4 ways to book an Old Course at St. Andrews tee time, according to an expert
Ed. note: as part of the rollout of our first-ever Top 100 Courses ranking in the UK and Ireland, we have invited InsideGOLF members to an exclusive live Zoom chat with our Czar Ran Morrissett, Senior Writer and GOLF Course Reviewer Josh Sens and a third member of our ratings panel, Gordon Dalgleish, President of golf travel company PerryGolf. Among the topics covered by our panel of experts: yes, how to get an Old Course tee time (at 08:33). Watch the video below to discover one of the many benefits available exclusivelily to InsideGOLF members for only $20/year! Ready to join us? You can do it here.
How do you land a coveted tee time in the birthplace of golf?
You could get your game in shape and try to qualify for the next Open Championship at the Old Course.
But then we would have to wait until 2026.
Let’s get there sooner, with advice from Gordon Dalgleish, president of golf travel company PerryGolf.
1. Submit an online application
You can go straight to the source and try your luck with the St. Andrews Links Trust’s annual early bird program. The program accepts applications twice a year. The first deadline is early September. The second is in early January. You must have at least two golfers in your group and no more than eight. In your application, you are asked to request the dates you would like to play the Old Course, as well as any of the other courses in the Links Trust strand. There are seven in all. Applications are selected at random, but your chances of passing this way are slim, says Dalgleish, because “the demand is out of this world.”
2. Enter the ballot
This is called daily voting, but it’s not quite accurate, as it takes place every day except Friday. It works like a lottery. You enter your name and hope to be chosen. This happens 48 hours in advance, so Monday polling is for Wednesday play, Tuesday polling is for Thursday, and so on throughout the week. There is no voting on Fridays because on Sundays the Old Course transforms from a golf course into a public park.
3. Put your name on the waiting list
It doesn’t get much simpler than that. Show up early as a single person and speak to the starter, who will put your name on a waiting list. If a slot opens up and your name is next, it’s on.
4. Go through an operator
Dozens of private operators, including Perry Golf, have contracts with the Links Trust that give them access to a set of tee times, which they can book up to 12 to 15 months in advance. You will pay extra to take this route. But with the cost comes the convenience and the guarantee that you will be able to golf around these old courses.