We are planning a trip to Scotland in July 2020 for 4 couples to tour Scotland and play golf 4-5 times including St. Andrews old course. What is the best way to get guaranteed reservations at the old course? What other courses should we play? What are some must see things in Scotland?
If you are up in the Aberdeenshire area then you might like to consider playing at Braemar which is the highest 18 hole course in Scotland.
If they still have the lottery, you apply in August for the time you want the following year. If you don’t get it, go thru a tour operator and/or stay at a hotel that has access.
Other Courses include New, Jubilee, Kingsbarns, Elie, Lundin and Levin, Crail.
The details of how to book a tee time at St Andrews are here https://www.standrews.com/Play/How-to-book
As you probably know, you must have a certain handicap to be eligible to play there.
As for "must see things in Scotland," it really depends on your interests, how much time you have, your budget, etc. If you're going to be spending 4-5 days golfing, how many additional days will you have? How widespread geographically do you want to go?
One note is that Nairn, just east of Inverness, has highly regarded golf courses and is famed as the warmest, driest climate in Scotland. It's near Culloden battlefield, Cawdor Castle, and Clava Cairns. I can recommend Tali Ayer bed & breakfast, though the town of Nairn has many other B&Bs as well.
When I stayed in Strathpeffer one year, there were a couple of men who were golfing in Dornoch. If you haven't spotted this course, you might want to think about putting it on your itinerary. The drive up there is wonderful. Just north of Dornoch is Dunrobin Castle, right on the North Sea. Also, if you've not found it, TA has a golf vacation forum that you might want to browse.
My husband was a single, so he had to line up in the wee hours to play the Old Course, but he met other golf fanatics in line and they formed a group and went off to play Carnoustie the next day. It was even more meaningful when the British Open was held there and he could watch and reminisce. They have an excellent golf museum and the graves of Old Tom Morris and his son are in the cemetary. You can even peak in the grounds of University of St. Andrews where Prince William and Kate went to school.
Patty- How early did he go? Before the course even opened? Was he able to play the Old Course? This is my husband's plan this July. He is a single and hoping to get fit in. Any other tips?
We played last summer at a really small course on the Isle of Skye. We are not "golfers" so we weren't looking for a challenging course. Obviously it wouldn't be the same as St. Andrews. However, the course is beautiful in the sense that it is right on the water and every hole you have an amazing view. The gentlemen who worked the desk was super friendly. We called the day before he said to just show up around 10. So if you are going to Skye anyway, it is a fun place to stop and play.
My husband lined up at 4:30 a.m. by the starter’s box and he was #5 in line for the Old Course that day. His tee time was after lunch, so he played the Jubilee course in the morning. He got right on for the Jubilee, but that was too much golf for one day because he made the mistake of NOT getting a caddy for the Old Course. A single player can kind of tell if they’ll get on by looking at the ballot sheet showing tee times and whether the parties are foursomes or just pairs. When my husband played, twosomes and threesomes had to agree to take an extra player, but I think most did. I hope this helps. It made a great memory and just walking around the area near the courses where everyone talks golf was so fun.
Will Gray at golfadvisor.com did an article on playing at the Old Course as a single. And make sure he brings his handicap card.
Thank you Patty! Good to know about the time. Guess he will be going by himself and my boys and I will hang out at the hotel.