I’m not going to try to explain too much about golf in St Andrews. That’s partly from ignorance, and partly because I know it will have been done better already somewhere else.
Re-inventing the wheel is not one of my skills.
The basics. The Old Course is a public place, taken care of by the Links Trust. The Royal & Ancient is golf’s administration body.
If you would like to play the Old Course, then if you qualify (in other words, you are a genuine golfer with a handicap of 24 or less - 36 for women) your name goes into a daily ballot. The winners get a game. The rest can play on another course. Or sit in the pub and sulk, I suppose.
There other ways, but the ballot is the best known.
It’s £150 per player for a round at the Old Course in peak season. It goes down to £70 for January & February.
The other courses in/about the town are:-
The first 6 are run by the Links Trust, as well as the Old Course. You have 10 available. You will find several more close by - say a 10 mile radius - and other excellent courses elsewhere in the eastern end of Fife.
Equipment: Check with the club where you'll be playing about dress code, spike and so on.
The Courses of St. Andrews:
There are 7 golf courses, all managed by the Links Trust:
- The Old course
- The Castle Course
- The New Course
- The Jubilee Course
- The Eden Course
- The Strathryrum Course
- The Balgrove Course
Booking the Tee Time:
First of all, a handicap is needed for the Old Course (which is 24 for men and 36 for women). - some others (e.g., Castle Course are accessible without the official handicap). But we want the Old Course, right?
If you're able to plan far ahead or are quite flexible with your work, you can apply for the following year each September for advance reservations. For those lucky, there is a daily ballot, and single golfers can also try their luck with the starter to see if there are any slots within groups scheduled to go out.
For certainty, there is always the Old Course Experience that guarantees a tee time.
Obviously, this tip is about golf, the whole golf and nothing but golf!
From these links, you can find many websites about anything related to golf.
Since I didn't play the course here is the words of an avid golfer:
"The Old Course at St. Andrews is a classic "out and back" links course. With few exceptions you play out in one direction and play back in the opposite. Standing on the first tee the course doesn't look like much and you're left wondering what all the fuss is about. There are no trees, no hills and everything looks quite flat and uninteresting. (There's even a road that runs right across the first fairway!) Don't let all this fool you. It can be a tiger. Links courses play entirely differently than parkland courses or for that matter just about any other kind of course. Don't let its looks lull you into complacency.
To play the old course you must make reservations at least a year in advance, and during the busy summer it costs 130 pounds. There are 5 other courses that are less expensive in and around St. Andrews to enjoy if you can't enjoy the "Old Course".
To book the old course use the website address listed below.
This course is the oldest golf course in the world. Home of Golf where golf was first played 600 years ago. It stil remains a real test of golf for today's champions. Despite its reputation and status, it is a public course and is one of six public courses on St Andrews Links.
The Old Course has evolved over time and
was not designed by any one architect.
In a nice sunny day, the course and the near by sea are a great picture
As with so many Scottish towns and cities, St Andrews caters for the golfer. But here is something more - St Andrews is seen as the home of golf. In addition to the superbly located golf course (with several options), which frequently plays host to the British Open, is the Golf Museum adjoining the course.
Golf course just about appears in this photo (sporting tip didn't exist on the old VT -:))
Equipment: Golf pushes none of my buttons, but the one thing I noticed is that the courses are far from exclusive and are seemingly open to everyone.