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MasterCard’s Priceless Golf: Unforgettable Experiences for You and Me or a Promotion for the One Percent?

April 16, 2014
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If you’re an avid golfer or know someone who is, you may have heard about MasterCard’s new Priceless campaign, Priceless Golf. This initiative gives MasterCard users discounted access to special golf experiences, including lessons, tickets to big tournaments and opportunities to play on some of the most exclusive courses in the country.

But is Priceless Golf a promotion that average card users can afford to take advantage of, or is it only for the elite? Take a look at the Nerds’ assessment below to decide if Priceless Golf is right for the duffer in your life.

More about Priceless Golf

If you have a MasterCard and live in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles or Miami, you may be familiar with the company’s Priceless Cities program, which brings special access to local events to cardholders. Priceless Cities provides card members with shopping, entertainment, dining, sporting and travel deals in their local communities — it’s almost like a Groupon for MasterCard users, although the discounts on activities and experiences aren’t as steep.

The success of Priceless Cities inspired MasterCard to branch out into other interest-specific markets with its Priceless campaign, which led to the creation of Priceless Golf. Priceless Golf provides MasterCard customers with a variety of exclusive golf events and experiences, including:

  • Discounts on lessons at elite courses
  • Access to the Priceless Golf Academy, a one-day instructional event. In 2014, this event took place on March 31 at the Sherwood Country Club in Sherman Oaks, Calif.
  • PGA player experiences at TPC courses around the country
  • Access to TPC courses around the country for a day of play (note that these experiences are only available on certain days and must be booked in advance)
  • Complimentary ground tickets to PGA Tour tournaments

If you have a World or World Elite MasterCard, you’ll have even more golf perks at your fingertips:

  • Access to private golf clubs nationwide – you can even book a tee time to fit your travel schedule
  • Resort course access
  • VIP TOURAcademy perks to improve your game

Unlike Priceless Cities, Priceless Golf isn’t meant to be location-specific. Golf enthusiasts can browse experiences all over the country, and perhaps plan travel around available events.

Joining the MasterCard Golf Club online is the best way to stay in the loop about Priceless Golf opportunities; members will get emails about special events, deals on lessons and equipment, and last-minute tournament ticket availability. As an added bonus, weekly emails with golf tips from professionals will be sent to Golf Club subscribers.

#PricelessSurprises: Golf edition

To expand the reach of its Priceless promotions, MasterCard introduced Priceless Surprises on Jan. 26, 2014. Priceless Surprises are, as the name implies, unexpected events, prizes or celebrity meetings awarded to MasterCard users. All MasterCard customers are in the running for a Priceless Surprise, but the company also encourages card users to use the hashtag #PricelessSurprises to promote this perk. Since the introduction of Priceless Surprises, MasterCard has awarded more than 25,000 surprises to unsuspecting card users.

With Priceless Golf, the Priceless Surprises initiative is expanding. MasterCard users are also eligible to win golf-related Priceless Surprises, including free gear, visits from professional golfers or on-the-spot prizes at PGA tours. For some examples of golf-specific Priceless Surprises from the 2014 Arnold Palmer Invitational, check out this video.

Experiences may be priceless, but they’re definitely not free

All serious golfers know that the sport is expensive to indulge in – equipment and club memberships are pricey, so it’s no wonder that the game is often thought of as a pastime for CEOs, lawyers and the like.

Unfortunately, Priceless Golf doesn’t do much to make the sport truly affordable. Although the experience discounts offered to MasterCard users will benefit people who regularly pay full price for lessons or tournament tickets, average golf enthusiasts will probably still balk at the prices.

For example, if you live in Scottsdale, Ariz., and want to take advantage of a private lesson at your local TPC course, you’ll still have to cough up at least $125 per hour if you book through Priceless Golf. You’re getting a 20% discount off of the full price of the lesson, but this is an undoubtedly expensive way to spend an hour.

Still, if you’re looking to splurge on the golf lover in your life with a special, one-time experience, you might be able to get a deal on an event that would have been completely unaffordable otherwise. For example, the 2014 Priceless Golf Academy in Sherman Oaks was a day-long event that cost $300. While that certainly wasn’t cheap, attendees were part of a clinic led by U.S. Open winner Curtis Strange, plus they had the opportunity to hone their skills on one of the most beautiful golf courses in the country. Any golf enthusiast would be thrilled to attend an event like this, and Priceless Golf made it possible for a price within the realm of possibility for regular folks to afford.

The bottom line: MasterCard’s Priceless Golf campaign is an opportunity for golf lovers to gain access to special experiences nationwide, as well as a chance to win a golf-related Priceless Surprise. While most of the events are still expensive, if you comb through them you might find something affordable for a special occasion.

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