7 Ways to Improve Your Game on a Budget

Well all know that the best way to improve your golf game is through hard work.

We also know that golf is an expensive hobby (and/or lifestyle, if you prefer). Between the cost of clubs, balls, apparel, accessories, range time, lessons, club fittings, and instructional aids and videos, it’s enough to go broke and that’s before we even step on the course.

Many times, players who play only occasionally can’t justify the expense, or simply don’t have the money to do all those things.

It can get frustrating to know that you could improve so much if you only had money to throw at the problem. I say that it’s possible to transform your game for under $100, with the real investment being time. Let’s see how:

(Affiliate links ahead)

  1. Scoring happens from within 100 yards. Forget all the shiny new drivers and hybrids and learn how to score from within 100 yards. For this, I turn to the master. Pick up copies of Dave Pelz’s Short Game Bible and Dave Pelz’s Putting Bible. Pelz will tell you everything, and I mean everything, you need to know to maximize your potential from within 100 yards.
  2. Don’t have money for frequent visits to the driving range? Try your back yard for a little short game work. If you don’t have a yard, then look for a field, an empty lot, or a park (you should make sure it’s OK before going with these options). You can get a lot of work in with chipping and short pitches. You won’t have the benefit of seeing the ball reacting to a green, but you’ll be able to groove a repeatable stroke that will serve you well.
  3. If you get The Golf Channel, watch some of their instructional programs like Playing Lessons from the Pros and Golf Channel Academy. These programs are highly informative and give us a few minutes with some of the best teachers and players in the game. If you pay close attention, you can learn so much about the game that you never knew.
  4. Working on putting doesn’t cost a dime. Many courses (public ones, anyway) allow people to use their practice greens without necessarily being there to play. If you’re unsure, ask in the pro shop and more often than not, they’ll be fine with it. Going during off hours is best because you won’t be practicing around many paying customers and will have more of the green to yourself. Considering that your putter will be used more than any other club during a round, it’s fitting that it should get the most work.
  5. Physical skill only gets you so far. Pay more attention to the mental game. I recommend Golf is Not a Game of Perfect by Dr. Bob Rotella with Bob Cullen. You can take his recommendations out to the course with little or no work and see an increase in consistency and mental attitude right away. That translates to strokes saved.
  6. Increase your flexibility and make sure to warm up prior to your rounds. This one won’t cost you a dime. Added flexibility translates to distance off the tee, more consistent ball striking resulting from a better ability to execute the fundamentals repeatedly, and also less soreness and stiffness popping up during a round.
  7. If you have one at home, use a full length mirror to check your posture, alignment, swing plane, etc. In some ways it can be as valuable as video, at no cost.

The costs associated with golf can really add up, but there are lots of ways to improve with little or no financial burden. Considering a round of golf can cost anywhere from $20 up into the hundreds of dollars, it’s nice to be able to play well when we step on the course. A little creativity and some elbow grease and you can be playing better in no time, all on a budget.


Further Reading:

Book Review: Golf is Not a Game of Perfect (Life in the Rough)
Book Review: Dave Pelz’s Short Game Bible (Life in the Rough)


  1. gamefacepdx says:

    Great tips! I recently just picked up golf and am having a good time learning it. But as you wrote in your blog, it can get expensive.

    Other resources I found useful were the golf how-to videos from those video sites like YouTube. Not all of them are gems but there are some good ones out there.

    Also, I cruise through garage sales and craigslist for starter clubs. Since I don’t know how much I’m going to get into the sport, I found that buying a used set will save me some dough just in case I decide to give it up. Only when I know it’s the sport for me will I commit to a decent set.

  2. Double Eagle says:

    Great tips, gamefacepdx!

    Good luck with the game and I hope you decide to stick with it.

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