Caddy Tips

How to get a tee time on the Old Course, St Andrews

6 ways to book the tee time of all time!

Chris Bowles
Chris Bowles 5 mins read

Playing the Old Course is one of the most memorable experiences in golf and if you are planning on making a UK golf vacation a little bit special, here’s how to go about getting a tee time on the Old Course, St Andrews.

Golfbreaks by PGA TOUR - St Andrews Links Authorized Provider

Use an Authorized Provider like Golfbreaks by PGA Tour

There are several benefits to organizing this bucket list golf vacation with a St Andrews Links authorised Tour Operator, such as Golfbreaks by PGA TOUR. A major reason is that they can guarantee an Old Course tee time on a set date and time, allowing you to plan your trip itinerary and flights around it. You will also cut out any anxiety of going through the ballot system or having to stand in line at the starter’s hut at dawn hoping to join a 3-ball!

Speaking for Golfbreaks by PGA TOUR, there are many additional benefits of booking with us. We’ll manage your whole itinerary; booking up all your tee times, accommodation, transport and even flights (which will save you hours of your time), plus we will give you top tips on where to visit, eat and go out.

Furthermore, if you have any changes of plan, either before or during your trip, we are on hand to help and make those amendments for you. All this and we will still guarantee you a great price for your package!

The 9th hole of the Old Course, St Andrews Links

Make an advanced reservation

Remember, remember the month of September! If you know that you want to play the Old Course next year, mid-September is the cut-off date to apply for advanced reservations through the St Andrews Links Trust.

After reading the guidelines on the St Andrews Links Trust website, golfers can submit an application for an advanced reservation during a 20 day period from mid-August, but there are few points to note;

  • Advanced reservation applications will be selected at random from all applicants
  • The Old Course is closed to play on Sundays
  • Check the flagged ‘busy dates’ as you are less likely to be successful if you apply for one of these days

If you are successful with your application – congratulations! Please let us know, as Golfbreaks by PGA TOUR would be delighted to organize your trip around your Old Course tee times.

If however, you are unsuccessful in receiving an advanced reservation but are still planning to play the Old Course, then not to worry, there are a number of other good options.

The 8 foot deep Valley of Sin on the Old Course, St Andrews Links

Enter the daily ballot

Almost half of the tee times on the Old Course, St Andrews are allocated in the ballot and anyone can enter 48 hours before the day of play as long as your group is two or more.

Applying for a Saturday or a Thursday will aid your chances of being successful as these days have a greater number of ballot tee times available. Also, remember to present your handicap certificates before playing the course, with the minimum handicap requirements being 24 for men and 36 for ladies.

The 5th hole of the Old Course, St Andrews Links

‘Walk on’ as a Single

If ballot success is alluding you or you are a night owl, set your alarm and get yourself to the starter's hut at first light. The starter will then proceed to fill the gaps in the day's tee sheet with singletons.

To stand a chance of securing an Old Course tee time, you need to get there early, stand in line and be patient, as no doubt quite a few other golfers will have had the same idea. Note that if you are a group you will need to split into singles, but on the upside this is a well-trodden path to Old Course glory, and you'll make lots of new friends!

The Swilcan Bridge on the 18th hole of the Old Course, St Andrews

Play in the winter

If you are prepared to play in low season and endure some 'seasonal' Scottish weather, then you can apply for a three-round package directly from the Links Trust. This includes a round on the Old Course and the pick of two others from the seven courses in Links Trust, such as the New, Jubilee or Castle courses.

Note however, you will need to be prepared to play off mats on the Old Course and you need to have booked accommodation in either St Andrews or North East Fife. And remember to bring a few thermal layers!

New Course, St Andrews Golf Links

Find a member

Finally, there is always a chance you might bump into your tee time on the Old Course in the Jigger Inn. Residents of St Andrews and members of local golf clubs have priority on the ballot and reservation system. So, be friendly to everyone you meet in St Andrews as you never know, you could find yourself in the express lane to playing on the Old Course.

So, we conclude our summary of the ways that you can play the most famous golf course in the world.

If you need help planning a trip to St Andrews, then please reach out to the team at Golfbreaks by PGA TOUR. We have been booking trips to Scotland and worldwide since 1998 and have a wealth of knowledge on St Andrews and the surrounding areas.

Feeling inspired?
Secure your golfing legacy, visit the 'Home of Golf' to tick off the course at the top of your bucket list! And don't forget to enter the ballot below!

Published

Chris Bowles avatar
Chris Bowles

Senior Golf Vacation Specialist - UK & Ireland

Senior Golf Vacation Specialist, I help golfers find their ideal golfing getaway

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