Tee Time in Golf – What is it & How To Book A Tee Time? (Beginners Guide)

It’s a beautiful day outside, and you and your friends are looking to play a round of golf. You find some old, beat up clubs in the garage and you all pile into the car and drive to your local course.

When you get to the course, you notice that it is packed, and there is a long line of carts waiting by the first tee.

You all decide to try going in any way and walk in the front door. “Can we get out?“ you ask..

I’m sorry but our next available tee time is in two hours”… You reluctantly grab your clubs and walk back to the car.

I see this at least, three times a day at our local golf courses, where I work. The worst part is, this situation could all have been avoided if they just would have called ahead to book their tee time!

But what am I supposed to say when booking? I don’t like talking on the phone – can you do it online?

Don’t worry; I’m going to teach you how to book a tee time and what you need to know beforehand that might save you some of money and time!

What is a Tee Time in Golf?

A tee time is a set date and time that you and the course have agreed upon for when you will tee off your first hole.

Golf courses get very busy at times, so it is always good to get a tee time before you decide to go out and play.

Most tee times are spaced out between 6, 8, 10 or 12 minutes depending on how much traffic the course has.

Tee times are usually available at all public golf courses for people to book.

Private courses require a membership and often have their own methods for generating tee times for their members.

Tip: To learn more about the different types of golf courses and what to expect, read my article here!

Tips Before Booking Your Tee Time

Before booking your tee time, make a finalized schedule for WHO is all playing, WHICH day and time you will be playing and WHAT course you will play.

It is essential to be organized and prepared before you get to the course so that you can tee off at the right time and have a smooth golf round.

By knowing information about the location of the course and where the pro shop is located, you will be prepared to tee off on time.

You can find the location of your desired course by looking at the course’s website. Here, you can see the phone number and address, so you’ll know exactly where you are going.

Also, check the course’s website for deals or discounts on when you should play. More on this later!

1) Double Check

Always double-check your golf bag before you are going to a golf course.

Make sure all of your clubs, golf balls, and golf accessories are ready to go before you get to the course so you can feel organized and have plenty of time before your tee time.

Tip: If you feel unprepared for your round, check out my recommended products page to make sure you have all of the golfing essentials!

2) Know the Weather Conditions

If there is a chance for storms or rain, it is good to know the course’s RAINCHECK policy in case of inclement weather (if you’re a brave golfer and want to play in the rain, make sure you have all of the proper rain gear!

A rain check policy is the golf course’s way of saying, “Sorry you couldn’t finish your round, here is a voucher that you can bring back on another day to finish the holes that you missed.”

Some golf courses offer prorated rain checks, and others give a 9-hole rain check if there is bad weather.

Most of the policies are either written in the pro- shop or located on the course’s website.

What is the Best Time To Book a Tee Time?

Alright, so you’ve done your research and have chosen the course you want to play. Great!

Deciding on the right time, however, is very important when choosing to play a round of golf.

Golf course’s host a variety of tournaments, leagues and outings during their season and it is best to know, WHEN, you should book your tee time and WHAT times you should usually avoid.

Time to Avoid

  • Weekdays – from 6:00 A.M to 11:00 A.M and 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm there are usually leagues playing at most public courses
  • Early Morning on Weekends – Many courses have outings or tournaments on weekends, so it is best to either call into the pro shop and ask if there are any events during the weekend or look on the course’s website for a schedule.

Best Time To Play

Most public courses have a lot of open tee times from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM during the weekdays and after 2:00 PM on Weekends

Note: These times are typically found only during the golf season, which may vary depending on your state.

How To Book a Tee Time?

Alright, now let’s take a look at how to book your tee time in golf:

1) Calling the Pro Shop

Calling the pro shop is the oldest, and still, the most effective way to book a tee time.

When you call the pro shop you need to tell the pro shop attendant the following:

  1. The date and time that you would like to play
  2. Name
  3. How many golfers you are going to have
  4. How many holes you are going to play

The pro shop attendant may ask for an email or credit card number to hold the spot (don’t worry, they won’t charge you unless you no-show or don’t call to cancel).

Your tee time is then saved on the tee sheet! Simple as that!

