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Study finds upscale is exception not rule

If you want to play where Tiger just won the BMW Championship, you might have to come up with $150 or so. That’s because the Dubsdread Course at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club in Lemont, Ill., near Chicago, is one of the nation’s finest courses. But the National Golf Foundation (NGF) is worried that these kinds of courses – which it says are the exception, not the rule – may be unfairly bolstering the myth that golf is just for the economic elite.

A just-released report from the NGF, the industry advocacy group based in south Florida, says that nearly a third of so-called Core U.S. golfers (those who play eight or more times per year) pay less than $40 per round (with cart). Only 8 percent pay $70 or more. Three in four golfers say they’re spending only a little more per round than they did five years ago.

The same report, which was based on a survey of 1,000 core golfers in January, said that courses asking for green fees in the $30-$80 range are considered good to excellent. Below that, the course is seen as acceptable – but if a course is asking for less than $20, golfers begin to wonder if it’s any good. On the other end. The $0-$130 courses are considered good for special occasions, and anything over $130 is felt out of range for most golfers surveyed.