How to Play St. Andrews Golf Links: The Old Course
If you read my post yesterday about the British Open, you know this is my favorite course in the world. If I could play any course, it would be here. The history, layout and beauty make it a must play for any golf enthusiast. But how can you play it?
St. Andrews Facts
Image by lluisr via Flickr
It's a public course. I think I have even heard it's a public park but I'm not sure I can confirm that. I do know people walk their dogs and have picnics on the fairway. I even heard the commentators saying they have played football on the course... something they probably don't allow at Augusta National or Pine Valley.
St. Andrews actually has seven golf courses. The most famous is obviously the Old Course but others include: The Castle Course, The New Course, The Jubilee Course, The Eden Course, The Strathtyrum Course, and The Balgove Course. If you want to play the Old Course, be sure you specify!
The greens fees are vary depending on the time year but you can expect to pay anywhere from 64 BP (British Pounds) to 130 BP in the high seasons. The "High Season" is considered Mid-April to Mid-October, roughly.
So How Do I Get A Tee Time
Per the St. Andrews Links Trust Website, there are 4 ways to get on the Old Course. In order to qualify to play here you must have a handicap. For men, this handicap can be not be higher than 24, for women, 36. Have you qualified? Good, lets keep going.
- Advanced tee Times: In order to book one of these you must do so about a year in advance. The process begins in September of the prior year for the following year tee time. So for a 2011 tee time the process begins September 1, 2010. There are a list of blackout dates which you can find along with other info here: St. Andrews Advanced Tee Times
- The Daily Ballot: The Daily Ballot is a "lottery" system which you can enter to try and play the Old Course. Your name will be drawn the day before for the following days tee time. To enter you can call or go to the clubhouse and give your Name, Home Club, and Handicap. Go here for more information on The Daily Ballot.
- Single Golfers: They really have it right in Scotland. Anyone who is not married can play walk up and play (poor attempt at humor). If you're an individual golfer you can arrive at the course and the starter tries to match you with any group he can. It doesn't seem like the most reliable method but I'm sure it could work.
- The Old Course Experience: The St. Andrews website defines this as the best way to guarantee a tee time. There is plenty of detail at The Old Course Experience website but it's basically a golf trip booked through them. It seems like a great opportunity for anyone who can afford it. If you're from the US, expect to pay about $3,000 for a two night stay.