HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - This week, WHNT NEWS 19 is hoping to help you keep your wallet healthy and green, just like the golf courses around North Alabama.
We've researched and found several ways you can have fun on the greens without having to give up all of your green. And you can make your smartphone or computer your "caddie" on the course.
Luxury on the links isn't just for those who are loaded.
"A lot of people have that misconception of this being a wealthy man's game, but there's so many great deals out there, so many ways to play golf, enjoy golf and not break the bank," said Jon-Michael Goins ought to know.
He's the Head Pro Golfer for the Robert Trent Jones Course at Hampton Cove and has been playing the sport for 35 years. He's learned ways to save money and still enjoy the sport and now he teaches others about it.
"I tell a lot of my students that are looking for that quick fix, that might be trying to buy that driver, that set of irons, balls, whatever, if they were that much better, they'd be illegal," said Goins. "So there's not a huge difference between your lower end clubs and your higher end clubs."
There are many places where you can get good golf equipment for less.
Online, we found a Facebook site that's all things golf and good deals.
Also, some courses have similar programs.
The RTJ Trail at Hampton Cove, for example, offers a trade-in program, allowing golfers to turn in old equipment for money towards new equipment.
"That old equipment is worth something to somebody and if you're a beginner, a novice, looking to get into the game, it's a great way to get an introductory set," said Goins.
Golf balls don't need to sink your wallet either.
Or, look for excess stock clearances from golf events for which organizers put company logos on balls just for the event and afterwards are looking to get rid of them.
Once you get your clubs and balls, of course you have to pay to play. That's where your smartphone can help.
Check out this app: Golf Now. It lists when greens fees are the lowest, so you can get in a round for less. Also, look for twilight tee times.
"In the afternoon, typically after 2 or 3 o'clock, you can find much better deals and price breaks on your round that way," said Goins.
You can save more money by walking the course instead of using a golf cart. And pack a cooler for your refreshments, since they can be pricey at the clubhouse.
One last note worth mentioning: You can get a tax break by playing golf! A game could be part of a legitimate business activity, so if you score a hole in one on a business deal while on the links, it may be tax deductible.