How to get the best tee times

  • Article by: SCOTT GILLESPIE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 7, 1997 - 11:00 PM

The Planner wakes up in a cold sweat just after dawn and stumbles toward the phone. The pressure's on. The Planner's golf buddies have entrusted him with the biggest responsibility of the week -- getting a Saturday morning tee time at the ever­popular Lush Acres.

The Planner knows that Lush Acres begins taking Saturday reservations at 6:30 Wednesday mornings, so he begins dialing the clubhouse phone at 6:29:30. No luck. The line is busy. For the next half hour, the Planner hits the redial button dozens of times before he finally connects with Tad, a chipper clubhouse employee who breaks the news: "Nothing available Saturday morning, but we can squeeze you in at 2."

The Planner declines the later spot, knowing that at least two of his partners have family obligations Saturday afternoon. "Maybe we'll play Lush Acres in late October," the Planner thinks.

A cherished tee time

Many Minnesota golfers can relate to the Planner. For most weekend players, securing a morning tee time is a challenge akin to hitting a 1­iron. It's hard to think of any business that turns down as many customers as a popular Minnesota golf course during the summer.

The morning weekend tee time is the holy grail because it allows a golfer to play 18 holes and still get home in time to enjoy other weekend activities during Minnesota's short summers, not to mention mowing the lawn and painting the garage.

Early­morning golfers find the greens in better condition and, generally, the pace of play is quicker because more experienced players are likely to hustle for early reservations. (The foursome of once­a­year hackers with a cooler full of beer typically doesn't tee off until after noon.)

Getting an early weekend tee time requires homework, persistence and sometimes a little luck. Expanding the list of courses you'll consider can help. And you might want to spend some money on a patron card or membership program that may give you an edge over the competition.

Minneapolis resident Scott Anderson plays less summer golf than he would like, in part because desirable weekend tee times are so hard to get. In addition, some of Anderson's friends have patron cards at Braemar Golf Course in Edina, where only city residents can buy the cards. Still, Anderson occassionally will drag himself out of bed to drive to Hiawatha Golf Club at 6:30 a.m. on a Wednesday to make a reservation for the following weekend.

Hiawatha, a city of Minneapolis course, requires that weekend reservations be made in person, and Anderson said it's not unusual for a line to form at 6:30 a.m.

"If you don't get the early tee time, you don't get out until 10 or 11. And by the time you're done playing, the whole day is shot and you're in the doghouse with your family," said the 38­year­old father of two.

The long drive

Unlike Anderson, many golfers are willing to traverse the metro area in search of the perfect tee time. At Baker National Golf Course in Medina -- one of the most popular Twin Cities courses -- 60 percent of those who play the course drive 25 minutes or more to get there, said Michael Turnbull, PGA head pro and course manager. And many do it every Saturday or Sunday.

For $80, golfers can buy one of 600 tee-time reservation cards sold by Baker National. This year, nearly all of the cards sold out in two days, Turnbull said.

The general public can make reservations three days in advance at Baker, which fills 75 percent of its available tee times each year. However, a tee-time cardholder gets one extra day, and for every card in your group you get another day. For example, a foursome with three cardholders can call for a tee time six days in advance.

The chances of a foursome with just one cardholder getting a prime weekend tee time are slim, Turnbull said, because many groups of cardholders stick together from year to year.

"We have a pretty loyal following," he explained.

"I wanted to create some value for this tee time card," he said. "It's a little bit cumbersome for us, because we get people calling us every day [for reservations]. But I think it creates more value for people. Just one card isn't going to get you on."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Tampa 6 FINAL
Philadelphia 2
LA Clippers 96 FINAL
Chicago 86
Cleveland 103 FINAL
Houston 105
Golden State 55 3rd Qtr 9:03
Boston 69
Philadelphia 46 3rd Qtr
Indiana 59
Portland 64 3rd Qtr
Sacramento 50
Charlotte 43 3rd Qtr
Orlando 42
Oklahoma City 34 2nd Qtr 9:23
LA Lakers 23
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Denver
Los Angeles 2 FINAL
Winnipeg 5
Tampa Bay 2 3rd Prd 8:40
Florida 4
Columbus 2 3rd Prd 11:47
Pittsburgh 5
Toronto 0 1st Prd 13:38
Washington 1
Anaheim 7:00 PM
Dallas
St. Louis 8:30 PM
Vancouver
SMU 73 FINAL
Connecticut 81
Quinnipiac 65 FINAL
Manhattan 69
Fairfield 56 FINAL
Niagara 57
Marist 49 FINAL
Rider 59
Iona 60 FINAL
Saint Peters 68
Oregon State 56 FINAL
California 73
South Florida 55 FINAL
Houston 72
Marquette 66 FINAL
Providence 77
Michigan State 61 FINAL
Wisconsin 68
Siena 57 FINAL
Monmouth 63
Pittsburgh 35 2nd Half
Wake Forest 37
Oregon 13 1st Half 11:25
Stanford 16
Purdue 6:30 PM
Ohio State
Arizona State 7:30 PM
Colorado
Washington St 8:30 PM
UCLA
Georgetown 66 FINAL
Providence 81
Binghamton 50 FINAL
UMBC 73
Elon 65 FINAL
Hofstra 58
Virginia Tech 47 FINAL
Boston College 49
(8) Louisville 59 FINAL
Virginia 75
Texas 69 FINAL
West Virginia 76
Creighton 53 FINAL
Villanova 61
Seton Hall 85 FINAL
Butler 76
UNC-Wilmington 76 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 65
(5) Maryland 69 FINAL
(25) Northwestern 48
Saint Josephs 67 FINAL
La Salle 55
Louisiana Tech 53 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 60
Rhode Island 70 FINAL
Massachusetts 78
Richmond 55 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 49
Davidson 46 FINAL
Fordham 54
St Bonaventure 43 FINAL
Duquesne 51
George Mason 45 FINAL
(22) George Washington 80
Indiana 60 FINAL
(20) Rutgers 71
(12) Texas A&M 63 FINAL
LSU 80
Ole Miss 47 FINAL
(11) Miss State 55
Clemson 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 61
Maine 47 FINAL
New Hampshire 61
Vermont 48 FINAL
Albany 76
Quinnipiac 87 FINAL
Monmouth 48
Saint Peters 47 FINAL
Siena 64
(4) Notre Dame 67 FINAL
NC State 60
Wisconsin 62 FINAL
Penn State 56
Stony Brook 49 FINAL
Hartford 56
Northeastern 47 FINAL
William & Mary 62
St Johns 61 FINAL
Xavier 74
James Madison 74 FINAL
Delaware 71
Towson 45 FINAL
Drexel 50
Illinois State 50 FINAL
Bradley 60
Southern Ill 74 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 70
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Wichita State 66
Minnesota 76 FINAL
(17) Iowa 92
(15) North Carolina 80 FINAL
(16) Duke 81
Alabama 73 FINAL
Auburn 80
(9) Florida State 69 FINAL
Miami-Florida 55
Arkansas 41 FINAL
Missouri 57
Georgia 52 FINAL
Florida 45
Dayton 95 FINAL
Saint Louis 68
Drake 57 FINAL
Missouri State 86
Colorado 46 FINAL
(10) Arizona State 59
(19) Stanford 55 FINAL
Oregon 62
Marquette 82 FINAL
DePaul 99
Southern Miss 66 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 60
Vanderbilt 49 FINAL
(6) Tennessee 79
(2) South Carolina 56 2nd Half 0:16
(13) Kentucky 67
Utah 41 FINAL
Arizona 64
Ohio State 78 FINAL
Nebraska 60
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close