Thinking of playing St Andrews next year? Well, you better act fast!

You may have heard of a number of different ways to get a tee time on the St Andrews Old Course in Scotland. You may have also spoken to other golf tour operators whose explanations ranged from comprehensive to superficial. Have you been able to find one source that lays it all out in an easy to understand way? Well, here it is! This is a straightforward guide that explains each of the four different ways of getting that sacred tee time.

Most people will plan to travel sometime between the beginning of April and the end of October. You likely don’t want to go outside of these dates since you’ll be required to hit your ball off of a little piece of artificial turf when on the fairway! Keep in mind that all golfers must bring a handicap card/certificate. The maximum handicap is 24 for gents and 36 for ladies. Pull carts are only available after noon and you must have a permanent disability to be allowed to use an electric cart. There are plenty of course closures on the Old for tournaments and other events so important to plan around these. Also note that the Old Course has been closed on Sundays for 300 years, unless of course, you make the cut at The Open!

The 4 Ways of Getting a St Andrews Old Course Tee Time

Guaranteed Tee Times via “Authorised Providers”: The non-profit entity that controls the Old Course and the six other courses there (St Andrews Links Trust or SALT) has designated a limited number of golf tour operators around the world as “Authorised Providers,” of which Pioneer Golf is one. Yes, in the UK “authorised” is spelled with an “s” not a “z”! These companies receive an allocation of guaranteed Old Course tee times in June of the year prior to play. However, most companies start selling these times long before that. The number of times a company receives depends on its size and reputation. This is the most expensive way of securing an Old Course tee time and will always include a second round on one of the other St Andrews courses such as the New, Jubilee, or Castle. ADVANTAGE: 100% guaranteed, DISADVANTAGE: expensive and sell out a year or more in advance.

Advanced Application Tee Times: In this scenario, an application is submitted in late-August to early-September for play the following year. These tee times are allocated randomly (lottery), and results announced in October. For certain months, it’s virtually pointless to even send in an application. Up to eight golfers can be submitted on one application so a group of 12 would require two applications. A second round is again mandated at another St Andrews course. ADVANTAGE: least expensive, DISADVANTAGE: chances of getting a time are low but can be improved by taking multiple factors into consideration.

Daily Ballot Tee Times: Roughly half of all Old Course tee times are allotted via the Daily Ballot, a lottery system that’s drawn two days in advance of play. This is how most people get onto the Old Course. Pioneer Golf will handle this process for you and if successful, normally can move other previously scheduled golf rounds to fit the new schedule. A minimum of two (maximum of four) golfers are required per entry. A group of eight golfers would simply have two entries. Duplicate entries or phantom names are strictly prohibited.  Trust us: they’ve seen it all and no shenanigans are permitted! ADVANTAGE: least expensive, DISADVANTAGE: chances of getting a time are good but only if certain factors are considered.

Standby Tee Times: St Andrews Old Course normally has random singles, twosomes, and sometimes foursomes available throughout the day. There is a first-come, first-served waiting list and golfers queue at the Old Pavilion near the first tee. Some golfers arrive as early as 11pm (most arrive later) the night before play during the peak of the summer’s high season.  Once there, wait your turn to be paired or snag a vacant tee time. There is no guarantee of success, but the early bird gets the worm! ADVANTAGE: least expensive, DISADVANTAGE: getting up very early but many consider it part of the fun and experience!

If you’re still unclear or have additional questions, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 1-800-262-5725 or complete a form here to receive a no-obligation quotation! We consider ourselves quite the experts at securing Old Course times for our clients and are happy to give you plenty of advice including the chances of success via the application, daily ballot, and standby. Year after year, hundreds of clients fulfill their dream of playing the Old Course.

Leave a Comment