The Green Fee in Golf: What It Is, What It Covers

Golfers playing in Myanmar after paying the green fee.
EyesWideOpen/Getty Images

The "green fee" is what a golf course charges golfers to play. How much do you have to pay to play golf on a given golf course? That's the green fee.

What Does the Green Fee Cover?

Paying the green fee typically gets you 18 holes of golf. Some courses offer 9-hole rates (and, obviously, a 9-hole golf course's green fee covers nine holes of play). But beyond getting access to play a course, does paying the green fee get the golfer anything else? Most often, no. But ...

  • Cart fees: The use of golf carts - either push carts (a k a, buggies) or motorized riding carts, is the "extra" most likely to be included in a golf course's standard green fee. But it's probably more common for cart fees to be add-ons. A golfer pays the green fee, then, if she wants to use a cart, pays another amount as the cart fee. But it's definitely not uncommon for the use of a cart to be included in a course's green fee.
  • Unlimited play: The green fee rarely includes unlimited play for the day. The standard is, if you pay the green fee you get 18 holes of play. Want to play another nine or 18 after that? Pay another fee. But some courses do allow unlimited play with one green fee or might offer that as a special, limited-time rate ("free replays").
  • Food and drink: Not normally included in the green fee, but might be offered as a special or "sale" - e.g., "This week only, get a free hot dog and soda with your green fee!"
  • Some high-end courses will include the services of a caddie in the green fee. Most golf courses that offer caddies - and the majority of courses don't - require an additional fee if a golfer wants one.

How Much Do Green Fees Cost?

There is no standard green fee for golf courses. It is up to each course to determine what price to charge, and those prices range from very low ($10 or $15 green fees can still be found in a few places) to very high (hundreds of dollars at the most-famous and most-luxurious resort courses). Five-hundred-dollar green fees are not unheard of, but that high of an amount is extremely rare. Most golfers play courses at much more reasonable rates, in the dozens of dollars rather than the hundreds.

An individual course's green fees typically vary depending on the time of the week, time of day and status of the golfer. Weekend rounds usually cost more than weekday rounds; rounds played late in the day - when there is a question about whether a full 18 can be finished - are often discounted. Juniors and seniors often receive discounts. And anyone with a club membership will pay less than a guest.

Also, many courses offer 9-hole and 18-hole green fees, the 9-hole fees obviously being lower. Some courses are even starting offer 12-hole rates.

Is It 'Green Fee' or 'Greens Fee'?

"Green fee" is commonly called "greens fee," with the "s" added on. Which is correct? The singular, "green fee," is used by the sport's governing bodies, so that is what we consider correct and what we use in our articles.