“How can I get a time on the Old ?”….This must be the most commonly asked question for anyone wanting to come to St Andrews, so we thought it might be useful to explain the various options open to you.
There are 6 main ways of getting an all important game on the Old, and we’ve listed them all below:
You can apply by email directly to the Links Trust via their online pre-application in early September. One of the advantages of applying by this route is that you won't pay a penny more than the standard greenfees, but there are no guarantees…it is essentially a lottery. You’ll find the online pre-application forms are very easy to fill in, and you'll need to have all players' names and their club & handicap details ready, and then give a spread of dates that you can play – the more dates you put down, the better your chances. Results are published by November and you'll have to pay the Links Trust directly for those two games. We can then look after all the rest of the golf arrangements.
The Old Course Experience also offer an advanced trade application which operates much in the same way as the Links Trust advanced application above. We can send in the application on your behalf and the dates for this process are from early October, with the results again announced by beginning of November. For this OCE application, we just need to know the name of the lead player, and what dates you can play…again, the more dates you put down will be to your advantage.
The Old Course Experience is the only agency in St Andrews approved by the Links Trust to provide guaranteed packages on the Old. These packages normally comprise of a 3 night stay at either the Old Course Hotel, Rusacks, the Fairmont or St Andrews Golf Hotel – and with 3 rounds of golf, including the Old, New or Jubilee and either Carnoustie or Kingsbarns. Other benefits include lunches each day in the Links clubhouse, dinner one night at your hotel, return transfers for your golf games, and a souvenir photograph taken on the first tee of the Old Course.
We can enter your names into the ballot 48 hours before the day you want to play. The results are published that afternoon, and we will inform you on your mobile or at your accommodation of the results. We will also move around any of your other games to accommodate for the ballot, and all the courses in the St Andrews area are very good at trying to accommodate for ballot results. The greenfee will be payable direct to the starter on the day of play and all golfers must have a valid handicap certificate with them to present to the starter before their round - the current handicap limits are 24 for men and 36 for women.
If you have not been lucky with the ballot or would simply like to do a walk up start one day, the Links Trust keeps back times for solo golfers and twoballs to turn up each day and wait in line for gaps in the starting sheet, both in the morning and afternoon. We would advise clients to get down to the starter at daybreak and then the starter will assign start times for those in line. The same process happens after lunch.
The Links Trust also assigns start times immediately after the last of the ballot entries have gone out in the afternoon – these are called ‘dark times’. If you go along to see the starter in the afternoon, he will be able to tell you what time to come back and this is a very effective way of getting a game, and there’s generally always enough time to complete a round as the daylight hours are so long in the summer months.