. $260), and Spyglass Hill ($195, v. $360). The kicker is your discount also covers your "guests". If you do the math, you can cover your costs in one round playing 3 outstanding courses.

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I've purchased the Hawaii golf pass several times in the past. You must purchase the pass for a particular island and time frame but the cost savings are great. I'd highly recommend that pass to anyone planning to play multiple rounds in Hawaii.

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The fantasy golf contest was cool ! Please do it again.

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I've worked with Andy Barbin since the beginning of his Victory Golf Pass. The deals are very good, top notch courses, including some privates. No question the best of the golf books out there. And best of all, it's a not for profit book. Andy started it to help raise money for the Crohn's Colitis Foundation, with other proceeds benefitting junior golf programs like The First Tee. VGP is a win-win for golfers and charity.

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The Lowdown on Discount Golf Passes