Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Golf in Oman - Al-Mouj aka "The Wave"

Opened in 2012 Al-Mouj "The Wave" is a relatively new course in the Middle East. Scheduled to host its first European Tour Event next year this Greg Norman design is a beast playing 7,310 yards  from the tips.

This full service club has attendants to take care of your things, a decent chipping and practice area, and driving range albeit smallish in number of bays yet the range is 300+ yards.

Pitching and chipping practice area

Al-Mouj Clubhouse

The clubhouse has everything you need such as a pro shop and dining area, however it seems a bit cramped overall. Usually the Middle Eastern design has copious amounts of open space, but this clubhouse has a tiny lobby and the building is a bit maze-like.

The locker rooms are nicely done with plenty of amenities such as lemon water in a dispenser and towels for your hands. Everything looks great  except it's very small. A locker key is provided upon check in.

If there was a event or outing or busy day I can imagine it being very crowded, especially in the locker room.

Al-Mouj Golf Rates

While a weekend visitor rate of 60 Oman Riyals ($156 USD) is not cheap, it  compares favorably to other Middle Eastern golf courses that host European Tour Events. It's nice that the rate includes golf carts, range balls and access to the practice area.  

The carts have GPS, towels, and water. The GPS includes maps but omits the essential carry yardages to clear hazards and bunkers. This is a big problem, because on this type golf course with deep bunkers everywhere you need to play some position golf.

Al-Mouj Golf Course

A beautiful course along the Indian Ocean features the Hajjar Mountains in the background. Certified as an 'Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary' you can appreciate the natural elements of this course. 

Hajjar Mountain View

However, with the Muscat airport only kilometers away and planes flying low overhead approximately every five to ten minutes takes away from the tranquility of the course.

Airport next to the golf course with plenty of airplanes flying over

Additionally, there seems to be very little awareness of the Audubon status as talking to members as they didn't know anything about it or what it meant. There is no indication on the score card except for a tiny logo. It should be mentioned in the local rules about avoiding restricted areas designated by red stakes with green tops.

Red stakes with green tops indicate environmentally sensitive areas. The green tops were inexplicably painted red.

Golf courses with protected areas usually have red hazard stakes with green tops. This is an indication that you shouldn't go in those areas, even if you can see your ball. However, the green tops on the stakes have inexplicably been painted red.

This is a tough course, not for the beginner. Deep bunkers, plenty of water, and high winds can ruin your score quickly. As a high single digit handicapper I was able to avoid a lot of trouble, but I imagine high handicappers will struggle on this golf course.

The 5th hole is a 143 yard island green (see below) which was a lot more challenging than I anticipated. Into the wind, I rinsed a ball with a 7 iron and then managed the second shot on the green. Higher handicappers would have real trouble landing the ball on the green and holding it there.

5th Hole Island Green
The black tees were closed, and rightfully so with a course rating of 75 and slope 140 you should probably sport a 2 index or better to play those tees. With the strong winds and links type layout, half the holes were easier despite the long yardages and the other half play very tough.

In particular, hole 9 is a par 4 playing 449 yards and with a 180+ yard carry into the wind could cause problems for a lot of people.

I loved the bunker design with the natural long grass on the perimeter gave it the un-manicured look. Bunker sand was consistent and nice. However, the bunkers are deep which means they are very penal and a bit difficult to step in and out of them.

I happened to visit when they are transitioning changing the back nine to be the front nine and vice versa.  There was very little signage on how to get to some of the holes and there was no indication on the tee boxes as to what hole you were looking at which resulted in a bit of a frustrating experience. In addition I was not warned of the switching of the back nine and front nine so it was doubly confusing!


As a relatively lower handicapper found this to be a very enjoyable course, playing a lot of holes near the water and pleasant surroundings. It was a more natural golf course, with very few houses or building structures on the land.

This is the type of course that is simply too hard for the beginner. A newcomer to golf may be turned off to the sport because of the forced carries and penal bunkers. Balls that go outside of the rough are usually lost in the long grass and bushes lining the holes.

The low flying airplanes and noise was a distraction and an annoyance. I wish the course promoted the Audubon more and raised awareness about this design achievement.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Remove advertisements on TeeTimeHelper

Although using TeeTimeHelper has a free tier, we do run ads on the site. 

Pay to remove ads

Removing ads not only gives you a better experience, but it's also a great way to help us with our costs for running the site.

Only the group administrator needs to pay to remove the ads for the entire group.

Remove Ads on TeeTimeHelper

Happy Golfing!
The TeeTimeHelper.com Team

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Golf tee time intervals analyzed

When setting up an event with TeeTimeHelper we estimated that the default interval between tee times was ten minutes. Now that TeeTimeHelper has been organizing events for over 5 yeas we sampled our data to find out what was the most common tee time interval.

