Throughout Los Angeles, golfers have been voicing their frustrations about “brokers,” or artificial intelligence (AI), stealing their tee times before they even have a chance to buy them.

On Monday, March 18, L.A.’s Golf Advisory Committee held a meeting at its headquarters, and several aggravated golfers spoke out.

The discussion aimed to address the lack of access and rising costs that are a direct result of bots grabbing tee times before members can book them. The issue is similar to what often happens with concert tickets and sports events.

These AI “brokers” reportedly sell the tee times at a $10 to $20 markup, which has prompted local golf coach and content creator Dave Fink to start the #FreeTheTeeMovement and disrupt the plans of these “brokers.”

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Fink said, “I have created some of my best memories at L.A. golf courses.” He continued, “I’ve met some of my best friends here. I learned how to play golf on these golf courses. As someone who was of lesser means at the time, it was invaluable to me to be able to get into the sport.”

Fink went on to speak about how L.A. public golf courses are the only means to play for many people in the city. He has repeatedly addressed the high costs associated with entry to golf, pointing at things like equipment, lessons, and green fees, all of which cost upwards of thousands of dollars.

“I just cannot allow that resource to be taken away from other people,” Fink stated.

The meeting was held in a gray and green bungalow beside the Los Angeles River at 1:00 pm with around 25 people in attendance.

A Burbank resident and former golfer who attended was Karen Thornton, an avid horseback rider who chairs the Griffith Park Advisory Board. Thornton says she decided to go to the meeting while working remotely as a citizen and that the issue of these “brokers” has been ongoing for years.

Thornton was adamant, saying, “This is not new.” She continued, “It happened when I was playing ten years ago… It takes golf away from the weekend dad who wants to show his kids what golf is like.”  

Dozens of locals attended the meeting, with board chair Kevin Fitzgerald of the Southern California Golf Association acknowledging that this was the largest meeting they’ve ever had.

Among their frustrations, golfers explicitly noted the online booking system company, GolfNow, demanding answers to their questions.

“Where is the company? Who’s the supplier in all of this?” These and many other questions were asked by irritated golfers. Several others shared their agitation by adding that the issue has been discussed before but nothing has been done.

One golfer said, “The same e-mail goes out every year.” Some committee members deliberated whether to enact a task force to investigate the problem.

According to the L.A. Times, the Department of Recreation and Parks announced an investigation involving the city’s attorney’s office.

The committee ultimately decided to prepare multiple internal reports throughout the coming weeks to search for a resolution and, ultimately, calm hundreds of mounting golfers’ frustrations in L.A.

The committee’s next meeting is scheduled for May 20.