It has been said that golf is a rich man's sport, but times have changed. A Google search of the term "cheap golf" returns hundreds of thousands of results, some of which lead to courses with green fees as low as $17 a player.
Clearly, the game is no longer the exclusive province of the wealthy. But that doesn't mean that sellers of golf-related luxury items have gone all wobbly, nor does it mean that their customers have, either. Golfers with extravagant tastes are still vital to the game's culture, and upmarket brands such as MGM Resorts and Ferrari have the goods to sell them, at top dollar.
CNBC.com presents a list of 10 high-end extravagances for the golfer who demands the best and for whom money is no object. Read ahead to see what they are and, more important, what they cost.
By Daniel Bukszpan
Posted 3 April 2013
Compared with some of the expenses you can incur in a day on the links, $75 isn't much. But this is what a dozen Dixon Fire Pro-Performance golf balls will set you back, and it's almost double that of the $40 Dixon Earth balls set and triple that of the $25 Dixon Wind set.
The product website describes Fire as an "eco-friendly ball designed for the professional golfer who demands the highest level of performance in feel, spin, distance and durability." It's recommended for single-digit handicappers with swing speeds of at least 90 miles an hour.
Ravi Ratan is a luxury cufflinks collection. It offers the simple, elegant designs one normally associates with formal occasions, as well as whimsical looks.
In addition to pieces featuring the likeness of Jedi master Yoda, the company provides sports-oriented items, such as Golf Tee Cuff Links, made of sterling silver.
Brooks Brothers is one of the most prestigious names in clothing. In its almost 200 years in business, it has introduced the button-down polo shirt and counted President Abraham Lincoln as a customer.
That type of pedigree makes the company a natural fit for creating high-end golf apparel such as its Kiltie Golf Shoes, handmade of calfskin, with perforated leather uppers and anti-slip studs.
The Shadow Creek golf course in Las Vegas is one of the most exclusive in the U.S. The green fee alone is a daunting $500, and only guests at one of the MGM hotels are allowed to play it.
Only two hotel guests per room may use the course, so a group of 10 renting one room to defray costs are out of luck—they would need to occupy at least five separate rooms to qualify. Finally, hotel guests may use the course only from Monday through Thursday, as Friday through Sunday play is available by invitation only.
A driver is normally the first club used in a game, and its job is to make the ball disappear into the horizon. As such, it's often a player's lightest club and often the most expensive, a principle pushed it to its limits by the $1,983 Golf Driver GS Flex.
"The best designers in the golfing world and the expert Ferrari engineers have pooled their expertise and skills to create this exceptional Cobra line," the website says. The driver features a lightweight body, internal tungsten weighting and a leather grip.
Stewart Golf is a U.K. company specializing in golf equipment. One of its main product lines is a selection of electric golf trolleys, such as the F1 Lithium.
The website refers to the F1 Lithium as "the pinnacle of powered golf trolley design." The remote-controlled gadget features a 36-volt lithium ion battery pack and can be folded up to fit inside the tiniest compact car.
Ferrari may be best known as a manufacturer of luxury sports cars, but its list of wares doesn't end there. The company also makes watches, clothes and accessories, including the Cobra collection of golfing products.
The Cobra line includes the Luxury Golf Bag, which features the same leather used in Ferrari sports cars and a soft cotton interior lining.
The putter is the club of choice for golfers sinking the ball at short distances. It is shown much reverence, illustrated by the ooh-ing and aah-ing that ensues when it is produced at the 18th hole.
The implement used to shut down the game must look impressive enough to suit the occasion, and the Golden Putter fits the bill. Hand crafted by Barth & Sons in Germany, it has a 24-carat-gold-plated head and platinum-coated inlay.
Every so often, golfers must pick up a ball from where it last rolled to a stop. This necessitates a ball marker to keep track of the position when play resumes. Most markers are made of metal or plastic.
All fine and good, but a few golfers need something more distinguished, such as the custom-made Executive Series 18K Yellow Gold Marker from Trimark. This stunner is inlaid with the customer's choice of diamonds and gemstones, but if it still seems too down-market, you can get a platinum version for $10,000.
The Garia Golf Car is the most expensive golf cart in the world, according to the U.K.'s Daily Telegraph. It was designed in Denmark and built in a Finnish factory where two of Porsche's sports models are built. This is fitting, considering that the sticker price is equal to that of a sports car.
The refrigerator-equipped vehicle has a "lightweight construction made from corrosion-resistant aluminum," according to the website. The company also offers slightly more modest variations, including an electric-powered, street-legal configuration that can go up to 40 miles on a single charge and sells for $20,562.