Using a range between 5 and 12 minutes we sampled our database and created a histogram of number of events for each tee time interval from 5to 12 minutes.  Below is the chart of what we discovered:

It turns out that our initial default value of ten minutes was the most common tee time increment used on our site. The second most common tee time increment is eight minutes, with nine minutes coming in third.

Given that tee time increments can vary TeeTimeHelper automatically determines your tee time interval based on previous events you have organized. This means if you set up a tee time at 10:10 am and a second tee time at 10:08 TeeTimeHelper will remember this course setting  and will give you an eight minute increment in the future.

TeeTimeHelper also pre-fills your first tee time on subsequent events to save some keystrokes if you play at a regular time.

These little enhancements for setting up events will help the golf group manager organizer golf events faster.

Happy Golfing
The TeeTimeHelper.com Team

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Here's a tip your PGA Pro won't give you

PGA Pro's are great for giving golf advice. They listen to you, analyze your swing. Tell you what you need to do in theory. But sometimes you just need some down to earth practical advice. 

So, here's a tip which you WON'T get from your PGA Professional.  And if you have more tips like this please leave them in the comment section!

Always throw your club in the location you need to go!

Happy Golfing!


Saturday, September 9, 2017

Cut down the e-mail clutter with TeeTimeHelper.com

Rid your golf group of  tee time spreadsheets

Most golfers know what a hassle it is to be part of a golf group sending CC'd e-mails around and keeping tabs on what is going on. Too many e-mails!

And there's always that one person who hits "reply all" and sends the non-pc jokes you've seen a hundred times before.

TeeTimeHelper solves the spreadsheet problem, the cc'd email problem, and lets the organizer control what's happening with the golf event. Less e-mail for everybody is a good thing!

Now even more e-mail control for the golf event admin

We make it even more convenient for the golf event administrator to receive only the e-mail he wants to see. For example, the admin can get an e-mail for every RSVP or choose not to receive them at all.

But as usual, our rogue programmers took it one step further and added an option to receive e-mail confirmations for only those who RSVP "yes".

So, in other words the golf event organizer can choose the level of event confirmations he or she wishes to see.

Check it out at TeeTimeHelper.com

Happy Golfing!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Randomize and lock your golf event at the same time

At TeeTimeHelper we are all about making things easy for the golf event organizer and golf group members. We've add a nifty option  for randomizing your golf event which will do two tasks at the same time.

First, let's explain effects "randomizing" does to your event. We just don't aggregate everybody, mix them up, and take the number of players per group and assign them tee times. We try to be a little more clever, to not allow one golfer left over with no partners. Also, if the groups don't break down evenly then the group with the lowest number of players plays first - they will probably be the fastest and not hold everyone up.
Now we move on to locking your golf event which means only the administrator can make changes. This is a great way to not let people change their RSVP. This means golfers in your club cannot change from "yes" to "no" and vice versa. Plus, they cannot change their preferred tee time.

So the natural thing when one randomizes their event is to not allow anyone to make changes. Take the example of someone doesn't like the assigned partners, they could bail out or change to a different tee time if the event was unlocked.

In many cases, this would not be the desired result as it wouldn't be random anymore. So we came up with a solution which adds the "Lock Event" option directly from the randomize page. This is a convenience in most cases because it would save an extra step for locking the event.

Plus, as per the philosophy with TeeTimeHelper to be maximally flexible, as the administrator you could always unlock the event if desired.

We hope these little touches to TeeTimeHelper benefits your golf group!

Happy Golfing
The TeeTimeHelper.com Team

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Link to TeeTimeHelper and we'll remove the ads

There are so many benefits to using TeeTimeHelper that we won't even get into the details on this post. Let's just say TeeTimeHelper is a great tool to organize golf events and requires no payment whatsoever.

However, your golf group may see ads when they RSVP for outings. But there's good news! Your golf group can go ad-free which would give you free usage of TeeTimeHelper without any distractions.

To go ad free for your entire golf group simply have your golf course web admin make a link to TeeTimeHelper using the following HTML:

<a href="http://www.TeeTimeHelper.com">We support TeeTimeHelper</a>

After the link is made let us know what website you made it on we will disable ads for that golf course!

Happy Golfing


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Cancelling a golf event with TeeTimeHelper.com

Cancelling a Golf Event

As the administrator of the golf group you have the option of removing a golf event. There are some considerations before actually doing this, though.

For starters, if the event is upcoming it may cause some confusion with your golf group. Perhaps you entered the wrong date or golf course name - in this case a better option is to edit the fields in question and TeeTimeHelper will send an update to your golfers.

Plus, when you delete an event you are removing not only the event details such as tee times but also the golf members who RSVP'd for the event. If you do remove the event it and create a new one it will be started from scratch, meaning golfers would have to re-RSVP and that could cause confusion for your group.

