Can You Fish On Golf Courses? (Is It illegal)

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Two of the best things that you can do on a warm summer day are golfing and fishing. The only bad part is if you have to choose between the two. Now, something that you might be thinking is that golf courses usually always have ponds that have fish in them, So, can you fish on golf courses or is it illegal to do so?

You are only allowed to fish on a golf course if you have been given permission to do so by the owner of the golf course. Golf courses are private property, which means that the owner of that private property dictates whether or not people can fish in their ponds during the day or night time.

How Do I Get Permission To Fish on A Golf Course?

golf course pond

The only way to get permission to fish on a specific golf course is to ask the greenskeeper if it is permitted. If the greenskeeper is not able to provide you with an answer, then the next best bet is to go ask the management of the golf course and the owner. 

The one and only way to get permission to fish on a golf course is to get permission from the owners themselves. 

This must be express consent, or in other words, if you don’t ask and get a definitive answer, then you cannot fish on a golf course.

This is really no different than pulling up to someone’s house and fishing in the pond in their backyard. It’s private property and that means that you need permission from the property owner. 

How Can I Find Golf Courses That Allow Fishing Near Me?

The only real way to find golf courses near you got allow fishing is with some good old trial and error. In other words, you simply have to call around and ask local golf courses if it is permitted to fish in their pond.

There may also be local websites and forums on this matter. The easiest thing to do is to use Google and to type in “golf courses that allow fishing near me”.

Google should be able to provide you with all of the info that you need on this matter. 

Do You Need a License to Fish on a Golf Course?

If what you are wondering is whether or not you need a special golf course fishing license, the answer is no.

Now, you do of course need your regular fishing license (don’t forget to take it with you), as it is not legal to go fishing without a fishing license, and this is true for both commercial and recreational purposes.

Although you do not need a special golf course fishing license, you do have to possess a regular fishing license. 

Best Baits & Lures for Golf Course Fishing 

What you need to keep in mind about golf course ponds is that they are generally fairly shallow and full of plants, rocks, and other obstacles.

This means that you need to cater your fishing gear to these circumstances. Let’s talk about some of the best baits and lures you can use for fishing in a golf course pond. 

1. Worms

Yes, worms made for great bait everywhere, not just out on the river or lake. When it comes down to it, worms are some of their best bait that you can use because fish absolutely love them.

They are alive, they are wriggling, they have a good smell to them and they just absolutely can’t get enough of him. Ponds aren’t deep either, so you can just set up a simple bobber and hook rig with a worm on the end.

Yes, real and live worms will work best, but plastic worms may work too, particularly those that come covered in an attractive scent. 

2. Grubs

Another good type of bait to use on a golf course is a grub. There tend to be plenty of insects around golf course ponds, mainly because golf courses have plenty of grass and nature for insects to thrive in.

Those golf course pond fish are accustomed to eating all sorts of insects, and therefore, a good bobber and hook combo with a fat grub on the end is a great way to go.

Of course, a real live grub is best, but plastic ones can work as well. 

3. Frogs

One of the absolute best types of bait or lure that you can use for golf course pond fishing is a frog.

It is quite inhumane to hook a live frog and to use it as fish bait, which is why many people opt for fake frog lures, although some do still use live frogs.

Whatever the case may be, golf course ponds are the perfect breeding grounds for frogs, and yes, fish love eating frogs, which therefore means that frogs make for great fishing bait in golf course ponds.

4. Topwater Lures – Fish

Yet another type of bait or lure that works well in golf course ponds is the topwater bait, specifically wobblers.

Topwater wobblers produce a whole lot of water movement, they are easy to see, and they sit on top of the water or right under the surface, thus minimizing the chances of getting your lure stuck in the weeds. 

5. A Crankbait

Another good option to go with here is the crankbait, a type of bait designed to produce a lot of vibrations and water movement, as well as to dive to a certain depth.

The cool thing about crankbaits is that you can find ones designed to dive to specific depths, and it all has to do with that lip on the front, and this means that you can find ones that work for specific pond depths. 

6. Spinners

The next great type of bait to use for golf course fishing is the spinner.

These ponds are generally quite open and have very little cover, thus making them ideal areas for spinnerbaits.

Golf course fish tend to be quite relaxed and will bite mostly anything that moves, making a super flashy spinner a great choice no doubt. 

7. Poppers

If you happen to be fishing at night, or you just want to attract a lot of attention, then a popper bait (best to go with a frog), can be very beneficial.

This type of bait creates a whole lot of noise, vibration, and water movement, therefore being a good option to entice fish that otherwise won’t strike at other baits and lures. 


Why do Golf Courses Have Ponds?

One reason why golf courses have ponds is simply that there was probably water there before and it was too expensive or difficult to move it out of the way.

Another reason why golf courses had ponds is simply that they look nice and add to the aesthetic appeal of the golf course.

The other reason is that they may actually be a part of the irrigation and water storage system. Instead of using large tanks, the water is just stored in the ponds.

Do All Golf Course Ponds Have Fish?

No, not all ponds on golf courses have fish, and in fact, this is generally only something that occurs in the southern states of the United States of America.

Although there are many golf courses and ponds throughout the world that have fish in them, this is not a rule of thumb.

Unless the pond is large enough to naturally house fish, unless the golf course itself stocks the pond with fish, then there are not going to be any.

How Deep are Golf Course Ponds?

Golf course ponds are generally only 10 or 20 feet deep, although some can be as deep as 40 feet.

Can You Eat Fish from Golf Course Ponds?

The unfortunate reality here is that you really should not eat any fish caught in a golf course pond.

Although those fish may be living in that pond, the fact here is that golf courses do in no way look after those ponds in terms of fish health.

Moreover, golf courses spray that grass with tons of pesticides and other chemicals that leach into the water.

All those fish might look tasty, but chances are that those pond fish are not healthy, and if they look healthy, their flesh may still contain chemicals that can harm you. 


The bottom line is that you can only fish on golf courses when you have been given permission to do so by the greenskeeper or owner of the golf course. Fishing on a golf course without permission is not allowed, and could end up getting you into trouble, and kicked out of the golf course.