in case a cat fight breaks out, I am actually going to offer some insight - at least based on what I have learned, read or observed over my relatively short time here ( 4 years compared to 10 years spent by others)... regarding RG's, I did look into roi for RG in this thread... still remains a hard way to earn credits.
We who choose to still play it are their income source.
there is little doubt to that...
the top players even feed off those naïve enough to think they can offset years of experience with buying the same clubs and hoping they can compete.
it can get expensive and it can take time to learn the clubs once you obtain them. fortunately you can offset those costs by watching 2 credit videos - it is easier than trying to win the credits against multi accounts and restarters in the lower tiers.
you seem to be fairly new to the game, so weigh your options carefully.
if you are looking at the game as a competitive venture - then it can be a long and challenging road.
if you are looking to socialize and enjoy the company of others it can be relaxing and enjoyable, albeit still cost thousands of credits to play depending on the choices you make. but don't venture into competitive arena spending credits you will never see again, you are throwing them away -- unless you have invested sufficient time and effort to prepare for the challenging conditions and competition you will face.
don't buy into the delusional idea that time alone and learning the game alone will have you winning credits to cover your cost to play without investing either time spent doing 2 credit videos and or money for better clubs that will allow you to compete with others.
it is a select group that never spend any of their own money or click through thousands of 2 credit videos to cover the cost of playing. they actually want you to enter the tournaments and RG's where they clean up credits so they can continue playing for free.
beware - you can even "win earnings" while losing credits due to ball use and entry fee. don't be misled though - you are losing credits even when your earnings go up unless you elevate your game to among some of the better players in the game and choose carefully what events you enter.
my suggestion would be.... load up the starter gear and starter ball - in fact play it for absolutely as long as possible until you actually unlock clubs that are worth the investment of your hard earned credits...
if you can learn to manage playing a ranked round under par with starter clubs and ball off your tees, then chances are you are also capable of learning more how to get the most out of higher end clubs because you are already thinking course management and learning how to putt.
if you take shortcuts (like getting clubs early to make the game easier) and try to buy clubs to cover up for weaknesses that will eventually be revealed in poor course management and poor putting, then it won't be long and you will be frustrated again with the cost of the game.
-- tread carefully, it can be enjoyable but I won't tell you there is not a cost associated with playing either.
I would wager that 99.99% of the people that play are paying with their money or watching ad videos so others can play for free and the company can pay it's employees. It is a business and it is not new to the tech industry - virtually any new game or app has built in micro transactions to keep you playing or spending money.