5 ways to get a tee time on The Old Course at St. Andrews

It’s not easy, but also not impossible, to play a round at golf’s birthplace

Trey Mullinax of the US plays from the 18th tee during the third round of the British Open golf championship on the Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland, Saturday July 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison) (Peter Morrison, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Golf fans around the world were once again treated to the sights, sounds and landmarks of St. Andrews during this past weekend’s British Open (or The Open as it’s also referred).

While it doesn’t have the flowers and lush greenery of Augusta National or the breathtaking ocean views of Pebble Beach, no golf course on the planet can match the history, names of bunkers, and general feel that you are on golf’s holy ground since it was where the game was invented hundreds of years ago.

With St. Andrews fresh on people’s minds after seeing the images this weekend, one might wonder the following: How hard IS it to get a tee time at the Old Course, the home of golf?

It actually isn’t as hard as you might believe since the course is open to the public.

Despite there being a lot of demand for tee times from golf enthusiasts around the world, here are the five best ways to get a tee time at the Old Course, according to St. Andrews’ website.

1. Win a ballot

Golfers who want a tee time at St. Andrews can play their luck and have their names drawn in a ballot that takes place 48 hours in advance.

Golfers need to provide their name, home club and handicap either online, by phone or at one of the clubhouses before 2 p.m. two days before their desired tee time. There must be a minimum of two players and a maximum of four players.

Since the course is closed on Sundays, there is no ballot drawn on Fridays.

2. Be a single golfer who joins an existing group

This is similar to “camping out” before tickets to a concert or sporting event goes on sale. Single golfers with suitable handicaps can hang around the tee area and check in with staff at the Old Pavilion to see if there is a two or three-member playing group to join up with.

During the peak season, it’s hard to not have a group with the maximum four players. But a little patience might pay off on the right day.

3. Book a package in the winter

While not as desirable (or warm) to play the Old Course from November to March, it might be easier to book a package during the non-peak season. It requires an application process and you also will have to book rounds at three different courses. But one of those is guaranteed to be the Old Course.

4. Apply for general tee times

This doesn’t guarantee you get a tee time, but applying far enough in advance could get you an opening at a certain time slot. Tee times are already booked for 2022, but again, if you plan ahead for 2023 or 2024, there could be a chance.

5. Book a package during peak season with an ‘Authorised Provider’

During peak season, it’s incredibly difficult to get on the Old Course without getting some luck in a ballot, finding a two or three-person group to pair up with, or somehow being awarded tee times.

The best way to guarantee getting on the Old Course is to book a travel package with what’s called an “Authorised Provider.” Of course, this will be costly because you have to buy a package that includes items such as rounds at other courses, meals and hotel stays.

But if you feel it’s worth it all to guarantee yourself a round at the Old Course, it might be the best way to go.

To know a provider is legit, look for an “Authorised Provider” logo displayed on their websites or social media platforms.

About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.