Best Times to Play Golf in the U.S

Looking for the best time to enjoy your round? Throughout my past 20 years of both playing golf and working in the industry, I have learned what times are best to play and what times to avoid. This includes different seasons and different locations throughout the U.S! But before we dive into my recommended tee times to play, I want you to know how I determined that these are the best. 

  1. I took into consideration the pace of play and how most golfers would like to keep moving at their speed out on the course.
  2. I looked at the weather patterns for both Northern and Southern courses
  3. I made sure to note common times where leagues play throughout the country

You don’t have to listen to me! By all means, book your tee times for whichever times work best for you or your group. Maybe you don’t mind playing with strangers? Or perhaps you are just trying to kill time and don’t care how long the round takes? This post is only a reference for those looking to avoid the pack and get the most out of their golf rounds during the different seasons.

Summer Season

For over half of the country, summer is the best time to play golf! There is more extended daylight and more time to get in your rounds. The question, however, is, what time is best to play? Much of the summer tee times are given to leagues and outings, so we have to take into consideration several factors when trying to find that perfect tee time.

  1. Avoiding the hottest parts of the day
  2. Playing your round with great pace of play
  3. Which day you are trying to play (weekend or weekday?)
  4. Does the course have any leagues that play in the morning or afternoon?
  5. Do you mind getting paired up with another group?

Taking all of these factors into consideration, I have outlined the best times to play golf throughout the summer days!

Early Bird

If you are an early riser and you want to avoid the hottest times of the day and finish your round in good time, you are going to want to play golf in the early morning and finish your round before 2:00 pm. Playing in the heat can be brutal depending on which state you are in!

Northern States: For northern states, the best time to play golf is around 8:00 A.M. Playing golf at 8:00 allows you to finish fast enough to beat the heat and have a quick round as there are not many people on the course yet. If you play too early, there will be copious amounts of dew on the course and maintenance workers mowing the grass which is why playing at 8:00 is right in the sweet spot! Just remember to call into the pro shop to see if they have any golf leagues in the morning so you can play!

Southern States:  Booking a tee time in southern states can be a bit more competitive because of how hot temperatures can get. Because of this, it’s best to book your tee time around 7:00-7:30. The heat soon dries up the course from the morning dew, and the open course will have you finishing your round before 1:00 pm!

Afternoon Riser

If you are a late sleeper and the heat doesn’t bother you, you are going to want to avoid booking your tee time between 8:30 and 11:00 A.M. This is the busiest time for most golf courses in the summer! The pace of play would be slower during this time, and your rounds might take longer than you wish. So the best time to book in the afternoon would be around 1:00 P.M. This allows the large cluster of groups in the morning to finish their rounds and exit the course to free up a lot of playing room. Golf leagues usually start around 4:00 on weekdays during the summer so there will be plenty of time for you to make the turn before they tee off!

Twilight

If you missed the boat for playing in both the morning and afternoon, maybe twilight golf is more for you! What is twilight golf? Twilight golf is a specific time that is discounted and is allowed on days where courses don’t have leagues or is allowed directly following the leagues on weekdays at lower rates! The best time to play twilight is slightly after 7:00 pm after leagues. At courses that don’t have golf leagues, the best time to play twilight is 5:00 P.M. Playing at these times allows you to skip the twilight rush but still be able to get in your round at a comfortable pace! Remember to call ahead to book your tee time in case the course has an outing or other activities going on that day.

Spring/ Fall

Ahh, the weather is finally cool enough to enjoy the whole day playing golf! Playing in the spring or fall can be very relaxing and refreshing. We have to take into consideration these factors before making our tee time:

  1. How does the weather look (possible rain or snow?)
  2. Could there be a frost delay in the morning?
  3. Are there leaves on the ground? (late fall or early spring)
  4. What time is the sunset?

Having been working in the golf industry for many years, I have narrowed down the best times to play during the transitional seasons!

Early Bird

If you want to play early golf in the fall or spring, you are going to want to look up the weather forecast the day before you play. Any amount of frost on the course will cause a delay and causes a back up of tee times. The best early time I have found to play in the fall or spring is right around 11:00 pm. This is the sweet spot to where the weather starts to warm up, and you can play a full round with good pace of play.

Afternoon Riser

Because there is less daylight, it is best to play golf around 2:00 in the spring or fall if you prefer to book a time later in the afternoon. This allows you to play a full 18 before the sunsets and still enjoy your round. The good news is that there are far fewer leagues playing in the spring or fall which means more room and times available!

Winter

For the lower half of the country, winter time is the busy season! All of the snowbirds head down south and many golf leagues and outings are held. If you are one of those who keeps playing in winter, make sure you consider these factors before booking your tee time:

  1. What time does the sunset?
  2. What is the weather look like?
  3. Does the course have golf leagues?

After working for multiple years at courses down south and have played many rounds to escape the cold, I have narrowed down the best times to play golf during the winter!

Early Bird

The sun rises a bit later during the winter, usually around 7:30 A.M. This means that the best time to play would be around 8:30 A.M. Most of the morning leagues start around 10:00 and if there are no leagues, everyone is fighting for that same time slot. Why not avoid the rush and have a nice peaceful round? If you are worried about the cold weather in the mornings, take a look at my article here for some cold weather playing tips and apparel options!

Afternoon Riser

The sun sets around 5:30-6:00 P.M during the winter months making it harder to get in a full round later in the afternoon. From personal experience, I would recommend booking tee time around 1:00 to make sure that you can get in a full round. Usually, at this time, all or the morning leagues have cleared out, and the courses are wide open. Again, check with the pro shop before booking to make sure the course is available to the public.

What About Weekends?

Most of this post has been about the best tee times to avoid leagues and to avoid times of high traffic. Do these times suggested include weekends too? Yes! These times also work on the weekends! You should, however, take in the following factors:

  1. Does the course have any outings or tournaments?
  2. What type of golf course are you playing at? (Learn more about different courses here)
  3. Are there any special deals or rates that you can take advantage of?

Because most people don’t work, weekends can be jam-packed at public golf courses. So make sure you book your tee time several weeks in advance if you want to avoid being paired up or have a slower round!

Conclusion

I hope the times listed in this post will help make your golfing experience more enjoyable! Whether you are a morning person or someone who likes to play later in the evening, knowing what times are better than others can help make the most out of your round! Always keep in mind the following factors before deciding to book:

  1. What’s the weather forecast?
  2. Does this course have leagues and when?
  3. Are you looking for a fast round?

Answering these three questions and using this post as a guide will allow you to find the best possible time for you and your group!

If you are looking for more questions on what you may need to know before playing the course, read my beginning golfers survival guide here!

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