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How to get geared up for golf without breaking the bank

Golf is often referred to as the Game of Kings – and depending on where you play, you might need a King’s Ransom to hit those links. For casual or amateur players (perhaps even budding pros) some of the princely sums asked for clubs, bags, and accessories can make almost every player’s eyes water.

Though if you’re committed to the game – like any sport – you need to have proper gear to make the most of it. Many of us might be tempted to whip out the plastic; but there’s a more economical way – getting approved for a personal loan.

Here are some tips and tricks on how to get geared up for your game without spending too much on dead money – interest!

Keep your eye on gear that matches your skill

We can’t all be Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, hitting a 300-yard shot down the first fairway of Royal Melbourne. As much as we’d love that, we probably need to put the practice in at the driving range or putting green. Buying a $700+ Callaway Epic Driver or Wood just to work on your slicing is overkill – and expensive. Insisting you collect the entire set of Woods and the Apex Hybrids…well, you might be able to buy a car. Then there’s bags like the Ogio Woode, and that’s another $400. Don’t buy top of the range just because the pros use them. They won’t magically help you break 100; only skill and practice does.

If you’re buying TaylorMade TP5 pix and hitting them into the water hazards every second shot…do you really want to waste all that dough when some Wilsons or Srixons sink just as well?

Going second hand

Unfortunately for some, there’s no shortage of full golf club sets available on the second-hand market. You can peruse some of your local pawn or second-hand shops such as Cash Converters (which might as well be second-hand pro shop sometimes), or even your local pro shop may have some second-hand options. Looking on Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace, or eBay are also good finds. Your local area may have some golf meetups or tournaments that attract second-hand vendors. If they aren’t 100% to your size, don’t worry – you can always get them fitted later.

Applying for a personal loan

If you are going golfing, you may be tempted to whip out the credit card, pay for the lot, and worry about everything later. You may also be thinking about using Buy Now, Pay Later services. The two are essentially the same – BNPL services such as AfterPay or ZipPay are linked to your credit card; and charge hefty fees if you ever miss a payment. Either way, you’re on the hook for interest, as personal finance expert and Savvy Managing Director Bill Tsouvalas explains.

“Buy now pay later services seem convenient and cheap – they tout no interest – but they often come with other fees, which is how they make their money. They take out equal payments from your credit card; with your bank hoping you won’t pay it all off before the end of the interest free period. If you only pay the minimum, it can leave you with a big interest bill. Taking out a personal loan is often the best and cheapest way to fund your new golf habit.

If you had a balance of $2,000 on your card and spent another $3,000 on gear, you’d have a total of $5,000 owing. Assuming a 19.99%p.a. interest rate, if you only paid the minimum each month you would be paying $19,294 in interest – that’s assuming you didn’t make any more purchases on the card.

If you took out a personal loan at 9.99%p.a. for $3,000 over three years, your monthly repayments would be the same as your credit card ($107 per month vs $104 for the credit card.) The interest you’d pay is a mere $844.

“Credit cards are revolving types of credit. Even if you pay off a balance to zero you’re still on the hook for annual fees and other fees. Every repayment you make on a personal loan means you’re closer to zero. Do the sums for yourself and see what sticks.”

Remember to consult a financial professional before making a decision.