Slowly but steadily it’s becoming more common for golfers to book tee times online. Very convenient, because that way you can avoid having difficult phone conversations with French, Italian or Spanish receptionists whom you are trying to explain when you want to tee off. And no need to send e-mails anymore, which too often stay unanswered. We know, as we have been tracking this for years now. In the rare cases that you succeed to reserve your tee-time, you will often be asked to pass along all your credit card details to prevent a “no-show”. This is very unsafe and our only advice can be to never do this.
Leadingcourses.com is on a quest to make golf courses in Europe bookable online and to make life a lot easier for both golfers and golf clubs. Currently (end of August 2019) more than 440 golf clubs can be booked real-time online. The great thing is: you can select the best time slot, the best rate, check them quickly with your friends and secure your tee off time. All online!
Below we share some insider tips which might help you to book your next tee time online as well!
What to look for when booking a tee time online?
First of all you want to be sure that you have actually booked. Not every site is actually booking directly in the tee sheet of a golf club. Some pretend to book, but then have to contact the club by phone to check whether the tee time is really still available. This might result in a dissappointment – no tee times available, a different time or even a different day. This can be very annoying, especially if you are on a short golf break (a weekend) or you have to catch a plane.
At Leadingcourses.com, a real-time connection is made with the club’s agenda and that timeslot is reserved for a while until you pay. So you immediately know which tee times are still available and at what rate. The day of the week can make a big difference on your rate. Playing at the weekend can be much more expensive than on a weekday.
If we can we will indicate if you are being added to an existing flight or not and you can easily check if there are still tee times available around your selected tee time. Always nice to know if there is a four ball in front of you or a two ball behind you.
Play for a reasonable price
Many golf clubs use different rates per season. The summer period for example is low season for golf courses in Spain and Portugal. Because people are on a holiday with their family and due to the heat, you can play for quite attractive rates. When it’s hot, make sure to take enough water with you, use enough sun cream and hire a buggy!
If you book in time, you can often also choose an early bird (often before 9 a.m.) or twilight rate (often after 3 p.m.). Keep in mind that a twilight rate can mean that you might not be able to finish your round. Especially late in the year (October – December) you should be aware of that. So be in time when booking your tee time, because that can really save you a lot of money.
It can also be wise to book a buggy directly online. You can often find offers (green fee with a buggy) which are much cheaper than when you have to book a buggy on the spot. In some cases it might not possible to book a buggy online – like at Vale do Lobo – due to club policies. We can only advice clubs to offer them, but in the end the club decides. In the case of Vale do Lobo, availability of buggies is not an issue by the way.
Another tip is to check less popular areas. For example, golf courses above Lisbon are less expensive and often offer the same or higher value than courses in the Algarve. An area with exceptional good courses is Obidos, with West Cliffs, Praia d’El Rey and Royal Obidos. And the great thing is, they are all bookable online.
Some courses can be very expensive, like Finca Cortesin or La Reserva – Sotogrande. But, in most cases they offer real value for money. Just check the reviews. A buggy is almost always included – often with GPS -, free driving range balls, water, tees and the time between each flight can be 15 minutes compared to 5-7 minutes at a regular other course. That’s exactly why you pay more. The time between flights is very important and largely determines why you are paying a premium, aside from the high level of maintenance and the design/layout of the golf course.
Maintenance and dynamic prices
In August and early September, many golf clubs in the South of Europe are preparing their course for the high season, so expect many courses to be in maintenance mode (holow tining, etc.). This means you can often play at a reduced rate. But, bear in mind that there will be small holes in the green and they probably also sanded the greens. Sometimes a hole is completely skipped. But it’s a good opportunity to play a nice course at a reduced rate. The routing, the fairways, the service and the views ultimately are the same.
More and more clubs are starting to make use of dynamic pricing. The price of the green fee in that case is determined by the occupancy rate of the course, a bit like how it works when buying your flight ticket. Prices can change significantly. Clubs like Finca Cortesin and T Golf & Country Club are using this right now. At Finca Cortesin you can pay up to 305 euros, but this can drop to 170 euros if you keep a close eye on their prices.
Service is just as important as price
Always make sure that you book with a company that you can trust and which will respond quickly to issues or questions. Check sites such as Trustpilot and Facebook to see what other people think of the service. At Leadingcourses.com we strive to answer your questions within a few hours, we keep a close look at tee time issues during the weekend and you can always reach us by mail or Facebook messenger. During the week you can call us as well.
We also offer a cancellation option for just 5 euros extra – applicable at most golf courses – which will enable you to cancel free of charge up to 48 hours before your tee time. When you cancel, you will be refunded your green fee and the 5 euros in full. Very nice if the weather changes or if you don’t want to go for some reason (illness, accident or anything else), no question asked!
Tee times available in most popular golf countries
It’s already possible to book a tee time online at most golf courses in Spain, Portugal and France. We are adding more bookable clubs every week, so make sure to come back regularly. We also offer tee times online in the Czech Republic, Italy, Belgium and Germany. Ireland, Scotland and England will soon be added. Check all bookable golf courses now in Europe and impress your friends!