Understanding Municipal Golf

Golf is a sport that’s played all around the world. It can be done on virtually any course, either private or public. This article will give you an understanding of what makes municipal courses different from private courses and why they are important to golfers in general.

What is a municipal golf course?

A municipal golf course is a golf course that is managed and funded by either the local government or city itself on public land. Due to financial restraints, budgets cuts and economic downturns they are increasingly becoming more popular as an alternative to private country clubs which can be extremely expensive. Municipal courses, however, provide a wide range of benefits that make them highly popular among the community at large.

How does it differ from private courses ?

  • Private: The majority of golfers play at private clubs because of the prestige and exclusivity that comes with membership. The facilities are usually top-notch including luxurious accommodations, gourmet food and alcoholic beverages alongside exclusive social networking events.
  • Municipal:  Municipal courses differ from private courses mainly in price. You will find that they are considerably less expensive than private courses and more suited to families, groups and individuals. Since they are managed by the local city council, there is often an emphasis on community events and charity programs. Municipal courses also differ from private courses in the way that they are funded. City governments can use tax dollars to fund municipal golf courses which generally means a lower rate for members and day-trippers.
  • Public: A public golf course is open to the public but privately-owned by a golf course management company. Since the government is not involved in their ownership, fees are generally higher than at municipal and private courses. They usually charge for guest play, although some may offer non-guest rates on weekdays or during off season periods.    

Why they are important?

Municipal golf courses have experienced a surge in popularity as cities work to cut their costs by way of reducing recreation budget spending. Municipal courses generally offer lower fees, easier access to the public, and less formality than private clubs. Golf lovers can also enjoy many impressive benefits such as reduced fees for league play, family events and charity tournaments.

Municipal courses are important for the following reasons:

The average annual fee is around $400 whereas private clubs often charge anywhere between $1,000 – $2,500 per year.   

Municipal facilities also tend to have more affordable rates than public golf courses.. So if you're looking for a great round of golf at an affordable price, you will most likely find it with a municipal course.    

In addition, many municipal courses hold family events and charity tournaments that can benefit the community as a whole.

How many of them are in the US?

Statistics have shown that there are 26,000 municipal golf courses in the US. The top three states with the most golf courses per capita include Colorado, New York and Georgia. These figures suggest that municipal golf courses are more popular than ever before. 

Does the government own golf courses?

Yes. There are quite a few government-owned golf courses out there and while they are very different from private courses, here are some things that can be said about them:

They are usually cheaper than private courses . The government has a lot of land to use free of charge. So it stands to reason that their course will also have lower prices.

A lot of municipal courses offer family events and charity tournaments . These are a great way to give back to the community and involve different members of the town in an activity that they can enjoy together.

They are more laid-back than private or public courses . Most government-owned golf courses have fewer rules and regulations, which makes them a great learning facility for beginners.

They are a good way to get the youth interested in golf . Although there aren't a lot of government-owned facilities, there is hope that they can serve as an affordable course where kids and teens can build their interest in the sport of golf.


Both private and public courses are great in their own way. But with municipal golf courses, you can expect to find more facilities for a lower price. You may also be able to take advantage of community events and charity tournaments that will help the city as a whole.


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