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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Dave Fink exposes deep-rooted issues in LA’s golf course management

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Dave Fink, a famous golf influencer, is not afraid to speak the truth. Just like his straightforward golf style, he’s the man who brought the issue of tee time brokers at Los Angeles-area golf courses to the forefront. The Korea Daily first brought the issue of illegal booking to the public eye when it published a video of Fink exposing tee time brokers.

The city of Los Angeles has belatedly taken action to crack down on tee time brokers. The city is working on an ordinance to crack down on tee time reselling, and it’s also implementing a $10 deposit policy for tee time reservations. In an exclusive interview, Fink called the city of L.A. “lazy and corrupt.”

Dave Fink


Below are edited excerpts from our interview with golf influencer Dave Fink.

-How did you get to know about the illegal tee time brokers’ wrongdoings?
“It’s actually been talked about among golfers for about a decade. It was only recently when some of my golfing friends were having trouble booking tee times at a golf course in L.A. We were told directly that there was a ‘broker’. We took the information, downloaded the KakaoTalk app, and found a golf course tee time schedule that was only available to users.”

-Why have the problems persisted?
“The real problem is not about the brokers. It’s the city’s system that allowed them to do this for years.”

-Why was the city of LA indifferent about this issue?
“The city of LA didn’t seem to care about what was right for its people. They wanted to maintain the system because it was convenient for them and made them money. There are two possibilities. Either laziness or corruption. The other possibility is that someone at the golf course was paid off by a broker to help make this happen. Either way, it’s wrong. The trust between the public and the golf courses in L.A. has been broken. It’s too bad they’re now moving after being publicly humiliated.”

-The city came up with alternatives such as a deposit policy.
“It’s unreasonable. The brokers can just charge more to the consumers. The city of LA will make more money from canceled tee times. The city’s tee time website is a total failure with no security. Furthermore, the ‘Players Card’ used at LA City golf courses is available to anyone, not just LA City residents. The city is making hundreds of thousands of dollars from this broken system.”

-Are there any other solutions?
“It’s simple. Eliminate the LA City Golf website and only issue Players Cards to LA area residents. And make it possible to book through an official golf booking site like GolfNow (www.golfnow.com). If they don’t do this, nothing will really change.”

-There is still a demand for brokers.
“Paradoxically, only people who use brokers can stop them. If we stop using them, the tee time stealing will stop. It’s a public golf course. I want everyone to be able to play golf. Please don’t book tee times through brokers.”

-You posted a video of a direct call with a broker.
“We already have the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all three brokers. They are using church connections and seniors as a way to make money. The brokers are scammers. They probably don’t even report their income to the IRS, and I think they will be punished soon.”

-Korean golfers are worried that the brokers are Korean, which could damage their reputation.
“So it’s a bit complicated. Some golfers felt restricted and discriminated against for not being Korean, but the wrong behavior of a few shouldn’t apply to all. This has nothing to do with race. It would be wrong to blame Korean golfers. Rather, it was the members of the Korean-American golf club who took an active role in solving the problem, and without them, the issue would never have come to light.”

-What’s your next plan?
“The broker problem is widespread. So I’m going to be traveling around to different golf courses and start a ‘Free the Tee’ movement to solve the illegal tee time booking problem. I’m going on tour soon. I have a mission. It’s to make golf accessible to everyone, regardless of age, race, or gender.”

Dave Fink is a Los Angeles native. He describes himself as a “passionate golfer”. He started playing golf in his late 20s. Within a year, he had become a ‘0 handicap golfer.’ Fink is known as a coach who is easy to talk to and makes golf accessible. He pursues simple, enjoyable golf to popularize the sport. He also runs Infinity Rope Golf, a company that sells golf training equipment. His Instagram, YouTube, and other channels are called Dave Fink Golfs. He has more than 200,000 subscribers.

BY YEOL JANG, JUNHAN PARK    [jang.yeol@koreadaily.com]