Golf in Baltimore's a bargain, global survey shows

If you think a round of weekend golf at Pine Ridge is expensive, be thankful that you don't live in Tokyo or Beijing.

Weekend duffers who have been digging deeper into their pockets to pay for a round may find it hard to believe, but golf is a bargain in the Baltimore area when compared to major cities around the world.


In Japan, for example, you'd fork out $150.26 for 18 holes on a public course, including sharing a cart with a buddy.

Japan has the world's most expensive public courses, according to a survey by Runzheimer International, a management consulting company based in Rochester, Wis.


At the other end of the spectrum, the cost for 18 holes is only $7.06 in Czechoslovakia, where the few courses are linked to diplomatic offices and players are usually foreign visitors.

Based on reports from public courses from the top 100 U.S. metropolitan areas, the Runzheimer survey concluded that the average price in the United States is $29.83.

Baltimore still seems like a bargain. The cost of a weekend round of golf at Pine Ridge, a popular course off Dulaney Valley Road in Lutherville, is $19.50, according to Jon Ladd. Mr. Ladd is director of golf at the Baltimore Municipal Golf Corp., the not-for-profit company established by the city in 1985 to run its public courses.

At Mount Pleasant the cost is $19.50; at Clifton Park, $16.50; and at Forest Park, $17.

Mr. Ladd said that based on the corporation's own survey last year, prices at those municipal courses were among the lowest in the mid-Atlantic region. Greens fees reflect the goal of the corporation's directors of "providing the best possible golf at the lowest possible price," he said.

The Runzheimer survey found that the fabled British Isles, where golfing originated, places a premium on the game, charging, on average, nearly $43 a round.

In addition to Czechoslovakia, other inexpensive golfing spots include Iran, Nigeria and the Dominican Republic, all under $8 a round.

Australia, home to a number of golfing legends, including Greg Norman, is another excellent destination for golfers, charging around $9 for a weekend round of golf.


Why the vast difference in cost? Peter D. Packard, a spokesman for Runzheimer, says that land is extremely expensive in Japan, which drives up the cost of the game. "Golf is an extremely popular and prestigious sport in Japan, and there are only so many courses," he said. "It's a double whammy for golfers there."

China has lots of land, but very few courses, Mr. Packard said. Runzheimer's survey of five leading cities located only two courses, one near Beijing, the other at Shanghai.

Runzheimer's advice to business clients: If you plan to pack your clubs on a business trip abroad, check the local greens fees before departing.

A lot of green

The price of a round of golf at selected countries around the world.

TOP FIVE Japan ... ... ... ...$150.26


China ... ... ... ... 132.24

Cayman Islands .. ... 100.06

Spain ... ... ... .... 96.76

Taiwan .. ... ... .... 81.70


Ivory Coast . ... .... 56.90


United Kingdom .. .... 42.60

Canada... ... ... .... 35.06

United States ... .... 29.83

South Africa. ... .... 16.03

Saudi Arabia. ... .... 10.71



BOTTOM FIVE Australia... ... ... .. 9.06

Dominican Republic . .. 7.79

Nigeria ... ... ... ... 7.46

Iran... ... ... ... ... 7.20

Czechoslovakia ... .... 7.06