Sunday is Easter, which means the unofficial end of golf season in Florida. People don't stop playing, mind you, it's just that the pool of golfers starts to shrink. Seasonal residents are trickling north, which is bad news for course operators and good news for local golfers. It will be cheaper to play starting May 1. Here is our annual look at where and how to find deals:
Paradise Golf Card
Its summer membership runs from May 1 through Oct. 31 (some courses started honoring the card April 1). Cost is $199. Many courses in the Tampa Bay and Bradenton/Sarasota areas accept this card. Some private clubs, such as Cypress Run in Tarpon Springs, do also. Information: paradise-golf.com
Big Summer Golf Card
It costs $60. It is more limited than the Paradise Card, with fewer courses available in the Tampa Bay area. The card also has exclusive courses in our area that accept only the Big Summer card (Mangrove Bay, Isla Del Sol, Apollo Beach and Seven Hills). Most of the discounts begin May 1.
American Lung Association Golf Privilege Card
It is $39.95, and it's part of Golfdigestteetimes.com. It can be used at courses throughout the Tampa Bay area; some exclusive courses are not covered. This card is for the average golfer who likes to play less-demanding courses. Information: lungusa.com
Arthritis Foundation Discount Golf Book
The cost is $15 per book; if you order three, you get one free. It covers courses in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando and is good from May 1 through Oct. 31.
Information: Toll-free 1-800-741-4008, (941) 708-3901; arthritis.org.
Some private clubs open their doors in the summer, and it's not too expensive to play them. Here are some deals:
St. Petersburg Country Club
The club has been offering a summer membership for several years. It runs from May 1 through Oct. 31. The initiation fee is $125 for a single, $160 for a family, and a monthly fee of $145 for a single and $180 for a family. Call (727) 867-2111.
Pasadena Yacht and Country Club
The membership runs from May 1 through Sept. 30. It is $1,000 for five months, with no initiation fee. Summer members pay only a cart fee. Call (727) 381-7922, ext. 11.
Temple Terrace Golf and Country Club
This is the third year Temple Terrace has offered a summer membership. The rates are the same as last year: $39 per month to join and $18 every time you play. The deal runs through Aug. 31. Call (813) 988-1791.
These online services offer discounted rates on certain tee times at most Tampa Bay area courses. In most cases, courses offer a specific tee time each day (usually in the early afternoon) to the services.
•Paradiseteetimes.com: Courses are listed on the left side, and there is a featured course every day. The site offers discounted rates on tee times and special rates on a specific tee time each day on each course. It also has a network to pair single players.
•Teeofftampabay.com: Courses in the Tampa Bay and Orlando areas are its focus. Numerous courses are featured each day. Click on a course, select a day, and available times and prices appear.
•Golftampabay.com: It has courses in the Tampa, Orlando and Sarasota areas. The selection is not as wide as other sites. It has a last-minute tee-time feature that allows you to find rates for later the same day or the next day.
•Golfnow.com: It is a national site, so to find Tampa Bay area courses, click on Florida, then Tampa/St. Petersburg. There are featured courses with special rates and other courses listed on the left side.
•Teetimesusa.com: It has Florida courses, broken down into regions. Courses are listed alphabetically.
•Ezlinks.com: This is a national site. Click on Courses at the top, then Florida to get to the Tampa Bay area. It's limited, and you have to scroll through the list to find area courses.
•Teemaster.com: It has courses around the country. Click on Find a Course at left to narrow your search.
•Teetimewatch.com: Start by using the drop-down menu to find the area you want to search.
•Golfhub.com: This is a national site that allows you to narrow your search. Has several area courses to choose from.
•Activegolf.com/florida-tee-times: The search box lets you search for available tee times by city or course.