It is said that 9 out of 10 people who visit St Andrews don’t play golf. However, there are plenty of attractions and historical sites away from the famous Links. If you do have the intention of playing one of the 230,000 rounds which take place here every year, you will be spoiled for choice.
Booking golf in St Andrews can be a daunting process, so we’ve put together this quick guide.
Single golfers are not able to book tee times in advance on any of the St Andrews Links courses. Instead, approach the starter on the day they wish to play to be matched with an existing 2 or 3 ball. Please note that in the high season there is frequently a queue for the starter, which forms several hours before the first 6am tee times. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee of success.
There are several different ways to book the Old Course. Advance group applications can be made using this form available on the Links website.
Approximately 50% of tee times for the Old Course each year are decided by the daily ballot, or lottery, which is drawn for play on every day. There is no play on Sundays and tournament days.
Players enter the ballot by submitting their names, handicaps and home clubs to the Links before 2pm, 48 hours prior to the day they wish to play. For example, for a tee time on Wednesday they would enter their names on Monday. There is no ballot on Friday as the Old Course is closed on Sundays. As above, there must be at least 2 players in the group.
Any group entering the ballot has the option of choosing whether they would like to play in the morning or afternoon and can state how many caddies they require at this point. Please note that you are far more likely to be successful if you do not specify the time at which you would like to play.
To enter names, visit a St Andrews Links Clubhouse, the starter’s box, or by phone (01334 466666). The results of each ballot are announced around 5pm on the same day, and are available by phoning or online.
If you are successful in the Old Course ballot, remember to bring your current handicap certificate to present to the starter on the day of your round. The maximum handicap for men is 24, and for ladies 36.
During the low season there are often tee times available on the Old Course. These can be reserved by phone the day before on a first come first served basis, and the starter will allocate any empty times in person on the day.
Golf on six of the remaining seven St Andrews Links courses can be booked online or by phone with the St Andrews Links. The 9 hole Balgove Course is not available to book in advance. The reservations department at the Links can be reached on 01334 466718, and there is also an online booking portal.
Finally, one of the best things about a golfing trip to St Andrews is the rich selection of courses outwith the town itself. Fife boasts some of the oldest and most breathtaking courses in the world and some, such as the Balcomie Links at Crail, were laid out by Old Tom Morris himself. Many of these courses are considered hidden gems, and rightly so.
To book these course, phone the clubs individually to book tee times or some provide facilities to book online.
Kingsbarns: 01334 460806 (7.2 miles)
Crail Balcomie Links: 01333 450686 (12.1 miles)
Crail Craighead: 01333 450686 (12.1 miles)
Lundin Links: 01333 320202 (12.1 miles)
Scotscraig: 01382 558515 (10.8 miles)
Ladybank: 01337830814 (15.5 miles)
Drumoig: 01382 541800 (8.6 miles)
Carnoustie: 01241 802271 (23.8 miles)
If you would like any further information, call us at the Ardgowan on 01334 472970, or use the online enquiry form below.