A reader sent in a question on my post below regarding the availability of "Texas golf passes." These are the discount cards for which you pay an up-front fee (around $35-$50 in most cases). Then the golf courses that participate in the respective programs provide the cardholders with discounts.
This is the question the reader asked: "Aren't those golf passes rip-offs?"
Emphatically, they are not. But I understand where the question comes from. These golf passes all have some fine print; for example, if a club is offering a "free" round that usually means only free green fees (a cart fee is still charged). Participating clubs might limit when cardholders can make tee times (no weekends or holidays, for example, or perhaps after noon only). This isn't always the case, but it often is.
The reader had heard that you'd be better off simply looking for coupons, rather than paying for a "golf pass." Here's the truth: You can find better deals elsewhere, as long as you're willing to hunt for them. But what the golf passes provide is flexibility.
If you have a golf pass, and you'll be spending a few days in DFW, you don't have to go online or down to the newsstand to pick up a Dallas paper in order to search for coupons. And you aren't limited to considering only those courses for which you find coupons. If you have a golf pass, there are likely dozens of DFW courses included. You know that you'll be able to get a discount somewhere, and you can pick-and-choose from among a wide array of courses and options.
There's another reason to consider a golf pass, for yourself or as a gift. Most of the golf pass programs have tie-ins to charity. If you purchase a golf pass, you might be helping fund cancer research or PGA junior programs, just as two examples.
So while golf passes probably aren't the whiz-bang super-duper deals they may first appear to be, they are certainly good deals that do get golfers discounts and, as a bonus, help fund some great programs.