A round on the green is now more accessible and affordable, thanks to the launch of Green Golf, Asia's first live golf booking app.
Through a Visa credit or debit card, one can book a game at any tee time at any partner course on a weekday, through an iPhone or Android phone. The app can be downloaded for free.
The app is a win-win for both golfers and clubs as it grants players access to membership-exclusive golf courses at lower rates, and at the same time helps the clubs fill up unused tee times.
Bookings can be made as early as 21 days in advance, while the latest they can be done is midnight the night before tee time (both subject to availability).
A current promotion allows an app user to pay just RM30 (S$10.10), excluding caddie and buggy fees, for a full 18-hole round at Johor's Palm Resort Golf and Country Club, way below the walk-in rate of RM185. There are no restrictions on the number of times golfers can play. The promotion ends next month.
At the app's official launch at Orchid Country Club yesterday, Green Golf's director of marketing Simon Wood said: "Golf clubs are reporting unused tee times while golfers are finding it difficult to get onto the greens due to costly club memberships and green fees.
"Green Golf was created with the intention to bridge the gap and to continue to grow and develop the sport in Asia."
According to Green Golf, it is estimated that there were over US$940 million (S$1.3 billion) in unsold weekday tee times in South-east Asia last year.
Aside from Palm Resort, Green Golf has partnered two other courses in Johor - Ponderosa Golf and Country Club, and Impian Emas Golf and Country Club - as well as Batam's Tering Bay Golf and Country Club.
More courses in South-east Asia will be included over the next six months, with the aim of offering up to 15,000 rounds of golf to each city every month.
Plans to partner Singapore courses are still in the works. Wood said: "The courses we've spoken to see value in getting more people and driving in revenue, but there may be other economic considerations they have that others don't.
"(But) once we get more people playing, and see that the community is more vibrant, I think the conversation may change over time."
In addition, children aged between eight and 16 will be able to play for free when booking through the app. There are also plans to provide affordable resources to budding golfers, including golf equipment rental, lessons and handicap maintenance this year.
Engineer Eddy Pang, 50, who plays golf abroad with his colleagues at least once a month, says the app offers potential savings.
Pang, who also plays at Tering Bay, said: "People wouldn't mind booking and paying that amount of money even if they might miss the game due to unforeseen circumstances."
"If the course is cheap by using the app, I will certainly play more."