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How Much Does It Cost to Build a Golf Course?

a person walking on a golf course

Did you know that in 2021, over 3.2 million people played on a golf course for the first time in the United States? This growth in popularity isn’t just a one-time thing; the golfing community has been growing consistently for eight years. With more people getting interested in golf, there’s a great opportunity to build new golf courses. But, how much does it cost to build a golf course? In this article, we’ll break down the main costs involved in constructing a golf course from scratch.

What is a Golf Course?

Before we delve into the costs of building a golf course, let’s understand what a golf course actually is. A golf course is a carefully designed area where the sport of golf is played. It consists of a series of holes, each with a starting point called a tee and an ending point called a hole. Players hit a golf ball with clubs, aiming to get the ball into each hole in as few strokes as possible. Golf courses can vary in size and complexity, with different features and challenges that make the game enjoyable for players of all skill levels.

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Golf Course

The Land Costs

The first step in building a golf course is acquiring the land. For a standard 18-hole, par 72 golf course, you’d need around 120 to 200 acres. This land should be suitable for golf, meaning it doesn’t include wetlands or restricted areas. The average price per acre in the United States is about $17,394, but it varies by state. For example, in Oklahoma, it’s around $7,559 per acre, while in Florida, it’s about $64,632 per acre.

So, the cost of the land for a standard golf course could range from $2,087,000 to $3,479,000. The price depends on how much land you use. If you have tighter holes, it might cost less, while more spacious holes can increase the cost.

The Design Costs

Designing a golf course is another significant expense. Renowned golf course architect Tom Doak estimated that design fees could be around $200,000 to $250,000 per course back in 2005. Considering inflation, these fees might be higher today. Designers with more experience might charge even more, up to $2 million per course. The European Institute of Golf Course Architects suggests that fixed design fees for an 18-hole project could be 8-12% of the total build cost.

The design cost varies based on factors like the complexity of the course and the natural obstacles in the area. More challenging designs might require more strategic planning, which can increase the cost. So, you’re looking at an average design cost of about $200,000 to $500,000.

The Construction Costs

Finally, the most significant expense is the construction of the golf course. Building a golf course is a time-consuming process that takes about 2 to 4 years on average, including obtaining permits. It takes time because the course needs to have high-quality turf, especially on the greens.

Several factors influence the construction cost, such as the type of soil, the amount of soil and trees to be moved, the chosen green construction method, the size of the greens, drainage requirements, and the contractor’s experience. The average cost to build one hole is roughly between $50,000 and $200,000.

So, for a standard 18-hole, par 72 golf course, the construction cost could range from $900,000 to $3.6 million. Keep in mind that competition courses might cost even more.

The Total Cost

In total, when you add up the land, design, and construction costs, building a standard 18-hole golf course might cost approximately $3,187,000 to $7,579,000. If you’re considering a 9-hole course, it would cost around half of that estimate: $1,593,500 to $3,789,500.

For those on a tighter budget, building a par 3 course could be a more affordable option. These courses take up less space and can cost around $30,000 to $50,000 per hole.


Building a golf course involves several costs, including land acquisition, design, and construction. Land costs vary by location and can significantly impact the overall budget. Design fees depend on complexity and experience, while construction costs are influenced by factors like soil type and green construction methods.

Ultimately, investing in a golf course can be rewarding, especially if there’s enough demand in the area. As more people get into golf, building new courses becomes a valuable opportunity. Whether it’s a full 18-hole course, a smaller 9-hole course, or a par 3 course, there are options to suit various budgets and cater to different audiences.

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