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Which Credit Cards Offer the Best Golf Perks?
Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.
Golf can be an expensive sport since you need to pay for things such as clubs, clothing, shoes, greens fees, club memberships and more to play. Your first year as a golfer can run you between $1,849 to $3,349 a year, depending on how often you play and the cost of clubs, lessons and accessories, according to Golf Advisor.
A big part of the cost is your course greens fees. A single round of golf for a nonmember at California’s Pebble Beach Golf Links, a public course that hosts the popular AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am tournament, costs $565 per person, including a cart fee. But a local public course such as Baltimore’s Mount Pleasant Golf Course can cost between $21 and $56 a round, plus a cart fee of $9, depending on the day and time you play.
If you can get a credit card that can help with the costs that come with playing the game, all the better. We take a look at credit cards offering golf-related perks and experiences that can enhance your time on the links.
American Express® Gold Card
The big draw for golfers with the American Express® Gold Card is a free one-year membership in the Preferred Golf Club, valued at $295 a year. Your membership gets you a free round of golf with every consecutive two-night stay at more than 85 world-class golf resorts around the world, including the iconic Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa at St. Andrews in Scotland (between $65 and $125 a round), Keswick Hall & Golf Club in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley (ranging from $75 to $140 for guests) and Pebble Beach.
The membership also comes with up to a 25% discount on green fees at select Preferred Golf resorts; VIP golf services, including concierge service to organize business, family or group golf trips, including accommodations, meeting facilities, tee times and best available rates; and buddy trips arranged with VIP services.
You can also use your points to bid on or pay for special golf-related experiences and events on the American Express Membership Rewards® website. Those currently available are: a round of golf with former MLB pitcher David Wells; a round of golf for three at Washington, D.C.’s Congressional Country Club, host to three U.S. Opens and a PGA Championship; a golf outing for 12 hosted by LPGA Tour professional Tina Mickelson; and the latest in golf fashion.
To see the rates and fees for the American Express® Gold Card, please click here.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve®
As the official credit card of the PGA, Chase Sapphire cardmembers have special access to events, including grounds passes and upgraded culinary experiences at tournaments. There’s a Chase Sapphire Cardmember Club at the PGA Championship where cardmembers just have to show their card to get access to the exclusive lounge.
The club features premium viewing of key golf holes and fairways, air conditioning, comfortable seating, free drinks and snacks, and a premium cash bar. Cardmembers can also have access to experiences such as a golf simulator, Q&As with golf talent and celebrity chef cooking demonstrations and recipe samplings.
For $199 a year, cardmembers can join PGA Access, where you have entree to more than 350 participating private clubs — where you can play golf and entertain guests such as a “member for the day” — for only $175 per person for up to four, including greens fees, cart fees and use of locker and practice facilities. Some premium clubs in the program may be priced higher.
Dick's Sporting Goods ScoreRewards Credit Card
This card gives new cardmembers a sign-up bonus of 3 points per $1 of qualified in-store purchases the day you open and use your new account. You earn 2X points on everyday in-store purchases. Each time you earn 300 points, you receive a $10 merchandise reward that you can use on golf or other merchandise sold at Golf Galaxy and Dick’s Sporting Goods under the card’s ScoreCard rewards loyalty program.
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card and Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
Hilton Honors members or cardholders of these two cards can use their points to buy or bid on golf and other sports experiences that rotate regularly. An example is a day in the life of European Tour player and Hilton Golf Ambassador Jamie Donaldson. Use your Hilton Honors points to book Stay & Play hotel/golf packages, buy golf equipment and apparel at Amazon.com or schedule rounds of golf at U.S.-based courses.
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card
Under the Marriott Golf Links loyalty program, Marriott Rewards® members earn points for golf purchases at participating Marriott Golf Clubs and can redeem them for golf, hotels, spa, golf instruction and more. Members earn 10 points for every $1 they spend at participating Marriott Golf Clubs, including rounds and merchandise.
Redeem your points to play at Marriott Golf Clubs worldwide and for lessons at the Academy of Golf on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail or the Marriott Golf Academy in Orlando, Fla., and Palm Desert, Calif. You can also use points to buy golf merchandise. And use your Marriott Rewards® to buy or bid on golf-themed Moments such as a private golf clinic with British Open champion David Duval at Mexico’s Sheraton Grand Los Cabos Hacienda del Mar Resort on Nov. 30-Dec. 1.
Mastercard-branded credit cards
Your Mastercard comes with access to the Mastercard Golf program. The benefits you receive depend on the card that’s in your wallet. Everyone can get member-for-a-day benefits to play at courses designed by golf legends, book private and public course tee times at Mastercard partner golf clubs, book Stay and Play Experiences at places such as North Carolina’s famous Pinehurst course or play with a PGA pro at events such as the PowerShares QQQ Championship Pro-Am at Sherwood Country Club in Ventura, Calif.
If you have a World or World Elite-branded Mastercard, you also get access to the Hidden Network of Private Club Courses, which gives you elite private club privileges without playing in an event or being accompanied by another member. You can play at 21 TPC golf courses in the U.S., Malaysia and Mexico, such as TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm, which hosted the PGA’s 2018 The National tournament.
PGA TOUR® Cash Rewards World Mastercard® credit card from Bank of America
This official PGA card is the ultimate one to have if you’re a serious golfer. New cardmembers can receive 2 tickets to the PGA TOUR® event of your choice if you make at least $95 in transactions in the first 90 days of account opening (students not eligible). You earn 1% cash back on purchases everywhere, every time, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 3% on gas for the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter.
Cardmembers receive premier access to participating resort, daily fee and private TPCs across the country with benefits including discounted greens fees and a 20% discount on regular-priced merchandise at TPC Shops when you use the card. You can bring three guests based on availability or course guest policies. It includes range balls and cart fees, dedicated lockers and a welcome gift at the course.
The Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card
When you use this card to sign up for Troon Rewards®, you can earn free rounds of golf and discounts on merchandise and golf fees. You get special access to exclusive events and Callaway® promotions, a one-year subscription to the print and digital editions of Golfweek and a free subscription to the bimonthly e-magazine Troon Golf & Travel.
After signing up for Troon Rewards®, you automatically get Silver Status, saving you 10% on golf fees and merchandise at more than 95 courses around the world. If you already have status, you’re eligible for a one-level upgrade to gold (15% off golf fees) or platinum (20% off golf fees).
Earn 1 point per $1 spent on golf fees, golf instruction fees, club-sponsored clinics and golf shop merchandise at participating Troon facilities. Earn free rounds of golf based on points earned, starting at 500.
Use your card to receive special access to play rounds at 15 private, member-only Troon Privé clubs around the country. You can play each club up to two times per year at a set rate of $99 each for up to three players per round.
Visa Infinite Signature Card
Like The Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card, Infinite-branded credit cards also come with Troon Rewards® benefits. If you stay at one of the more than 200 Visa Luxury Hotel Collection properties, you can receive a $100 golf credit for facilities with a course. It also includes room upgrades, free in-room Wi-Fi, free daily continental breakfast, a $25 food or beverage credit, VIP guest status and late checkout, all subject to availability.
The information related to the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, The Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card, PGA TOUR® Cash Rewards World Mastercard® credit card from Bank of America, Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card and Dick's Sporting Goods ScoreRewards Credit Card have been independently collected by LendingTree and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.