I've never really understood the constant comparisons of mountain biking to golf. NB I do both, I've been a plus handicap and play off five now. If you add up hours I'd easily play more golf than ride, as well, it's easier to spend four hours playing golf than riding my mountainbike for four hours.
That said, the thing with golf is, you can play with someone who is rubbish/new, and it doesn't really affect your game, sure there's probably a bit more time spent looking for balls, but that's about it. Riding on the other hand, if you're the least fit in the group, or technically not as proficient, it can suck for you, and the others.
Of course there is plenty of gear with golf, I have remote controlled trundler! But whilst I'm lucky enough have to have nice equipment, I hate changing stuff. My brother on the hand, who is pro, loves to have different stuff, almost weekly it seems. But the bottom line is, he could play with stuff that's ten years old and it wouldn't matter. Golf has pretty tight restrictions on tech, so it really hasn't changed in two decades, despite what manufacturers might tell you. Also you don't really wear the clubs out, save for the sand wedges. So you can turn up with older gear and school anyone with the latest and greatest.