Tee-time gluttons beware, you’re being watched.
Courses in the area are discovering a new phenomenon: golfers who reserve tee times at more than one course - for the same time - and then leave one reservation unused.
Four other frustrated golfers, meanwhile, sit home polishing their putters because they were told that all tee times were booked.
“Someone will book a tee time at both the Canyon and Qualchan and wait until the last minute to decide where they want to go, leaving us with a pattern of no-shows,” said Mike Stone, Spokane city golf manager. “We’re developing a small list of people who we’ve found doing that.”
Stone is not sure what kind of penalty that calls for: stroke and distance?
“Obviously, they’re taking away the opportunity for four other people to play,” Stone said. “We’re asking people that if you’re not going to play, please call us and cancel. With any notice at all, we can fill that time with walk-ins.”
Indian Canyon pro Gary Lindeblad sees this leading to inconvenient measures to stop it.
“We’re going to have to start guaranteeing tee times with bank cards if people aren’t better about it,” Lindeblad said. “And that’s not good, because it will take more time on the phone and people won’t want to give out their bankcard numbers.
“It’s really too bad, but that’s one of the compelling reasons the city is looking at going to a tee-time service.”
Those systems always add a surcharge to green fees.
“I think people need to get better educated on just how rude that is,” Lindeblad said. “It’s rude to other golfers who don’t get to play and it’s rude to the golf pros who need to make a living and it’s rude because that’s money the city isn’t making off the golf course.”
Making money off the golf courses is not something the city is doing in abundance at this point.
April showers, it appears, bring dismay.
“The courses are in great shape, but nobody’s out playing them because of the weather,” said Stone, estimating that the rain and cold have reduced green-fee receipts by some 25 percent.
Because the courses are almost entirely booked throughout the season, there’s very little chance to make up for lost revenues.
“What you lose in April, you just lose,” Stone said. “We may look to do more promotions or advertising, but I’m not sure that’s a problem - people know we’re here.”
Lost revenues should not affect course projects this year, Stone said.
“Obviously, if rounds are way down at the end of the year, it could have an effect on what we plan for next year,” Stone said. “But we’re not going to panic yet; we’ll just hope for the best and see what happens.”
Don’t look for the NFL Quarterback Challenge at The Coeur d’Alene Resort course this year.
The successful event benefiting Washington State University, won by John Elway last year, lost its sponsorship from Bank of America.
“Bank of America had some changes in their marketing philosophy and we didn’t have enough time to recover the way we wanted,” said Ron Davis, WSU director of marketing and promotions.
“It gained a lot of momentum for us, but we wanted to do it right if we were going to do it.”
Davis said he expects the event, which raised between $150,000 and $175,000, to return next year.
With a $28,000 paycheck for her third-place tie in last weekend’s Sara Lee Classic, Rathdrum’s Tracy Hanson has climbed to 14th on the LPGA money-winning list.
The 24-year-old, in her second year on the tour, also picked up a $30,000 check for winning an unofficial pro-am event in Hawaii early this year.
The Indian Canyon Best-Ball tournament is set for May 18-19, with a $90-per-team entry fee.
The maximum handicap spread is 7. Call the Canyon pro shop for details (747-5353).