Travel to St. Andrews advice, please.

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By Rick D

  • 9 Replies
  1. Rick D

    Rick D
    Weston, WI

    My wife and I are planning a golf vacation to Scotland in late August/early September, 2018.

    She's not handicap eligible for the Old Course, but I'd like to try getting on as a single. We're planning on staying in town 4 nights and playing courses in the area.

    I've been all over the St. Andrews website and have read elsewhere the course is closed on Sundays. Is that for all of the St. Andrews courses?

    With the cost of flight being variable, depending on the day of the week, we're weighing options of the pattern of days we're there. I think tee times would be easier to get Monday-Thursday, she's looking at cheaper flights that would have us there over the weekend.

    Please offer any advice you think might be of help.

  2. Hi Rick,

    First off, enjoy the trip and soak it all in. I was just over there for the first time in August and the only way I can describe the experience is to say it is magical. I went through a golf travel company to book all of my rounds, so I don't have much advice on getting tee times or course closures.

    In terms of courses, The Old Course is unreal and beyond special. From the first tee shot to the last putt on 18 I felt like I was in heaven (and to be honest, I think I was). I also played Kingsbarns, Carnoustie, Royal Troon and Turnberry. All were amazing in their own way and I would go back to any of them any day. Obviously Troon and Turnberry are not close to St Andrews, but Carnoustie and Kingsbarns were amazing and not too far away.

    Anyway, thanks for letting me reminisce a little and hopefully others will chime in with more advice. Have a blast!

    - Mike
  3. Barry S

    Barry S
    Oakville, ON

    Wow Mitch, sounds like a dream trip!
  4. Jerry M

    Jerry M
    Dallas, TX

    Getting on as a single should not be a problem. Make sure you bring your handicap certificate to the first tee and present it to the Starter. The maximum handicap is 24 for men and 36 for ladies. Single golfers who wish to play the Old Course without an existing tee time should check in at the Old Pavilion on the day of play and the staff will do their best to join them with a two or three-ball group. There is no obligation on the existing golfers to make up a four-ball but common practice is that single golfers are warmly welcomed. Get there early! You may have to wait a while but it is worth it. You are correct, course is closed on Sunday. Check out the Ladies putting green to the right of the 1st hole at at the Old Course. It is wild! Get a caddy....great experience and they will help you get around the course. Check the calendar for events. I believe the Old Course is the only one closed on Sundays. If I were going back, I would play the New Course and the Eden course.
  5. Trevor D

    Trevor D
    Bragg Creek,

    First off, you're going to have an amazing time. St. Andrews really is magical and the Old Lady is worth the wait.

    Yes, she's closed on Sundays as it becomes a public park for lack of a better term. I was lucky enough to play it three times when I was over there and only once was I actually planning on playing there as part of the package I paid for.

    My advice to get on the Old Course is to get in with a caddie. Find an old boy, have him carry your bag and book that same guy for a round the following day. After your first round, give him a HEFTY tip. Don't skimp out. After you've left him an amount to get his attention, mention to him that you'd like to get on the Old Course if the tee sheet is light. Understand that the caddies can't directly get you a time, but they do have access to enough people that know when it's busy and when they can fit in a single. That's how we got on both times, without a tee time, and within 24 hours of landing in Scotland. I ended up using the same caddie for all 6 rounds I played in St. Andrews and he was outstanding.

    As mentioned by Mike D, DO NOT skip out on Carnoustie (no words for how amazing that course is) or Kingsbarns (probably the best course I've ever played).

    Other must do's while you're there:
    -Fish 'n Chips and a pint at the Jigger
    -A beer at the Duvegan
    -The British Golf Museum
    -Playing a ball out of Hell bunker, even if you don't hit into it.
    -Food and drinks at the Road Hole Bar.

    Also, the New course doesn't get a ton of love, but it's another GREAT track you should play if you have the chance.


    Trevor D
  6. 19hole

    Reading, MA

    Stay at the Fairmont just up the road, it is a great hotel. As a single, get to the starter at 5:30 AM and get on the list will get out . It may take until 8:00-8:30 but you will get out.

    Take a caddie. It is well worth the money. Some of the tee shots are no very straight forward and getting a good line of the tee is a great help.

    Play Kingsbarns! A fantastic layout with incredible views. If you feel brave, play Carnoustie. It is the hardest track in the UK and probably the hardest in the world if it is windy.

    Leave the lob wedge in the bag until you get in the bunkers, even then don't be afraid to play out sideways or backwards. Learn how to play a hybrid from 10 yards or so off the greens, you will score so much better.

    If you have extra cash to spend, stay a night at Gleneagle and play the Centenaary Course. The Ryder Cup was played there, play forward and enjoy the walk.
  7. Speedy

    Newmarket, NH

    I don't have any advice but a few days ago I played with 2 guys that have been to St. Andrews and boy did they talk HIGHLY of it... They recommend going there over Bandon Dunes, Pebble Beach, etc.. So have a great time and hopefully you get some great advice, looks like it so far....

  8. Dale V

    Dale V
    Escondido, CA

    I did the St. Andrews Golf Week last April. It’s a great way to go if you are a single golfer with a non-playing spouse. Great way to play multiple courses and fun to meet and play with other people. Look it up on the internet. It might be right for you.
  9. Brian O

    Brian O
    Omaha, NE

    I just went on my first trip to Scotland back in July and it was nothing short of amazing. As far as courses go in the area, I will echo the sentiments of everyone else here by suggesting that you play both Kingsbarns and Carnoustie. If I remember correctly Kingsbarns in about 30 minutes or less away from St. Andrews and Carnoustie is probably only 45 minutes to an hour away also. The last five holes at Carnoustie are so difficult you just have to laugh, but it's worth it especially since it's hosting The Open this coming year.

    As a single you shouldn't have much of an issue getting on at the Old Course, especially if you go later in August or September. However, if you don't get on the Old Course, the New Course or the Jubilee course are very similar to the Old Course just without the history and are very easy to get on. The Castle Course is another solid option as well, I didn't get to play it but it looks great and I haven't heard anything bad about it. Hope this helps.

  10. Sorry to be late to this, but I'll chime in anyway. If you're there on a Sunday, see if you can book a round at Crail. Lovely old course, right on the sea, less than a half hour away. Other really good (relatively unknown, so less costly) links within a short drive are at Elie, Lundin, Panmure. I've stayed in the middle of town twice, I recommend the Burness House in Murray Park. I like being in town, walking distance to everything, as compared to the Fairmont (3 miles away) or even the Old Course Hotel (half a mile from the town center), and the cost is MUCH less. For a proper pint of hand-pulled real ale, walk up to the Whey Pat, just outside the old city gate at the west end of South Street.

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