When booking tee times, be aware that many resort courses give preference,
or even exclusive access, to resort guests. This may affect your accommodation plans,
since you may decide it's worth staying at the resort to play a particular course, or courses.
Course(s) First, Accommodations Second
As a general rule resorts, especially those with quality golf courses,
are expensive. But all in all, if golf is a main purpose or highlight of your trip,
decide where you want to play first, then decide on accommodations. We've
had vacations where we've stayed at a hotel to gain access to a course or
courses and then moved to a less expensive hotel a day or two later. It's an
inconvenience to have to repack and move during the trip, but can be well worth
it in order to play top courses while not spending the entire vacation at posh resort prices.
Book Tee Times As Far Ahead As Possible
Even if you are staying at a resort hotel which gives you access to its courses,
find out how far ahead of your arrival date you can book tee times. All courses
have specific rules for when they will make tee times, which you should take
note of and follow carefully. Some courses even have specific times you must
call to reserve your time (e.g., between 7 and 9 a.m. on the Thursday eight
days before the weekend you wish to play), though most guidelines are usually more
general (e.g., a week before you wish to play or up to sixty days ahead). Book
as far as ahead as possible, especially for high demand courses. Even as a
resort guest, if the course is popular, you may be out of luck if you wait until
a few days before arrival or check-in time to get a tee time (e.g., Pinehurst #2).
Tee Times for Singles
Tee times for singles are generally somewhat easier to get than those for two
or more players, since many courses will work singles in with parties of fewer than
four golfers. A few places, though not many, will actually give singles a set
tee time - so the down side is you can be told when to arrive but not exactly
when you'll go out (though it usually doesn't take too long to get worked in).
This means, too, that you may find a single added to your party on occasion
when you play a popular course.
Booking Winter Tee Times
During the winter months (which mean shorter days), keep in mind that it's
tough to get tee times after 1p.m. since courses want players to allow plenty
of time to play through before dark. The shortened days mean fewer available
tee times, even in the relatively warmer climes, so remember
to plan ahead.