The Swilken Bridge at the Old Course, St Andrews Scotland

How to get a Tee Time on the Old Course, St Andrews

July 7, 2022
Scotland

St Andrews Old Course is not only the home of golf and the most famous course on the planet, but it is also the busiest.

With this year’s 150th Open Championship being held at the Old Course, combined with pent-up demand from years of covid restrictions, our guaranteed tee times are now sold out for the remainder of 2022 and throughout 2023. 

​​​​​​​However, there are many methods of securing a tee time on the Old Course, supported by our Premier Golf team based in St Andrews;

  1. Authorised Provider of Guaranteed Tee Times

Premier Golf is one of a handful of companies in the world appointed ‘Authorised Provider’ of Old Course tee times by the St Andrews Links Trust. However, given these limited and premium-priced tee times are usually sold 18-24 months in advance and 2022 and 2023 are already sold out, we’re now only able to take bookings for 2024. 

Whilst this route does provide a guaranteed tee time for those looking to book and play in 2024, it is also the most expensive option. The St Andrews Links Trust also requires that an additional course is added to the reservation, such as the New, Jubilee, or Castle Courses. Premier Golf will recommend including these premium times as part of a group package of seven or more days.

  1. Direct Application

For those who plan a year or more in advance, there is a reasonable chance to obtain a pre-allocated tee time through ‘Direct Application’ (if your trip is deposited by mid-August the previous year). For instance, if you register and deposit for a 2023 trip by mid-August of 2022, we’ll help you fill out the application for you to submit. Usually, results are announced by late September or October 2022. 

It is also worth noting that your chances increase if you apply across a wider range of dates. For instance, instead of picking one single day, consider applying across a 1-2 week span of availability for the best chances. If successful, this is the most cost-efficient way to play. If not successful, then we will default to the Ballot. Again, for those who are successful, The St Andrews Links Trust requires that another of their courses be added to the Old Course reservation.

  1. The Ballot

Those booking closer to dates of travel, or those who did not get a Direct Allocation or Authorised Provider tee time, must rely on the ‘Ballot’ lottery for a tee time. In this instance, we recommend at least four days in St Andrews to give the best chance of success (Wed to Sat is usually best). 

Half of all tee times on The Old Course are allocated this way, and therefore, the large majority of visitors must use the ballot for their tee time. With the ballot, applications are made in groups of 2 to 4, and if you have a larger group, the tee times will most likely be split up and you probably won’t all play together.

Our local team in St Andrews will manage the process for you; we will enter you in the ballot and the results are announced at roughly 4:30pm two days prior. For instance, to play on a Friday, we will submit your ballot entry on Wednesday morning and the results will be announced on Wednesday at 4:30, which gives us enough time to move other bookings to fit your itinerary. We will enter your group each day until hopefully, you are successful, and our local office will stay in contact with you regarding the results. 

Do not attempt to do your own ballot, as any duplicate names or applications will be automatically disqualified. Do not attempt to bribe the starter either, as that too will result in disqualification (they have seen it all!).

The exact schedule of your golf while in St Andrews will be adjusted to accommodate availability on The Old Course where possible. For example, your round at Carnoustie or Kingsbarns may be switched if you secure a tee time at the Old Course through a successful ballot.

  1. Walk On

Singles and doubles can sometimes secure a tee time if there are vacancies within groups of 2 or 3, or no-shows. It is recommended to arrive the night before and stay outside all night, before going to the Starters Hut to place your name on the day waitlist when it opens (summer season about 06:00). First come, first served. There are no shortcuts and no services that will sit in the queue for you.

  1. Explore Elsewhere

Yes, the Old Course is the home of golf, and on every Golfer’s bucket list. However, you can still soak in the history and atmosphere without a tee time. The course is built on common land with public access, so why not take a walk or a guided tour, cross the Swilcan Bridge and walk up the 18th fairway, without your clubs?

In fact, many of our clients feedback that a number of other courses across Scotland, famous and hidden gems, provide a greater golfing experience than the Old Course. So why not consider an itinerary which includes visiting the hallowed land, but where playing golf is enjoyed at Carnoustie, Turnberry and Troon?

For more information on accessing the Old Course and Scottish tours, contact our sales team on 866.260.4409 or email [email protected].

NOTE: The Old Course first tee Starter will always demand handicap proof for all players on the day of play (max 36 for everyone) from a golf association handicap card (USGA GHIN), phone app verification or a handicap printout. They might also check photo ID’s to make sure the handicap card matches the person using it. The Old Course is always closed on Sundays and the last three weeks of September due to the R&A Autumn Meeting and the Dunhill Links Championship.