St Andrews Links is the most renowned golfing landscape in the world. It is the Home of Golf, the place where the game began and has been developed and nurtured over six centuries. At the heart of the Links, is the Old Course but it has five 18 hole courses and a nine hole course alongside it. These are all public courses and with the seventh course, The Castle Course, on a site to the south east of St Andrews, comprise the largest public golf complex in Europe. The Old Course is unrivalled for its history and prestige where golf was first played in the 1400s. The course has evolved over time and was not designed by any one architect. The people who
played a major role in shaping it are Daw Anderson (1850s), Old Tom Morris (1860s- 1900) and Dr Alister Mackenzie (1930s). The course is closed on Sundays.
There are a number of ways to book a tee time on the Old Course as per St. Andrews Links. First of all, you have to maintain a suitable handicap: 24 for men and 36 for women. A letter of introduction is not acceptable as proof of handicap. There are no handicap limits on the other St. Andrews Links courses.
There are 6, 18-hole courses that are part of the St. Andrews Links: Old Course, New Course, Jubilee, Eden, Castle and Strathtyrum. There is also a 9-hole course called Balgove.
Course availability and information:
Before considering dates you hope to play at St Andrews Links please check dates which highlight closures, major tournaments and larger traditional events on all their courses. August and October are extremely busy months on the Old Course due to several annual tournaments and selecting dates within these months will limit your chances of success. There is a minimum two course policy when booking the Old Course for play from April to October. This requires golfers to book and play at least one of the other courses in addition to the Old Course. Wherever possible they will book the second course of your choice but if your choice of second course is not available they will book one of the other five 18 hole courses and the two rounds should be played within a few days of each other.
September applications for play on the Old Course are not accepted as the course is heavily committed to annual competition.On days when the course is open for public play in September the normal 48hr Ballot will be in operation for any available tee times.
- The Old Course can be requested Monday to Friday only
- The New Course can be requested Sunday to Friday (not Saturday).
- On Saturdays, a limited number of times from 2.00 pm onwards are available to book on the Jubilee, Eden and Strathtyrum Courses subject to daylight and availability. These courses can also be requested Sunday to Friday.
- The Castle Course may be requested for any day of the week.
- If applying as a single golfer, limited Old Course tee times are only available between April and July.
- if you are a group applying for play on the Old Course during high season please note that they can only accept requests from a lead golfer on behalf of the group and the
maximum number of golfers accepted on one application is 8.
- trolleys are available for hire on all courses but are subject to some restrictions at certain times on the Old Course: trolleys are not permitted on the Old Course between November and March. A trolley may only be used on the Old Course from 12 noon onwards between April and October.Trolleys can be hired from the Starter on the day of play. A limited number of buggies are available on all courses but certain restrictions apply.
- Caddies and club hire can be requested for all courses
- Fairway mats will be in use during the low season on all courses
Old Course tee times can be acquired directly from the St Andrews Links through their annual advance reservations program. The program accepts applications twice a year for tee times from private parties that require at least two (2) golfers but no more than eight (8) who wish to play the following season. Applicants are notified in about two weeks whether they have been successful or not. If you are, you will pay St. Andrews Links directly. If you are not successful, you can look at other options.
If you're unsuccessful with the St Andrews Links advance reservations process, the daily ballot is an option. It is basically a lottery process. Every day in St Andrews (except Friday), St. Andrews Links accepts local applications until 2 pm for play two days later. For example, Monday’s ballot is for Wednesday; Thursday is for Saturday and so on. There is no Friday Ballot because the Old Course is closed on Sunday. Winners are posted at 4 pm around town in St Andrews and online. The daily ballot may be a reasonable alternative for golfers who are staying in St Andrews for a number of days (increasing chances of success) or who do not have an absolute requirement to play the Old Course. A challenge with the ballot is also how to manage the rest of your golf schedule given you will have tee times reserved elsewhere that would need to be changed if your good fortune in accessing an Old Course time creates a conflict with your planned schedule. Further, if there are more than four players in your travelling party, there is a strong possibility that even if you have some success with the ballot, some members may get to play and some not, and at the very least your group’s play would almost certainly be entirely split up, and may be on different days, causing disarray to your group’s schedule.
Single golfers with suitable handicaps who wish to play the Old Course without an existing tee time should check in at the Old Pavilion on the day of play and the staff will do their best to join them with a two or three-ball group. There is no obligation on the existing golfers to make up a four-ball but common practice is that single golfers are warmly welcomed. With patience, this can be successful but there are no guarantees.