Ed. note: As part of the rollout of our first-ever ranking of the Top 100 Courses in the U.K and Ireland, we invited InsideGOLF members to an exclusive live Zoom chat with our ratings czar Ran Morrissett, GOLF senior writer and course rater Josh Sens and a third member of our rating panel, Gordon Dalgleish, president of golf travel company PerryGolf. Among the topics covered by our expert panel: yep, how to land an Old Course tee time (at the 08:33 mark). Check out the video below for one of many benefits that is available exclusively to InsideGOLF members for only $20/year! Ready to join? You can do so here.
How to land a coveted tee time at the home of golf?
You could get your game in shape and try to qualify for the next Open Championship at the Old Course.
But then you’d have to wait until 2026.
Let’s get you out there sooner, with guidance from Gordon Dalgleish president of golf travel company PerryGolf.
1. Submit an online application
You could go straight to the source and try your luck through the St. Andrews Links Trust’s annual advance reservation program. The program accepts applications for times twice a year. The first deadline is in early September. The second is in early January. You must have at least two golfers in your group and no more than eight. In your application, you are asked to request the dates you’d like to play the Old Course, as well as one of the other courses in the Links Trust fold. There are seven altogether. Applications are selected randomly, but your odds of getting on this way are slim, Dalgleish says, as “demand is off the charts.”
2. Enter the ballot
It’s called the Daily Ballot, but that’s not exactly right, as it’s held every except Friday. It runs like a lottery. You enter your name, and hope you’re picked. It happens 48 hours in advance, so that Monday’s ballot is for Wednesday play, Tuesday’s ballot is for Thursday, and so on through the week. There is no ballot on Friday because on Sundays, the Old Course morphs from a golf course into a public park.
3. Put your name on the waiting list
It doesn’t get much simpler than this. Show up early as a single and talk to the starter, who will put your name on a waiting list. If a slot opens, and your name is next, off you go.
4. Go through an operator
Dozens of private operators, including Perry Golf, have contracts with the Links Trust that give them access to a bundle of tee times, which they can book up to 12 to 15 months in advance. You’ll pay extra going this route. But with cost comes convenience, and a guarantee that you’ll get to golf your ball around these ancient grounds.
Need help unriddling the greens at your home course? Pick up a custom Green Book from 8AM Golf affiliate Golf Logix.