Removing an event also takes away your ability to clone the event. Cloning the event uses your current event and pre-fills the fields (except for the golf event date) so you can easily create a future event. Obviously, if you delete the event you will not be able to use one of the most powerful features of TeeTimeHelper which is cloning the event.

There are some good reasons to remove an event, such as if you accidentally made a duplicate event (our software tries to prevent this from happening, however) or the event is actually cancelled. We allow you to send a message to your group during the cancellation process in order to inform them of what happened.

In cases such as these we try to make TeeTimeHelper as user friendly as possible so we encourage you to leave a message to avoid unnecessary confusion.

Happy Golfing!
The TeeTimeHelper.com Team

Monday, July 10, 2017

TeeTimeHelper: solving the plus one issue

As TeeTimeHelper matures we are always trying to improve the system. One thing that we noticed is some golfers RSVP "Yes" with the comment like  "+1" or "Harry will join". This puts two people RSVPing for one slot.

You can imagine the problems the golf group organizer has when 5 golfers are listed for a foursome or too many people RSVP yes for an event.

We have implemented a system to alleviate this situation by detecting when someone indicates another golfer will join the group. From there, we will give a noticeable warning message saying that the additional golfer  will need to be invited separately to make ensure their spot is held.

If you have any comments or more suggestions for TeeTimeHelper please let us know!

The TeeTimeHelper.com Team

Thursday, May 25, 2017

TeeTimeHelper overview video tutorial

Using TeeTimeHelper is extremely easy! We provide the online golf RSVP system and this video clearly explains how simple it is to use it.

The TeeTimeHelper.comwww.TeeTimeHelper.com Team

Friday, May 19, 2017

Become an effective golf group leader

A lot of golf group captains make their life and their buddies lives difficult because they try to run golf events in all the wrong ways.

One way to annoy everyone is to send a lot of e-mails around with status updates and spreadsheets. It is particularly annoying to those who have already responded that they cannot play golf that day but still receive updates, jokes, and irrelevant information regarding the event.

You can start to efficiently manage your golf group when you set up a golf event using TeeTimeHelper. Your buddies and group members will thank you!

Here's some of the options you have after you create and event with TeeTimeHelper:

As you can see it is easy to invite one golfer, or many golfers. If you run out of specified tee times it is simple to add another tee time.

Sending a message to your golfers is efficient because you can choose to send your message to everybody,  only send it to those who are attending, only those who are not, or only those who haven't responded. By targeting your e-mail messages you are limiting your audience which your golf group will appreciate and makes your communication more effective - when one of your members receives a message from you they know it is important.

Randomizing your event mixes up those who have RSVP'd yes with the available tee times. Locking your golf event prevents your members from changing their RSVP's.

Cloning your event is an easy way to create your next event by pre-filling the e-mail addresses and names. You will want to do this for your next event!

Finally, you can print a formatted tee sheet or remove the event altogether. Note that removing the event is not reversible; you will be given a stern warning before you continue to do that.

What are you waiting for? Become and effective golf leader today!

Happy Golfing!

The TeeTimeHelper Team

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Randomizing golf events explained

One of the nice features in TeeTimeHelper is the ability to randomize a golf event. It's only available to the golf administrator (the event organizer) as you probably don't want any of your group randomly changing tee times around.

When you click on the "Randomize Golf Event" link it will show you the breakdown of the number of groups and the number of people in each group so you know what to expect if you do confirm the randomization. Determining the number of golfers in a group a takes a calcuation because we just don't want to fill the maximum number of golfers for each group - this can lead to one person by themselves in the last group.

So we definitely don't want someone in a group with no partner, and we certainly don't want a 2-ball (2 person group) stuck behind a 4 person group.

Say you have 9 players and 3 golf groups. Filling the first two groups with 4 people each and one golfer left over is no good. You could have the first group with 2 people, the second with 3 people, and the last group with 4.  We don't think this is ideal and our system detects this situation and will set it up as 3 groups of 3 to avoid the variation in numbers.

We always put the smaller group first so that they do not get frustrated behind a larger group which takes longer to play.

Randomizing an event also sends e-mail to each golfer who have RSVP'd yes to update them that the event was randomized. As you are the administrator you have the ability to randomize the event again but another e-mail will be sent to all your golfers.

Even after randomizing the administrator can also adjust the groupings by manually changing the tee times if necessary.

Happy Golfing!

The TeeTimeHelper Team

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Control your e-mail notifications with TeeTimeHelper

Golf group organizers and members of their golf group can rejoice now that a much needed feature was added to control the number of e-mails they receive.

We have added a global preferences page which gives the option to receive or not receive e-mails under certain circumstances.

For example, now golf group leaders can receive every RSVP through e-mail or opt out. Also, group members and organizer have several other options such as receiving notifications when tee times are added, when an event is locked or unlocked, and reminder e-mails before an event starts.

