Thousands of tries daily for 82 Ala Wai tee times
Several years back, there were some shenanigans going on at the city golf courses, where the starters were taking money in exchange for tee times. I have called the number for automated tee times and get in as early as 6:33 a.m. (I think they start accepting calls for tee times at 6:30 a.m.). As early as I thought that was, there is never a time available at the Ala Wai Golf Course. Can that be?
Answer: Unfortunately, yes, because of the staggering number of calls made daily.
Calls to the automated tee-time reservation system actually are accepted from 2 a.m. to 11:59 p.m., said Garrick Iwamuro, city golf system administrator.
"Tee times for the following week are not available until 6:30 a.m.," he explained. "Prior to 6:30 a.m., golfers may cancel tee times (excluding the same day) or attempt to find a canceled tee time."
In 1998, when other golfers complained about not being able to get through to the automated system, we were told 40,000 golfers were registered in the city's golf database. That number has more than doubled to 90,000, Iwamuro said.
"The Ala Wai Golf Course is still one of the busiest golf courses around with a rate of about 500 golfers teeing off every day," he said.
The automated system, set up in 1995 to more fairly and equitably handle calls for all municipal courses, has 24 lines taking reservations for the following week beginning at 6:30 a.m. Reservations can be made only by calling 296-2000.
At the Ala Wai, nine reservations are available per hour beginning at 7 a.m. A total of 59 18-hole reservations and 23 9-hole reservations are available daily.
"With 24 lines and the Ala Wai being the most sought-after municipal course, (27) tee times from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. are instantly booked once the automated tee-times system begins to take reservations," Iwamuro said.
A single reservation transaction takes up to 45 seconds.
According to Iwamuro, between 6:30 and 7 a.m., there are about 90,000 to 100,000 attempts to dial 296-2000. Between 2 and 9 a.m., the system logs 720 calls that get through.
All that said, Iwamuro pointed out that you can gamble on being a walk-on.
Walk-on slots become available if a tee time is canceled and not picked up before the day of play; if there are no-shows; or if groups don't fulfill the requirement of having at least four players (maximum number is six).
The last 18-hole tee time reservation is 1:28 p.m. and 9-hole reservations are from 2 to 4:30 p.m., but there are additional slots for 90 walk-on players until 5:30 p.m., Iwamuro said.
Additionally, there are two tee times per hour for walk-ons, as well as slots reserved for 60 walk-ons for back-nine play every weekday and 20 on the weekend.
About 40 percent of the daily golfers at Ala Wai are walk-ons; the course averages 200 walk-ons a day, Iwamuro said.
Wait times range from 15 minutes to two hours, he said.
Got a question or complaint?
Call 529-4773, fax 529-4750, or write to Kokua Line, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu 96813. As many as possible will be answered. E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
. See also: Useful phone numbers