Are Tee Times Required to Play Golf?

The tee time policy at golf courses varies from course to course across the golf world. So the answer to the question, "do you have to have a tee time to play golf" is: sometimes. Let's go into detail about when tee times are required and when they aren't.

First, if you're a beginner to golf, you need to understand what a tee time is: It's a reservation for a specific time at which your round of golf begins. If you reserve at tee time for 10 a.m., that means that at 10 a.m. you should be hitting your first drive. And that means getting to the golf course long enough before 10 a.m. to check in, pay, and, if you desire, to warm up or even get some practice in.

How do you get a tee time? Start by visiting a golf course's website or calling the golf course to find out its tee time policy.

And the tee time policy brings us back to the original question: Are tee times required?

On that count, golf courses fall into three categories:

  1. Those that require a tee time and won't let golfers without one play;
  2. Courses that make tee times available, allowing golfers who want one to get one, but don't require golfers to have them.
  3. Courses that do not provide tee times, where golfers play in the order in which they show up.
Again, whether a golf course requires you to have a tee time to play is entirely a decision of each course's management. Which means it is the responsbility of golfers to find out the tee time policy of any golf course we are playing, particularly ones we haven't played before.

Never just show up at a golf course assuming you can get on. Always check the course's website or call ahead to ask about the tee time policy.

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