Here is a screenshot with an example of how easy it is to opt-in or opt-out of the golf event e-mail notifications:

Happy Golfing!

The TeeTimeHelper.com Team

Thursday, April 13, 2017

TeeTimeHelper is Growing

It started with an idea. What would happen if you provide a simple, useful tool to help people organize their outings with their friends? We didn't know the answer to this beforehand, and we didn't have the time or money to do focus groups.

So we just built the basic functionality to TeeTimeHelper and wanted to see what would happen.  Four years later, we can chart our progress by the number of events we've helped organize.

Number of golf events organized by TeeTimeHelper

TeeTimeHelper is growing at approximately 40% each year, and appears to be accelerating. This is great news for our users because when we see a chart like this it inspires us to provide even more tools at no cost.

For example, we just added  a section"Upcoming Events" into every event details page so now all your events are tied together and you can easily flip between events.

We also added better navigation, better visual feedback for actions on the web site, and clearer messages throughout the site.

Happy Golfing!

The TeeTimeHelper Team

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Easily Organize a Golf Shotgun Event with TeeTimeHelper

You can organize different types of events with TeeTimeHelper. In this blog post we will focus on quickly hosting a shotgun event.

A golf shotgun event means everyone tees off at the same with groups starting on different holes. This allows a golf facility to fill up to the entire course at one time instead of having everyone start on the first hole with 8-12 minutes between each group.

The primary benefits of the shotgun start are two-fold. First, everyone finishes around the same time so more people can participate in a lunch or activity after the event. Secondly, golf operations people like shotguns because more people can fill the golf course at one time instead of having open golf holes with no golfers.

Running a shotgun event with TeeTimeHelper is similar to hosting other types of golf events, many of the fields are the same such as event date/time and venue.

Simply select the maximum number of tee times for your shotgun and invite your golfers. We handle sending the e-mail invites and keeping track of who has RSVP'd.

We'll even send a reminder message to your golf group the day before the event starts.

If you change your mind and wish to change your event to different tee times no problem, the standard TeeTimeHelper interface can handle this quickly without removing your event.

Setup a shotgun event today

Happy Golfing!

The TeeTimeHelper Team

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

TeeTimeHelper Feature: Upcoming events displayed

Great news for regular golfers! You can now see a summary list of all the dates and venues of your upcoming events.

Just use any of the links e-mailed to you to check the status of an event and at the bottom all your upcoming events are conveniently listed.

As you can see you can easily see an overview of your events. When you switch back and forth between your golf events to see who is playing, change your RSVP or add a comment.

Setup your next golf outing with TeeTimeHelper.com.

Happy Golfing!

TeeTimeHelper.com Team

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Latest updates and fixes for TeeTimeHelper

We've made TeeTimeHelper more informative and easier to use with visual confirmation messages and big, bold buttons.

In the past TeeTimeHelper relied on wordy confirmation and error messages. We now use graphical elements to express what is happening with your RSVP's and event administration edits.

For example:

You can see the large green checkbox to confirm the golfer's information was changed. Conversely, we also show things that are not necessarily errors but not exactly confirmation that everything went as expected:

And then we also have the error messages such as:

And finally, we have made the buttons larger and easier to read, click and press:

As you can see the green buttons are larger and more distinguished. Also, when you hover the mouse over the button it will change to a different color to give you more visual feedback.

Please send us your comments for further TeeTimeHelper improvements! Some of our best ideas features have come from TeeTimeHelper users.

Happy Golfing!

The TeeTimeHelper.com Team

Thursday, February 2, 2017

How to Run a Golf Tournament Easily

Organize a Golf Tournament 

Looking to set up a golf tournament for your friends, club, or charity event? Keeping track of invitees, paid participants, and current entries can be a challenge even for the most organized person.

Traditionally, these golf events were kept track on a notebook or spreadsheets with phone numbers. The fundamental problem with these methods is that the data is only known by few people until they decide to disseminate it. And it shifts the burden of work solely on those people, all the information bottlenecks through them.

 Luckly, we have advanced beyond the point of mailing around spreadsheets and making phone calls.

TeeTimeHelper can quickly send out RSVP's, organize your tee times, and give everyone the firsthand updates of the event status at any time. It's also simple and easy to use.

Using the one page event setup form you can create a golf outing and send your invites. You even have the option to allow the invitees to invite other guests - a great way to automatically grow your event. It's like delegating your marketing efforts to your participants which means less work for you!

At any point you can "lock" your event so no more changes can be made. And then you have the option to randomize the groups. You may wish to easily e-mail only the people who will be attending your golf outing...of course TeeTimeHelper can do that, too.

And when everything is set, print out your start sheet from TeeTimeHelper and you are ready to run your event.

So organize your golf tournament today!

The TeeTimeHelper Team

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