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St. Andrews - Tips? How do i get on?

St. Andrews Old Course

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#1 lin1alc

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 02:49 PM

Will be in Edinburgh Scotland for work in early November and thinking about trying to play some of the St. Andrews courses (or anywhere else i can get to).  

Booking trip soon and need some advice (as much as you can) as I will have limited time.  Especially tips on best way to get on the course (what are my chances), where to stay, where to play, should i bring my clubs?

Quick facts
* Free to play Fri & Sat, would like to play at least 2 rounds.
* Prefer to play Old course and anything else notable.
* Playing as a single, I'm a US ~11 index (any chance at a reservation?)
* $ is a consideration (cheaper accommodations would be nice/fine) but i'll pony up for green fee if it's "worth it"
* Preference is not to rent a car (i may be convinced otherwise)
* may stay in St. Andrews thurs/fri night vs. Edinburgh.

Did basic research on st. andrews.org, so I believe this is my starting point for their courses
* it's offseason starting Nov - so they play off mats (nuts)
* can't book anything, even package as single.  Will have to walk up, Old course is ~75GBP, or 120GBP for 3 day pass which includes Old Course
* Old Course only open Mon-Fri and none of the courses will be avail on sat (is this right?...or does this only apply to their packages?)
* Sunrise is ~7:30AM, sunset 4:15 PM (clocks change end of October)

Thanks in advance

Edited by lin1alc, 22 October 2012 - 02:52 PM.


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#2 Finbarr Saunders

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 03:34 PM

Advance Reservable 3-Day Ticket

For unlimited play on all courses except the Old Course

#3 MikeMcM

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 04:04 AM

If you don't prefer to drive, take the train from Edinburgh to Leuchers, then take a cab. There's an abundance of guest houses in St. Andrews, we always stay at the Lorimer House on Murray Park, reasonably priced, nice, close walk to everything, and the proprieter is heavy into golf in town. You will get out as a single in November, no worries, just head down to the first tee early in the morning on Friday. I would also play Kingsbarns as the other most notable course in the area.

#4 dolleris

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 04:23 AM

View PostMikeMcM, on 23 October 2012 - 04:04 AM, said:

If you don't prefer to drive, take the train from Edinburgh to Leuchers, then take a cab. There's an abundance of guest houses in St. Andrews, we always stay at the Lorimer House on Murray Park, reasonably priced, nice, close walk to everything, and the proprieter is heavy into golf in town. You will get out as a single in November, no worries, just head down to the first tee early in the morning on Friday. I would also play Kingsbarns as the other most notable course in the area.
Sounds like the way to go. Remember warm underwear and waterproof outerlayers :beach:
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#5 Sean25rp

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 07:05 AM

Very jealous of you! Enjoy!


#6 lin1alc

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 08:50 AM

Thanks for the replies so far. I was able to call and they gave me generally say it shouldn't be as busy in nov and told me the current booking status on the old and new courses. I was off on the limited access in my orig post.  I read or misread that info from the st Andrews experience brochure and perhaps they just limit that from booking certain courses on certain days.

Edited by lin1alc, 23 October 2012 - 09:02 AM.


#7 lin1alc

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 09:05 AM

And I don't know if il will make it out to kingsbarn but may try for 3x holes in one of the days. Unlikely to finish as the days are short up there by nov. Any preference between the other st Andrews courses after old and new?

#8 Northside Matt

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 09:54 AM

The locals seemed to like Jubilee.  IIRC, they viewed it as a tougher test compared to the Old and New.

Just to give you a heads up, but the locals said Friday is the busiest day for golf.  Saturday isn't as bad.  I did a Thurs-Fri trip a few years back.  The line at the starter shack was longer on Friday, but not significantly longer.  As a single, I was able to get out mid-morning both days.  You just have to wait in the dark to put your name on the starter's list.  Small price to pay for greatness.

From Leuchars, you can take a bus as well.  They run ever 10 minutes or so and it only cost 5 GBP.   Plenty of B&Bs to stay at in the area.  I stayed at Cleveden House and would recommend it to anyone.  It's a 4-5 minute walk to the first tee.  However, there are a number of places that fit this description and some will put you across the street from the first tee.

Your trip, even though is short, is still the trip of a lifetime.  Enjoy it!

#9 Finbarr Saunders

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 04:52 PM

A trip to Carnoustie is a must and its not that far from St Andrews

#10 Finbarr Saunders

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 05:09 PM

I can guarantee at that time of year that they wont allow trolleys on the course so a carry bag is a must


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#11 lin1alc

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 12:46 PM

Thanks again to all those who responded.

And additional travel and course tips appreciated.  Trying to book my accommodations now.  

Will most guest houses be fairly similar? Looking for average room size, bed, and some basic get to the golf course tips (time and directions).  

Right now all i can judge by is quality of web site based on locations on Google maps.  Picking the stuff on /around Murray Park.  Lorimer owners are taking that week/weekend off (as is a few others) otherwise that looked just about right.

Will try to play Kingsbarn and Old course as walk on.  General opinion has been a single can get on fairly easily that time of year.  

Sunday flight out is early and was told will have to catch a 70GBP cap to Edinburgh.  any other direct options (e.g. car service, hotel shuttle, etc?)

#12 eyewipe

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 08:20 AM

For play on the Old Course you can put your name down for the ballot and get at least some control over when you will be playing as you select which days you would like to play and await the result. I've done this for winter play before and you have a pretty good chance of getting what you want. As a single you will probably be grouped in with other singles, pairs etc. as required to fill the tee times.

Carnoustie at winter rates is a great shout too - it's alot more simple to book as you look for a date and time which suits on the online booking form. Both courses play well in the winter but the weather is a lottery and you can get some pretty chilling winds!

Kingsbarns closes for the winter unfortunately but the Castle course at St. Andrews is a good track by all accounts and we plan on playing there next year.

Edited by eyewipe, 31 October 2012 - 08:23 AM.


#13 lin1alc

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 09:56 AM

Trip report
First let me thank all those for the help and advice.

Played old corse, new course and Kingsbarn.
Played the Old Course first.  Loved it. The shared fairways, shared greens, pot bunkers and mounding all giving it unique character.  Also a great deal at the winter rate 75 GBP.
Would probably appreciate the course challenges more the second time as i managed in a few cases by pure luck to avoid all the pot bunkers - a bit of ignorance is bliss. Course was bone dry even though it rained the prior week and on and off misting to rain during the round. Fairways really ran out and greens were decently quick.

I didn't mind the mats. Would move the ball to the rough if it was close enough and hit a few off the mats if I wasn't.  

Played the New Course right after my Old Course round and was put out about an hour behind the last group of the day as a single so I ended up just playing a 2.5 hr round vs soaking everything in. Carrying for the second 18 w/o lunch caught up with me.  Since I didn't allow myself to truly appreciated the New Course I'll just say many knowledgeable locals seem to like the New better than the Old.  Maybe that was slightly influenced by the higher # of tourist 5+ hrs rounds but it's probably not the green fee. My  understanding is annual membership / green fees in Scotland are extremely reasonable and St Andrews is owned by the town so locals really get a steal.

Played Kingsbarn the next day. Course was gorgeous and probably worth the visitor green fee.  Not the character of the Old Course but unmatched waterfront views.   Caught great weather which didn't hurt.  The caddies said the greens were playing quicker than when they played the Dunhill.

All in all a great experience.  Let me add all the people I met (Scots and other UK transplants) were all exceptionally friendly and great hosts.  That never hurts.

Edited by lin1alc, 16 November 2012 - 05:22 PM.





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