In April, the golf booking website EZLinks.com, founded in 1995, got a new CEO. He came over from Redbox, the DVD rental jukebox that took over seemingly every grocery store lobby in town. His objective is war. He wants to make EZLinks the dominant player in the online golf reservations game. Think of his site as an OpenTable, which match-makes customers with reservation times.
There are other players on the green, but the other big one is GolfNow, founded in 2001 and owned by the Golf Channel. It helps courses sell unsold tee times (like the undesirable ones just before twilight) for discounts that can be as much as 50 to 60 percent off regular price. Think of this one as a Priceline.com, which unloads distressed merchandise at a deep discount rather than let it go unused.
EZLinks, freshly energized by its new leader, is on the attack. It's even suing GolfNow for allegedly using its trade secrets. As long as the big golf bookers jockey for dominance, no monopoly will form, and that means deals will be kept competitive to attract customers. Deals like these coupons for EZLinks.com posted at the coupon collection site RetailMeNot.com, or these coupons for 20 percent off already discounted GolfNow rounds at the same site. Or deals like these Tee Time Specials, posted on EZLinks' own site.
The more EZLinks goes after GolfNow, the better the bargains will be. When the add in the fact that golf bookings in general are down thanks to the recession, you have a recipe for some terrific golf savings — as long as you book online using the sites that are duking it out for your custom.