Everything you need to know for a golf trip to St Andrews

Those flights, costs and how to get a green fee for the Old Course at the Home of Golf

St Andrews is known as the Home of Golf for a reason and with seven courses to choose from you’re never short of somewhere to hit a few balls. Photograph: Getty

St Andrews is known as the Home of Golf for a reason and with seven courses to choose from you’re never short of somewhere to hit a few balls. Photograph: Getty

 

St Andrews is the ultimate golf destination for history, quality courses and a town that is just dominated by the game.

It’s known as the Home of Golf for a reason and with seven courses to choose from you’re never short of somewhere to hit a few balls. There are numerous travel companies to choose from if you want everything organised but if you’d prefer to do it yourself here is all you need to know for a golf trip to St Andrews and, crucially, that all-important tee time at the Old Course.

What airport is best for St Andrews?

Edinburgh and Glasgow are convenient options to fly into for a trip to St Andrews and Ryanair and Aer Lingus offer daily flights to both airports from Dublin.

Coming from other parts of the country there are also plenty of options – Aer Lingus flies to Edinburgh and Glasgow from Cork while it also offers a route from Shannon to Edinburgh. If you’re coming from Belfast, EasyJet travels to both airports from Belfast International while FlyBe does the same from George Best Airport. Depending on the time of year you go you can get some cheap deals, particularly if you travel midweek – with Ryanair flights in particular sometimes costing less than €30 return. It’s also worth keeping an eye out for the January sales which most airlines run.

How much will it cost to bring my golf clubs?

It costs a bit and, in many cases, more than the fare you’ve paid for your flight. Ryanair offer the cheapest rates at €35 each way while EasyJet charge €37 each way and Aer Lingus and FlyBe set the cost at €40 each way.

Once I get there what’s the best way to get to St Andrews?

While there are trains from Edinburgh and Glasgow to the town of St Andrews, it can be quite a hassle particularly when you’re lugging your clubs with you. There are plenty of options for private transfers which can be particularly handy if you have a big group. However, hiring a car can work out cheaper than a transfer depending on how long you’re going for. For instance if you were going this week for three days a five-seater with space for golf clubs will cost about €100 on rentalcars.com.

So, how do I get a tee time?

Outside of the Old Course, tee times at the other six courses in St Andrews are not overly difficult to come by if you book in advance. The Castle Course is usually the most popular, followed by the New Course and would require booking well in advance while the Jubilee, Eden and Strathtyrum are less busy but this is St Andrews so they’re still pretty popular. Forms for advanced booking can be found on the St Andrews website.

The Old Course is one of the most sought-after tee times in the world. But because of it’s status as a public course there are still three ways to get tee times. Online advance booking fills up well in advance – it’s already closed for 2020 – but there are other ways. The most popular is the online ballot where you enter your details two days before the day you want to play and then just hope that your name is pulled out on the day. The best advice is to enter the ballot on the day you arrive in St Andrews (for play two days later) and hope for the best.

The final option is also popular but means queuing up outside the clubhouse on the morning you want to play. During the summer people usually begin queuing at about 4am and once you get to the top of the queue organisers will try to pair you with a group at some stage that day. But beware that your group may be split up and, during the summer months, your tee time may not be until close to 6pm.

How much are green fees?

Prices for 2020 haven’t been published yet but for this year’s high season (April 15th to October 13th) green fees on the Old Course were £190. Outside of those dates prices are cheaper with the lowest green fee costing £90 between January 1st and March 31st although do note that you will most likely be playing off mats.

High season prices for the Castle Course are set at £120, £80 for the New Course and the Jubilee, £50 for the Eden, £30 for the Strathtyrum while you can play the nine-hole Balgove Course – perfect for beginners and kids – for just £15.

  • This article is part of a series of consumer-based sports stories. If you have any queries, stories or issues regarding travel, tickets, sport on television or anything else you can email rcroke@irishtimes.com or via Twitter @Ruaidhri_Croke.
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