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How Much Does it Cost to Play a Championship Golf Course

By: Golfshake Editor | Thu 23 Dec 2021 | Comments


Golf is a unique sport in that the average player can experience the greatest and most iconic venues in the game. It's not likely that you'll take to the pitch at Wembley, compete at Wimbledon or represent England at Lord's, but you can walk in the footsteps of championship golfers on the layouts that have defined the history of the ancient game.

That is, of course, if you are willing to pay a significant green fee.

Recently, Golfshake's Derek Clements made the argument that while expensive, the opportunity to play a genuine classic is worth the cost. That may depend on who you ask, but it's a perspective that certainly has some merit.

However, there is no doubt that these legendary courses are becoming increasingly pricey. 

Ahead of 2022, when it will host the 150th Open Championship, the revered Old Course at St Andrews has made a dramatic jump up from £195 to play in the high season - considerably less than its fellow Open rota destinations - to a more comparable £270.

Whether that's justified is a matter of personal opinion, but many will see it as a continuing trend where the financial demands are rising. Ultimately, if people - notably tourists with cash to burn - are willing to pay for that once in a lifetime round, then it will remain the case.

But just how much does it cost to play a championship venue in the UK? We take a closer look at some standouts.

Turnberry

Turnberry

Since its major revamp, the Ailsa Course is widely considered to be a masterpiece, but its controversial ownership proves to be a barrier to some potential visitors, as does the price it costs to play this stunning four-time Open host.

2022 Summer Green Fee: £325

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Muirfield

For many, this is the finest of all the Open courses, home to the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers. Visitors are welcome to play this brilliant layout - but it requires some deep pockets.

2022 Summer Green Fee: £310

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Royal Troon

From Arnold Palmer to Tom Watson and Henrik Stenson's breathtaking duel with Phil Mickelson, Troon has its own piece of championship history, including the famous Postage Stamp. And you can take it on for the fee of £285.

2022 Summer Green Fee: £285

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Carnoustie

The Championship Course at Carnoustie is a fearsome but thrilling design, a place where drama is guaranteed. The summer green fee is set at £270 - but the odds are you'll get to play a considerable number of shots for that money!

2022 Summer Green Fee: £270

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St Andrews

Host of the 150th Open and the spiritual Home of Golf, it doesn't get more iconic than the Old Course, which had been refreshingly less expensive than its respected compatriots, but to walk on this landscape of history, you will now have to part with £270.

2022 Summer Green Fee: £270

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Royal Birkdale

Some consider Birkdale to be England's finest links and it's hard to argue with the champions it has crowned, from Peter Thomson to Lee Trevino and Jordan Spieth.

2022 Summer Green Fee: £260

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Royal Portrush

The scenes of Shane Lowry's triumph at Royal Portrush will be indelibly etched in the minds of golf fans, with this remarkable Northern Irish creation set to welcome back the Open in 2025. 

2022 Summer Green Fee: £255

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Royal St George's

Collin Morikawa triumphed in Kent at the 149th Open, which made its way back to England's original championship venue. Royal St George's has sometimes divided opinion - but it's a quintessentially classic links.

2022 Summer Green Fee: £250

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Royal Lytham & St Annes

With the sea nowhere to be seen, Lytham is a unique beast among the Open venues, but its carefully placed bunkers offer a formidable challenge. Seve Ballesteros was a twice a winner here, with the likes of Ernie Els, Gary Player and Bobby Jones also lifting the Claret Jug triumphantly at this venue.

2022 Summer Green Fee: £245

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Royal Liverpool

Since making its return to the Open rotation for the 2006 championship, Royal Liverpool has demonstrated its class with Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy both becoming Champion Golfer of the Year at Hoylake.

2022 Summer Green Fee: £245

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Essentially, if you want to play one of the current Open Championship venues, then you'll have to part with at least £245 during the peak months.

But if we move away from those grand stages, what of some other courses with rich pedigree? 

Kingsbarns

Kingsbarns

A modern classic and regular Dunhill Links host that welcomed the Women's Open in 2017, Kingsbarns is scenic and thrilling to play, but it's comfortably the most expensive course to play on this list.

2022 Summer Green Fee: £346

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Sunningdale (Old/New)

It doesn't get much better than Sunningdale, which hosted the Senior Open in 2021. Both its courses are among the world's best, a fact reflected in the individual green fee of £300. Perhaps better value is found in playing the two for £500 - and wouldn't that be a day to remember.

2022 Summer Green Fee: £300 (£500 For Both Courses)

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Royal County Down

Often ranked as the best course on the planet, Royal County Down has previously hosted the Senior Open, Walker Cup and Irish Open. If you want to discover what the hype is all about - then it could set you back £290.

2022 Summer Green Fee: £290

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Gleneagles (King's/Queen's/PGA Centenary)

Former Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup venue, Gleneagles will host the Senior Open in 2022, but on the widely celebrated King's Course rather than the modern PGA Centenary design. The Queen's is also highly rated. Whichever you choose to play at the resort in Perthshire - it will be costly.

2022 Summer Green Fee: £275

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Prestwick

Birthplace of the Open, Prestwick is a living monument and one of the most memorable courses in the game. But despite not hosting the championship since 1925, it remains an expensive date.

2022 Summer Green Fee: £220

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Royal Dornoch

Its remote location in the Scottish Highlands has prevented Royal Dornoch from hosting more significant events, but there is no disputing the quality of this stunning course.

2022 Summer Green Fee: £210

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Royal Aberdeen

Royal Aberdeen is best known for hosting the 2005 Senior Open, the 2011 Walker Cup, and the 2014 Scottish Open. Its opening nine is viewed as one of the finest stretches of golf in the British Isles, something that draws enthusiasts to the north east of Scotland.

2022 Summer Green Fee: £195

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Royal Cinque Ports

Deal staged the Open Championship in 1909 and 1920, but this course's prestige goes beyond that status. Part of Kent's magnificent golf coastline, Royal Cinque Port is a less expensive alternative to Royal St George's.

2022 Summer Green Fee: £175

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Royal Porthcawl

If Wales was ever to welcome an Open Championship, it would be at Royal Porthcawl. Bernhard Langer has twice won the Senior Open on this fabulous course - including by 13 shots in 2014.

2022 Summer Green Fee: £175

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The Belfry

Four-time host of the Ryder Cup, The Belfry's place in the game is secure, but the Brabazon remains a pricey course to play, albeit packages are available for hotel guests and at off-peak times of the year.

2022 Summer Green Fee: £175

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Needless to say, playing any of these featured venues is an expensive commitment. Whether it's worth that cost is debatable and personal to the golfer - but there is no doubt that experiencing any championship course is special.


Related Content

Why Championship Golf Courses Are Worth The Price

How Much Would it Cost to Play ALL of The Open Venues


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