Playing the Old Course: Changes for 2019

August is an important month for golfers looking to travel to Scotland in 2019: St. Andrews Old Course application time. As the oldest and most iconic course in golf, it’s also one of the most popular for our customers traveling to Scotland.

Because it’s a public, municipally-owned course, anyone can play on it (as long as they can pay the green fees). But its popularity means tee times book out far in advance, and that can make it difficult to secure a spot. There are several ways to try to secure a tee time, but they vary in terms of cost, as well as certainty. A majority of our clients enter into the private application process, described below.

Private Application

A majority of our clients decide to apply via private application through the St. Andrews Links Trust advance reservations program. These applications are accepted from late August to early September for the following year’s tee times. Players are notified in early October of their tee times. The private application process is generally effective in securing a tee time, although it is not guaranteed. This year’s private application will run from 10AM BST August 22 – September 5 at midnight BST.

For most of our clients, the application is the best option because of the lower cost, which allows us to plan the rest of your trip accordingly. We understand that playing the Old Course is probably the most important aspect of your trip to Scotland, and tend to book the rest of your trip around that single day.

For the first time, we are offering a full refund to our clients who don’t secure a tee time through the private application and no longer wish to travel in 2019. We are offering this because it is imperative that groups who are traveling in 2019 have their deposits in before receiving their results, so that we can build their optimal itinerary as soon as their results are received.

Guaranteed Tee Times

The Old Course offers guaranteed tee times managed by the St. Andrews Links Trust, which allocates a small number of tee times to authorized providers like Worldwide Golf Adventures in June a year in advance. These tee times to give our clients a guaranteed, advanced-bookable tee time. These tee times do come at a fairly substantial premium, which reflects their unparalleled access to the Old Course. Worldwide Golf Adventures is an authorized provider of 2019 Old Course guaranteed tee times, some of which are still available. We also offer our clients the option to reserve a guaranteed tee time and enter into the aforementioned application, allowing them the opportunity to reduce their trip price by $1,000 per golfer if they are successful.

The Ballot

As part of their commitment to letting all golf fans play, the Old Course holds a lottery ballot two days ahead of play. This allows visitors to take a chance and play the course regardless of their wealth or importance. While the ballot process may be the most democratic way to get a tee time, it’s also not guaranteed.

If your application is unsuccessful with the advance reservations program, the ballot process is your next best option. The ballot is held everyday at 2pm for tee times two days later, with the winners posted online at 4pm. The Old Course is closed on Sundays, so there are no drawings on Fridays. Roughly 50% of the tee times on the Old Course for the entire year are allocated in this manner. Clients who enter into the ballot for at least four days are nearly always successful.

We can guide you through the process of securing a tee time at the Old Course at St. Andrews with our years of experience, letting you know the best times to apply and helping to ensure you get to cross the Swilcan Bridge. Give us a call today to find out more.