How to Play The Old Course at St Andrews
It's not likely that you'll ever take to the hallowed pitch at Wembley or step on the iconic Centre Court at Wimbledon, but you can play the legendary Old Course at St Andrews.
This unique and revered layout exudes history and memory from every pore, from the days of Allan Robertson and Old Tom Morris to the present day, the Auld Grey Toun has been at the heart of the golf universe.
Bobby Jones, Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods have all secured the Claret Jug at this grandest of stages, with the 150th Open Championship set to etch another chapter of that storied tale in 2022.
If you wish to walk in the footsteps of that greatness, it's an easier process than you may think, with several attractive options available to help you experience the round of a lifetime.
Famously, nearly half of tee times each year are drawn from a daily ballot in the most democratic of fashions. Golfers have to enter as a two, three or four ball, 48 hours before they wish to play, with that random draw being made two days ahead of the round. Should you be successful, then you'll take to that celebrated 1st tee, but if not, you can always try again or play a round on the tremendous New, Jubilee, Castle or Eden courses as an alternative.
Due to the 150th Open, this option isn't available for 2022, but in normal years, golfers can apply in the autumn to play the next summer. Applicants will choose dates to play and will be drawn from the pack to best fit that requirement to ensure their tee time months in advance. Certainly the best option for those coming from overseas.
The COVID-19 pandemic has complicated this process, but it's hoped that the singles list will return in the future. Golfers who have been unsuccessful in the ballot can literally queue - often overnight - and be paired up with any group that has a free spot during the day. There is no guarantee of getting a time, and it can be exhausting, but this is the most romantic of ways to play the Old Course.
Each winter, the St Andrews Links Trust offers packages to golfers that include a guaranteed time on the Old Course. Golfers will also have the chance to play two additional rounds on a choice of the other layouts on the peninsula. Fairway mats will be in operation, but the package offers excellent value for money on those crisp winter days.
Authorised Provider Times
For those who want to have their tee time secured well in advance, there are several Golf Tour Operators and Local Accommodation Providers, such as Golfbreaks, offering packages that feature guaranteed Old Course rounds. These are limited and usually come at a premium cost - but it's a way to ensure your date with destiny.
Playing the Old Course at St Andrews is a lifetime goal for many golfers - a round that will create unforgettable memories. And thanks to these various pathways - it's tantalisingly within your grasp.
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