How do single golfers get tee-times on the St Andrews Old Course

Booking a tee-time on the St Andrews Old course is different from other golf courses for all golfers, but there are specific restrictions for single golfers. Single golfers can try for a private advance tee-time but they can not enter the daily ballot.

Let's take a look at the options for golfers in St Andrews without a golfing companion.

1. Private advance times

Advance bookings for the St Andrews Old Course open in August the year before play and there is a two week window for golfers to submit an application for tee-times.

Singles can apply for a tee-time this way and like all golfers using this process have to request a time on a second St Andrews Links Trust course in addition to the Old Course. For Singles they don't have a choice of the second course, they must apply for a time on the Castle course and the two rounds will be allocated on consecutive days.

Further, in previous years singles times have only been available for a restricted period, for example between end April and end July. Each tee-time will be made up of 4 singles applying through this process.

There will be more requests than slots available so not everyone applying through this process will be successful.

There were no advance times available in 2022. The full guidelines for applications for 2023 will be available on the St Andrews Links website in summer 2022.

Hell bunker on the 14th hole of the St Andrews Old Course

2. The daily ballot

Single golfers can not apply for daily ballot times on the Old Course, each ballot application must be for a minimum of 2 golfers. However, there are ways around this.

Firstly, golfers staying in St Andrews in hotels or B&Bs should let their accommodation know they want to enter the ballot, and on what days. There may be other guests at the same time in a similar situation and you can be paired up. The larger the accommodation the more likely this will be. At the largest St Andrews hotels such as Rusacks, the Old Course Hotel or the Fairmont, the hotel can make the ballot application on behalf of guests if asked, and this gives them the opportunity to partner singles with other guests.

Some golfers take to forums, both golf forums and Trip Advisor, to announce their dates of travel and try to find ballot buddies.

An alternative, and more formalised option to finding a playing partner, is the Ballot Buddy service operated by Ginger Beer Golf Travel. You don't have to be a client of Ginger Beer to use the service. Register on their website, submit up to 5 dates you are looking to play and if they can find you a match they'll introduce you to each other through email and leave you to do the rest.

3. Walk up times

Walk-up times don't just work for single golfers. Lots of golfers who have arrived in St Andrews without a pre-booked time and have not been successful in the ballot will try this option. We cover this option in some detail in our earlier blog post.

Finally, and as we say in every post giving guidance on getting yourself a tee-time on the Old Course, be sure to check the Busy Dates published by the St Andrews Links Trust on their website, so you know the course is open and, if appropriate, the Daily Ballot is running, the day(s) you plan to be in St Andrews.

Further information:

Published: 12 July 2022