3 things to try when your local golf course is always busy

Is your home course always busy? Here are a few things that can help.

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The global pandemic has prompted a huge surge in interest the game for newcomers. That’s great news for the golf industry, but not so much if you want to snag a last-minute tee-time yourself. Enter golf’s resident mid-range handicaps, who who are here to offer some helpful advice, golfer-to-golfer.

1. Set reminders to check for last-minute tee-times

Tim Reilly (11.4 handicap): It appears everyone has decided to take golf up as a hobby these days. Tee sheets are more full than ever on the muni-circuit. I’ve learned the days and times slots open up for several of my regular courses to try and secure tee times. Set alarms to give yourself the best chance possible.

Make sure to follow-up with courses for last minute openings, too. Everyone is in the same boat as you struggling to grab tee times. That means people are grabbing tee times for the sake of having tee times without even knowing if their group can play, or if someone else in their group already snagged a time elsewhere. I’ve had a lot of luck this year checking with courses a day before or even the day of and grabbing a canceled tee time.

2. Try just showing up it (it’s risky but it can work)

Josh Berhow (17.1 handicap): Don’t be afraid to venture out and explore new courses and meet new people. Also, unless you’re playing somewhere that’s just ridiculously busy, most places are usually pretty good at trying to get you on if you just show up (but a call to the pro shop beforehand never hurts). Other options are to find a range or practice area or practice putting green at some sort of facility or at the course you’re trying to get onto. If you practice the right way (which I sometimes do!) it goes a long way, even though it’s not as fun as teeing it up for 18.

3. Don’t be afraid to venture out

James Colgan, (17.2 handicap): I live on Long Island, so I wasn’t aware there was an alternative to my local course always being busy (kidding…kinda).

It absolutely sucks to have the desire and willingness to play, but no venue. In recent weeks, even the driving range has gotten too crowded to find a booth.

I’ve found the important thing is to focus on flexibility and availability. Be willing to go to courses other than your ‘home course’ when things are busy. Be willing to play at random times, or with complete strangers, or as a single. Be willing to play courses that aren’t the ‘best’ course in the area. These are small things you can do to keep yourself sane (and scratch that golf itch) while still getting out to play.

Tim Reilly headshot

Golf.com Editor

Reilly is GOLF’s social-media editor. In September 2017, he took over the reins to the brand’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages. He manages GOLF’s short- and long-term social strategy and produces social video content. Beyond the social space, he contributes to GOLF.com and GOLF Magazine as a writer. His ranking of the best golf scenes in Seinfeld is his magnum opus.

Josh Berhow

Golf.com Editor

Josh Berhow is the managing editor at GOLF.com. The Minnesota native graduated with a journalism degree from Minnesota State University in Mankato. You can reach him at joshua_berhow@golf.com.

James Colgan

Golf.com Editor

James Colgan is an assistant editor at GOLF, contributing stories for the website and magazine on a broad range of topics. He writes the Hot Mic, GOLF’s weekly media column, and utilizes his broadcast experience across the brand’s social media and video platforms. A 2019 graduate of Syracuse University, James — and evidently, his golf game — is still defrosting from four years in the snow, during which time he cut his teeth at NFL Films, CBS News and Fox Sports. Prior to joining GOLF, James was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from.