Your Course Map to Golf Retirement

August 19, 2011

Here are three sample retirement lifestyles to which you might aspire, along with how much each would cost to sustain. We set each lifestyle in the Chapel Hill, N.C., area because avid-golfer baby boomers cited North Carolina as the state to which they are most likely to retire. The golfspending estimates were provided by Deborah and Richard Frazier, fee-only financial advisers in Chapel Hill, N.C., and local real estate experts. The savings estimates are based on calculations by Charles Farrell, a Denver-based financial adviser and author of Your Money Ratios.

How much you’ll need to save if you want to…

…play a public course a couple of times per week:


Your course: The Finley course at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Your costs: Green fees range from $35-$82 for golfers without a UNC affiliation.

The beauty of public golf is that you pay only when you play. It’s a great option not only for those retirees with modest savings, but also for those who plan on traveling frequently and don’t want to be tied to a membership and monthly minimums. Finley also offers useful partial-year memberships beginning at $1,700, or an annual membership for $7,200.

…join a private-club with
unlimited access to golf:


Your club: Old Chatham Country Club

Your costs: $42,000 initiation fee, plus approximately $795 a month in membership dues.

The biggest expense for private club members is the initiation fee. Most retirees pay their initiation fees with investment assets and finance the monthly/annual fees out of income, according to the Fraziers. So at Old Chatham, once you’ve covered the upfront costs, you can expect annual costs of about $9,500.

…live in a golf community and keep a second home elsewhere:


Your community: Governors Club

Your costs: From $750,000 for a cottage to
$4 million for a 4-BR home.

Golf membership is $30,000, plus up to $589 a month in dues. According to financial advisors, the typical golf community resident around Chapel Hill has a net worth of $3 million or more, which works out to an annual income at retirement of at least $150,000. If you’re planning on keeping your first home and traveling between your two residences, $250,000 is a more reasonable income target.