Old Course at St Andrews – How To Get A Tee Time

Old Course at St Andrews - How To Get A Tee Time by Gordon Dalgleish, President of PerryGolf
PerryGolf is an Authorized Provider of Guaranteed Old Course Tee Times

How can you get a tee time to play the Old Course, St Andrews?

PerryGolf is an Authorized Provider of Guaranteed Old Course Tee Times. PerryGolf President Gordon Dalgleish explains your options for getting a tee time on the Old Course, St Andrews.

Gordon Dalgleish tees off 18 at the Old Course, St Andrews
Gordon Dalgleish, President of PerryGolf, tees off hole 18 at the Old Course, St Andrews. Photography by Kevin Kirk - Recounter

The 2018 season begins an important era at the Old Course of St Andrews. St Andrews Links Trust takes back control of the allocation of all their commercial starting times, the responsibility for which was outsourced to a third party for the past twenty years. PerryGolf has done business with St Andrews Links Trust since 1984, the longest such relationship of any existing tour operator. PerryGolf has accepted an invitation to become an Authorized Provider, and in doing so continues this long held and valued association with the Trust. Our season long allocation of starting times for 2018 ensures we are in a very strong position to accommodate clients from around the world who seek to make the pilgrimage to the Home of Golf with secure and guaranteed advance arrangements to play The Old Course.

St Andrews Links Trust offers a variety of routes by which to play the Old Course, providing differing levels of assurance and advance confirmation. In order that our prospective clients are aware of these routes and may make an informed choice, we list them below, starting with our guaranteed and earliest bookable times to those carrying a greater risk of disappointment and without certainty of play or timings.

  1. Authorized Provider

    PerryGolf, as an Authorized Provider, has access to specific Old Course inventory by early June of the preceding year, and can provide a choice of confirmed starting times on the Old Course for clients who wish to have PerryGolf create them a customized golf trip to Scotland with guaranteed play on the Old Course. This is by far the easiest, furthest advance bookable, and most stress-free way to guarantee confirmed play on the Old Course.

  2. Private application

    Old Course tee times may be acquired directly by the individual from St Andrews Links Trust through their annual Advance Reservations program. The program accepts applications twice a year for starting times from small groups who wish to play the following season. The first deadline is in early September for an application which requires the dates you would like to play the Old Course plus one additional Links Trust course. The second date is in early January when a small number of unused or returned starting times may be resold. Applicants are notified in about four weeks whether they have been successful or not. These September and January processes are usually heavily oversubscribed, in particular during summer months. At the very least the uncertainty created by waiting for the notification in late October or February can cause challenges even when successful with confirming other aspects of your trip.

  3. Ballot

    For golfers who are unsuccessful with the St Andrews Links Trust Advance Reservations program, the Ballot is an option. It is a lottery process. Almost every day in St Andrews (except Friday), the Links Trust accepts applications until 2pm for play two days later. 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, and similarly there are various dates when the Old Course is unavailable due to R&A and other events. Successful applicants are posted online at 4pm.

    The Ballot may be an acceptable alternative for golfers who are staying in St Andrews for a significant number of days (increasing chances of success) or who do not have an absolute requirement to play the Old Course. Demand does vary at different times and due to various factors. It is of course generally heavily oversubscribed during peak summer months. 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.

  4. Single golfer walk up

    Very early every morning a line gathers outside the Old Course Pavilion. When the starter opens for the day he records the list of single golfers who register to be available to step in when a single golfer opening may occur during the course of the day. The earliest arrivers may be successful, others unsuccessful.

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About the Author: Gordon Dalgleish is the Co-Founding Director of PerryGolf, the leading provider of international golf vacations. You can find him on Google+ and LinkedIn.