Note: If you are a twosome, the attendant may pair you up with another twosome if the course is busy. If you are a single golfer, you may be paired up with a twosome or threesome.

2) Booking Tee Time Online

The newest way to book tee times is online

The most popular website to use (and my recommendation) is GolfNow.

GolfNow allows you to search your local golf courses and allows you the opportunity for some significant savings on green’s fees or cart fees.

GolfNow does take a small percentage of money when you book, but the savings usually is worth it compared to the course’s standard rates.

It is best to create an account and sign up to receive emails where you will have access to more great deals.

book on GolfNow

  1. Search which course you want to play in the search menu
  2. Put in the time you desire and date
  3. Select the number of players in your group
  4. Select the number of holes you want to play
  5. Name of the person booking the tee time
  6. (Depending on the rate) Pay for your round online
  7. Print your receipt to bring to the golf course.

After you book, your tee time will show up on the course’s tee sheet at the time you chose and with the number of players you selected.

GolfNow is becoming bigger and bigger and is offering all sorts of course promotions and options for booking tee times so look out for those!

A few disclaimers:

  • If you are a single golfer or twosome, you may be paired with other GolfNow golfers who are booking for the same course at the same time.
  • Booking “Hot deals” are the only times where you don’t have to pay any money at the course.
  • It is best to bring a receipt of your purchase to the course as it shows what you owe for the course. Errors occasionally occur, and it’s good to have records of your payment to explain to the proshop just in case.

GolfNow is best when you want to find the best rate for a certain day as you can compare many different courses for the same time frame.

Book on Course Websites

You can also book tee times on specific course websites. This is a great way to see all of the tee times that are available at a course on a given day.

GolfNow only displays the tee times that the course WANTS to allow, while the schedule on the course’s website will usually show ALL of the openings throughout the day.

As mentioned earlier, you can also look for deals on the course’s website that you can use to get a discount on your round.

As a manager of a course, we sometimes will have discounted rates throughout the day that we post on our website that people can come out and play at the lower prices.

What To Do When You Arrive At The Course?

Great, so we have booked our tee time, gathered some friends and are on the way to the course. Now what?

Look for signs or markers directing you to the GOLF PRO SHOP.

The pro shop is where you will check in, drop off your bag (if they have a bag drop) and get all squared away to start your round.

1) Arrive Early (15 Minutes Before)

It is imperative you show up early for your tee time so that your group can have enough time to prepare and get ready before teeing off of the first hole.

Showing up early also helps the pro shop staff stay organized. When the course is organized, the golf staff can best assess your groups’ golfing needs and keep up the pace of play for the course.

Tip: Learn more about keeping the pace of play.

Some golf courses may tell you; you cannot play if you show up right at your tee time, so it is imperative that you show up early and are ready to play!

2) Check-In

After you have located the pro shop, you will be asked what time your tee time is and the name of the person who booked the time.

Tell the attendant how many holes you are playing and the location of the others in the group so that the course knows when everyone is ready to tee off. 

Next, pay for your round or if you booked online, show your receipt to the pro shop attendant so that you can spend the agreed upon rate that you booked.

After payment, you will then be either given a scorecard, cart key or directions to the first hole so your group can tee off.

Remember to keep your receipt for the hole starter!

If you have any questions about the course, feel free to ask the staff. Most are very friendly, like me ????

3) Tee Off

Now that you have checked in and have some time to spare.

Take your time getting situated by getting food, preparing your golf cart, practicing on your short game, using the driving range or shopping in the pro shop.

When it is your time to go up to the tee, you will either here an announcement over the loudspeaker, or the starter will direct you to the first tee (hand them your receipt).

Now, gather your friends and prepare for a fun golf round without the stress of being rushed or unprepared


Booking a tee time is the best way to reserve a time on the golf course you want to play. Remember to utilize the internet and use services such as GolfNow, or the course’s website to find discounted rates!

Always show up early for your tee time so you can have plenty of time to practice and prepare for your round.

This also helps the golf course run more efficiently and keeps a good pace of play for other golfers.

If you are a brand new golfer or you are just getting started in the game, take a look at my article here! In this article, I go over everything you need to know “before” you tee off!

Now you know how to book your tee time!

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