City of LA Announces Deposit Requirement for Municipal Golf Tee Times

Golf ball sitting on a green with the flagstick nearby

Photo: Willard / iStock / Getty Images

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Following a series of complaints over residents' ability to book tee times at municipal golf courses, the city of Los Angeles notified players Wednesday that beginning Tuesday, bookings at city courses will require a non-refundable $10 deposit per person, with the amount applied toward green fees upon check-in.

"Your deposit will be forfeited if you cancel your tee time for any reason," according to an email sent by the city to regular customers Wednesday. "Note: The separate $10 per person no-show/short-show penalties will also remain in effect. A refund of your deposit may be issued if a course is closed due to adverse weather and/or other course closure events or if electric carts are not available for rent preventing you or your group from playing."

The message concludes, "Thank you for your understanding as we strive to make our booking process as fair and equitable as possible."

The deposit requirement will apply to all reservations booked through the city's website, mobile app, at golf courses or through the city's 24-hour call center.

The policy change follows weeks of criticism over the city Department of Recreation and Parks' system for players to book tee times. Earlier this year, a group of golfers filed a proposed class-action lawsuit contending that booking tee times at city course has become nearly impossible due to bots scooping up reservation times on behalf of resale brokers -- similar to concert and sporting event ticket scalpers.

Earlier this month, the city posted an updated policy on its golf reservation website warning about the use of automated programs to book tee times.

"It is prohibited to use any computer program, bot, offline reader, and site search/retrieval application," according to that policy. "Other manual or automatic devices, tools, or processes to retrieve, data mine, or in any way reproduce or circumvent the navigational structure, or presentation of the content or the site itself, for obtaining a City of Los Angeles Golf Reservation Tee Time is strictly prohibited. We are closely monitoring reservations that appear to be using the systems/processes stated above.

"Violations of our policy will result in tee time cancellation and a loss of reservation and playing privileges. Our goal is to make the booking process fair to all golfers who wish to play at our facilities."

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