Following on from my previous post about how I have taken up archery, I think I should probably go into a little more depth regarding how much it costs and the time required, as that can be the deciding factor for many people when deciding whether to take up a new hobby or not.
Firstly, the beginners course itself, which is all that is required initially. This cost £30 for five 2-hour sessions, inclusive of equipment hire, which I think is brilliant value for money! This took place between 7pm and 9pm on a Friday evening in five consecutive weeks.
Once training is complete, you can opt in to become a full member of the club, which currently costs £120 per year for adults (£10.50 per month if paid via standing order), which allows you to shoot as much as you want within the specified dates and times, for no additional cost.
Note that some clubs will charge a fee on top of membership for each session you attend, but my club doesn’t have this extra charge.
The shooting times (for the outdoor season) are Thursday and Friday 6-9pm, Saturday 1.30-4.30pm and Sunday 10am – 1pm, every week.
You will also require Archery GB/ G.N.A.S. membership to be able to shoot, which is currently £50 per year for adults, but membership is paid for (Free!) by the club for Juniors.
Now, to the equipment, the fun stuff! The club recommended you rent equipment to begin with, which allows you to ascertain what bow is likely to suit you and also to spread costs over several months. The club maintains a variety of weight bows to suit any archer, alongside this the current members can give you opinions and often have second hand equipment for sale. The equipment hire costs £30 for 12 weeks, although you get 50% (£15) back at the end of this provided you haven’t broken anything!
To summarize, to complete the beginners course and an additional 3 months would cost the following:
£30 Beginners Course
£10.50/month Club Membership Fee
£4.20/month GNAS Membership (Average)
£30 (£15) Equipment Hire (£15 back assuming you don’t break it!)
Total Cost = £89.10, plus £14.10 per month after this (Cheaper than a gym!)
Buying your own equipment
This is where the costs can really start to mount up if you are not careful! Typically you will require the following items:
Arrows (Minimum of 6 recommended, typically 8)
Chest Guard (Women)
Now you can spend a range of money to get these items, all the way from ~£100 kits to ~£1000+, although the members of the club recommend going to your local archery shop and asking the opinion of the shopkeeper and having a try of a few bows and kit etc. to make sure it suits you.
In order to get the best value in the long term it is often recommended to go cheap in some areas, but not in others. It is typically advised to spend slightly more on a riser, as this is the core of the bow, and should last many years if it is of a good quality. On the other hand things like stringers, bow stands and arm guards, cheap is almost as good as the expensive items as they all perform the same function.
Limbs are subjective, although it is likely you will want to change them after not long, especially once you muscles get used to pulling back a bow. This is one of the reasons why the club rents bows, and why members often recommend getting cheaper risers until your draw weight has settled.
I would say a typical kit for a member who is taking the sport seriously would cost in the region of £250-£300. It is best to avoid the very cheap kits as they are unlikely to be any good and will probably not last a great deal of time!
Assuming you have spent around £300 on your own equipment, the first year of archery will cost around £500 in total, with each year after costing significantly less! Alternatively staying with renting clubs bows will drop the price substantially if cost is an issue (1 year cost of around £260).