How to get on the St. Andrews Old Course

In General

The St Andrews Old Course is a municipal course, as are two other outstanding links in town, the New Course and the Jubilee Course. A fourth tournament caliber course, the Castle Course, opened in June of 2008. Demand to play the Old Course far exceeds the number of times available, so if you’re looking to play there – start planning early! Most of our clients are booking at least a year in advance with larger groups sometimes booking up to two to three years in advance. Many will get the ball rolling on a trip before the end of August 2016 if they want to play the Old Course anytime in 2017.

St. Andrews – Old Course Tee Times

Some golfers go to St. Andrews with a tee time in hand. Many others go without a specific tee time and hope to secure one when there. Here we lay out the options available and their relative cost.

Option 1: The Guaranteed / Specific Tee Time

There are two primary ways of obtaining a tee time. The first is through a petition process. The key is to start the planning process early and to know the names of those in your group by July/August of the prior year. This method is the least expensive way to get on to the course although careful planning is essential to maximize your chances. This method is much more difficult if starting out after August of 2016 for play in 2017.

The second is by purchasing a specific or guaranteed tee time. These times usually become available from select golf tour operators and other sources after August (for play the following year). Guaranteed tee times are generally more expensive than those obtained through the application process or obtained (as described below) through the ballot or by stand-by.

Although we would hope you take the time to learn more about Pioneer Golf and select us to handle your golf trip to Scotland, we encourage you to begin working with your chosen golf tour operator as early as possible.

Option 2: A Tee Time by Ballot or Stand-by

An alternative approach to a tee time is through what is known as the “ballot.” It is essentially a lottery that takes place daily for play two days ahead. While there is no guarantee of success, chances are quite reasonable, especially if you are to be in the St Andrews area for four or five days. We would enter your names into the ballot each day (the course is closed on Sundays), and do it in such a way as to avoid conflict with tee times on other courses. It is more difficult to obtain an Old Course tee time through the ballot in the months of July, August, and September.

Lastly, it is possible to walk-on to the Old Course. You merely advise the starter that you wish to do so, and he’ll fit you in if and when an opportunity arises. Chances of getting on depend on the time of year and how early you arrive at the starter’s box. Those who get on via stand-by usually do as singles.

Other Courses Where Availability may be a Concern

Any course on the Open Championship rotation (e.g., Turnberry, Royal Troon, Carnoustie, and Muirfield) is best booked well in advance, especially if hoping to dovetail with more than one Open venue in the same week.

In particular, tee times at Muirfield are relatively scarce so planning 13-15 months in advance is highly recommended.

Feel free to click “Quote Request” above to get a free no-obligations proposal for your trip.