Lawsuit Seeks to End LA’s Black Market for Tee Times

It's a contentious time for the city's golfers

Who knew golf could be so contentious?
Getty Images

It’s not exactly news to point out that when there’s demand for something, there’s usually a black market for it. This can encompass anything from luxury goods to in-demand tickets for sporting events. Unfortunately, these are just the tip of the metaphorical iceberg here, and the full scope of what can become the provenance of illicitly sold tickets is vast indeed.

And it turns out that, at least in Los Angeles, there’s a thriving black market for tee times on the city’s golf courses. You might read that and wonder if the city’s golfers are okay with this — and the answer is a resounding “No, they’re not.” Some of them are frustrated enough with the status quo that they’ve filed a lawsuit to change things. As Matt Hamilton of the Los Angeles Times reports, a new class action lawsuit seeks to crack down on the practice of brokers controlling access to the city’s golf courses at desirable times.

The lawsuit was filed by the members of SoCal Dream Golf Club, and argues that the city “did not take any action to prevent illegal tee time bookings.”

It goes on to state that brokers have gone on to control most of the in-demand timeslots — in violation of the city of Los Angeles’s own policies. “Player Card holders who are unable to book tee times online are often forced to purchase tee times with premium booking fees from those brokers,” the plaintiffs write. “This illegal tee-time booking practice has been going on for years under the watch of [the Department of Recreation and Parks.]”

The Foreign Golf Simulator That’s Going to Take Over America
We sent a writer to play Pebble Beach in the Palisades

SoCal Dream Golf Club argues in the filing that the city was made aware of the activities of tee time brokers and did not intervene. The lawsuit goes on to request a trial by jury — and for the plaintiffs to be refunded the amount they paid for the Player Cards that gave them access to the city’s golf courses. It’s not quite the stuff of true crime podcasts, but it’s more drama than you’re likely to encounter around the scheduling of a game of golf.

Win the Ultimate Formula 1® Miami Grand Prix Experience

Want the F1 experience of a lifetime? Here’s your chance to win tickets to see Turn 18 Grandstand, one of Ultimate Formula 1® Miami Grand Prix’s most premier grandstands!