No matter how good a baseball player you are, unless you're a Major Leaguer, you'll never play in Dodger Stadium. No matter how good you are at basketball, you'll never play in the Staples Center, unless you're in the NBA. But if you're a decent golfer, you can play the Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland. It's where golf was first played 600 years ago, and the course has been the home to 28 British Open Championships.
The Old Course is one of seven historic golf courses managed by the St. Andrews Links Trust, which make up the largest public golf complex in Europe. The area is near Edinburgh in beautiful Scotland. Here's how golfers can play the Old Course at St. Andrews:
Golfers wanting to play the Old Course must have a handicap just to play: 24 for men and 36 for women. Players are asked to provide their home club and handicap details in advance.
The course takes guaranteed reservations starting in September for play the following year. Reservations can be made online directly with the course via the St. Andrews Links Trust website.
Golfers can enter the daily lottery, known as the Ballot, which is selected 48 hours in advance. The Ballot can be entered online, and the results are posted on the St. Andrews Links Trust website.
Qualified single golfers have it the easiest, as they are able to approach the course starter on the day they want to play, and he will assign the single golfer to one of the scheduled groups.
The Old Course Experience
The Old Course Experience offers tours and packages and has an exclusive contract to offer guaranteed tee times on the legendary course. A three-night Old Course Experience Program, with three rounds of golf, all meals, transfers, range privileges, and even a souvenir photo, is $3,570 per golfer and $1,060 per non-golfer staying with a golfer. They also offer other tours, packages, and programs for other great courses in the area and across Scotland.
Old Course Fees
For golfers who don't play the Old Course as part of a package, the greens fees are $108 in low season and $233 in high season. Caddies are available for $70 and strongly recommended, as most can offer some great historical knowledge along with indispensable golf advice.