During peak golf season in Greater Palm Springs, it’s wise to do a little bargain hunting before scheduling a game. Based on personal experience with apps and websites offering discounted play (and the slew of deal-hocking newsletters that flood my inbox, which I read so you don’t have to), I present five necessary smart-phone apps and sites that will ease the dent on your wallet when you plan your next afternoon on the links.
Part of the Golf Channel universe, Golf Now has been my go-to app for the last couple of years. It’s free to download, easy to navigate, and features close to every local course open to the public. The app stores payment details, so there’s never a lot of phone-fiddling required, and it charges only a small convenience fee at the time of booking — you pay the rest at the course. Plus, Golf Now offers “Hot Deals,” which are probably going to be the lowest prices you’ll ever find on Greater Palm Springs courses.
This new app, also free to download, is affiliated with the PGA Tour and differs from Golf Now by having no booking fees, “Every Course. Every Tee Time.” Tee Off features additional bargains for paying “Deal Pass” holders while offering a similar lineup of local courses to Golf Now.
Golf 18 Network
This national network compares to Golf Now and Tee Off in its offerings but is a website and not a smart-phone app. When time is not of the essence and you’re at home on your computer, Golf 18 makes booking a round on your favorite course as easy as a click. Plus, there’s a weather guarantee, and if the location happens to close for some desert version of a snowpocalypse, you’re covered.
Another website-only discount powerhouse, Under Par abides by the slogan, “Just Golf Deals.” Period. Discount packages are available during specified sale windows — for example, as I type out this story, there’s three days, nine hours, 12 minutes, and 23 seconds left on a featured stay-and-play opportunity. You pay the site, then work out tee time details (et cetera) with the host course or resort.
In addition to the aforementioned app, Golf Channel manages the Golf Advisor website, an appealing golf-meets-travel hub that also hosts excellent editorial content, from how-to posts to video interviews with pro players. For those in a “tourist” frame of mind, it’s the perfect starting point to planning a great golf getaway.
There are two times when I’ll go old-school and book directly through a course’s own website or by phone with the pro shop.
1. When my resident card scores cheaper rates than any app or website is able to provide. This is the case at some superlative courses such as Classic Club and Desert Willow. If you’re local and can qualify for one, be sure to keep your resident’s card in your golf bag.
What is a resident card? At Classic Club and Desert Willow, Palm Desert residents can receive reduced greens fees if they go through the respective procedures the courses require to prove Palm Desert residency (i.e., present utility bill and driver’s license, etc.). After going through those procedures, I now have a Resident Card to present at each course, to secure my cheap rates. How cheap? Right now, for example, I can play Desert Willow for $52 while non-residents are being charged upwards of $185.
2. After receiving an email blast with a hot tee-time special. For instance, I was recently staring down at a very tempting play rate offered by Cimarron Golf Resort on their excellent Boulder course. True, the same rate was on offer via Golf Now and Tee Off, but the email grabbed my attention first.