Temperatures are dropping, days are getting shorter, and it’s the unofficial end of summer. If you’re a golfer that can only mean it’s time for fall golf, and the glorious explosions of orange, red, and yellow landscapes will make you feel like you’re in Claude Monet painting. Sure, you’re probably going to experience the occasional, “Hey, I found my ball,” only to discover up close it’s an adversarial leaf, but that extra practice you get hitting fallen acorns and nuts more than makes up for it. And of course, even your ugliest shots will look gorgeous in the spectacular pumpkin-spiced backgrounds. Here are the top 5 reasons to love golfing in the fall.

Fall Golf

5. Better Prices and Tee Times

We’ve all experienced wanting to play certain courses during the summer, but are unable to because of cash flow challenges or tee times that get gobbled up quickly. In the fall, rates can plummet to insane, almost Black Friday-like price levels. You may have to deal with the necessary evil of greens being aerated, but when the grass goes dormant you’re actually putting on better surfaces. Discounts apply to green fees and carts, however, I recommend you stop and smell the roses and walk at least one of your rounds. Fall golf is a good walk not spoiled. You can also find a few sweet deals in the pro shop on end of season apparel.

4. Ball Go Far

If you’re one of the unfortunate souls who hasn’t experienced distance gains through equipment technology, fall is the time to strike back and even the score. Typically you’ll notice the ground starts firming up around this time and assuming you haven’t been bombarded with late summer rain, that’s going to translate into more roll and extra yardage. Catch a good drive and you’ll witness some of the longest bombs you hit all year. The tradeoff however, is that the greens might also be firm, and that means approach shots will be tougher to stick. Remember though, you’re not out here to shoot lights out. In fact, with courses less crowded, you can – and should – take a mulligan once in a while and appreciate why you’re out here in the first place.

3. Opportunities to Learn

That was a nice segue, yes? Seriously, with courses less crowded and no pace of play issues anywhere in sight, why not use a round – or at least a few holes – to practice certain shots on the course. Not the most accurate driver? Hit two or three balls on the same hole. Greens in regulation not where you’d like them to be? Practice your ball striking by firing at the flag a few times from the same spot. Obviously, this isn’t a round that’s going to count towards your handicap, but it’s incredibly fun and provides the best and most immediate feedback. If you really pay attention to what you’re doing, you just might have one of those “aha” moments that lasts you a lifetime.

2. Bring Your Pooch

dog golf

If your home is brimming with daily woofs and waggles, taking Lassie or Fido out to play with you will be one of the most enriching experiences you can have on a golf course. In addition to your dog being utterly fascinated with the new sights and sounds, man’s best friend is going to pick up on how much you love being on the course – and your bond will indelibly strengthen. Keeping your pooch on a leash is a good idea, especially if they’re inclined to run after fox, geese, or other wildlife and force an unwanted encounter. You don’t want this warm-hearted experience to turn into a National Geographic gripping animal battle. If they’re completely obedient to voice command, however, there’s nothing more liberating than roaming free on the vast frontier of the golf course, and it will be a lasting memory for both of you.

1. Breathtaking Views

Fall Golf

The trees are a burning, copper red. The grass takes on a golden, straw-like hue. And if you get out early enough, the glittering morning frost will make the fairways look like they’re littered with jewels. Fall is hands down, without a doubt, in no uncertain terms the most beautiful time to hit the links you’ll ever experience. Yes, you’ll occasionally be blinded by the glare of late day sun, and maybe even lose a few balls in the leaves. Yes, you’ll wish you layered up more on those colder days when you’re driving a cart with no windshield and swear that icicles are forming at your nostrils. But you know what? The awe-inspiring magnificence of a golf course in the fall makes it all worthwhile.