Roughly 335 days ago, my dad dragged me into adulthood kicking and screaming. Finally, after several long months of personal finance training, the time had come to sign up for my first ever credit card.
It wasn’t so much that I didn’t understand the concept of credit than it was what credit represented. Credit cards are for old people — people who have their act together enough to pay bills and make adult purchases. I, on the other hand, decidedly did not have my act together.
I was 22 and still living with my parents just six months removed from graduation. I’d gotten along fine in college with cold hard cash and a trusty debit card (well, I was broke, but isn’t that part of the fun?). Minus my shiny new job at GOLF, I wasn’t measurably different from the person I’d been in college. Why on earth would I enroll in a credit card?
As my loving father — a 30-year financial services veteran — ever-so-kindly explained, I was entirely wrong. Cards aren’t one-size-fits-all, there are all types that fit all kinds of people, from the financially mortified (me) to the financially mindful.
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For savvy consumers, my dad explained, credit cards can even serve as memory-makers. Most cards accrue “points” when you spend money, which can be used on food, travel or shopping. Others offer unique “member” perks at concerts, live events and vacation destinations. This is likely not earth-shattering news for you, but rest assured, it was for me.
To illustrate his point, he pulled up a series of cards with built-in perks for golfers, from connections for cheap tee times all the way to tickets and discounts at major professional events. Today, a year later, the conditions are better than ever for cardholders. Americans’ savings have grown substantially over the last 12 months, and card companies are eager to snatch business, offering some of their best perks (and preapproval conditions) ever.
Whether it’s time for you to not-so-gracefully enter adulthood or merely a reason to grab hold of some great perks, make sure to check out these five credit cards made for golfers.
5 best credit cards for golfers
1) Chase Sapphire Preferred
Annual Fee: $95
There’s a reason the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is the preferred choice of golf fans everywhere. As the official card of the PGA Championship, Chase gives cardmembers highly discounted ticket prices, offers to super-luxe hotel and viewing experiences, and access to an exclusive, cardmember-only tent on the tournament grounds. Those looking to spend a bit more can apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card ($495 annual fee), which provides all the golf benefits of the Sapphire Preferred, but with enhanced food and travel perks.
2) American Express Platinum
It’s the most expensive card on the list, but that’s because it also lays claim to the widest breadth of benefits. Earn discounts at Hilton and Mariott hotels, 6x points back on travel and access to more than 1,300 airport lounges worldwide. As for the golf, members earn a host of benefits thanks to American Express’s partnership with the USGA. Platinum card members earn early access to U.S. Open tickets, discounts on merchandise and unique streaming packages.
3) PGA Tour Cash Rewards Mastercard
Annual Fee: Free
It might have the least non-golf utility of any card on this list, but the PGA Tour Cash Rewards Mastercard is the single-best *golf* credit card on the market. Once enrolled, you’ll earn three percent cash back on gas, two percent on dining and one percent on all other purchases you make with the card — but that’s just on the “regular” stuff.
Golfers earn two free tickets to a PGA Tour event of their choice if they make $95 in purchases in the first 90 days with the card. In addition, cardholders earn discounted greens fees, merchandise and exclusive opportunities at TPC Courses across the U.S.
4) American Express Gold
Annual Fee: $250
You’d be hard-pressed to find a better balance of value and payoff for the golf traveler in your life than the Amex Gold Card. With all the same USGA benefits listed above, Gold Card holders also receive gluttony of travel-related offers (from hotels and car benefits to 3x points back on travel-related purchases) for half the price of the Platinum Card. The biggest downside of the Gold Card is that (unlike the Platinum Card), users have to pay for access to American Express lounges in airports. Still, if you’re a sucker for a golf trip, it’s hard to go wrong by going Gold.
5) Mariott Bonvoy Boundless
Annual Fee: $95
If you’re a business traveler, you know the benefit of a Bonvoy card. Free nights, upgrades, and discounted stays are just some of the perks that join those who are frequently on the road. For golfers, the perks only grow through Marriott Golf Links — an extension of the Marriott Bonvoy Rewards programs. Earn points toward your Bonvoy rewards by booking tee times at associated Marriott course, or use your Bonvoy points to pay for your round or for golf instruction at the Mariott Golf Academies in Orlando and Palm Desert, Calif.