St Andrews is known the world over as the “Home of Golf”. It is the home of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club. The Open Championship is played there every five years. This golfing mecca attracts golfers from all over the world eager to play at least one round on one of its famous links courses.
There are a range of accommodation and golf packages available from 5 star hotels, medium range hotels, guest houses and bed and breakfast. There are prices to suit every budget. The purpose of this blog is to impart some of my local knowledge. A golfing break to StAndrews need not cost you as much as you think. Sure there are lots of packages on the internet all offering various degrees of quality and reliability but they are on the whole expensive. So to avoid paying large amounts of commission here are a few tips you may like to consider in your planning process.
Always book your accommodation directly with the owner. Comparison sites like Trip Advisor or Booking.com or tour operators will charge you for their services. If you need them fine but if you don’t, why pay commission if you can arrange the trip yourself.
Accommodation in St Andrews is expensive. Try looking at accommodation providers outside St Andrews who may be offering better quality accommodation at a cheaper price. If you are paying less for accommodation then that’s more to spend on yourself.
Try self catering or vacation rental. With Sandcastle Cottage you get a two bedroom house, two bathrooms, fully fitted kitchen with enough utensils to cook a great meal when you want, sitting room and your own private garden to relax in after a round of golf. We are within easy walking distance to shops and restaurants, two minutes walk from the beach and twenty minutes drive from all the St Andrews Courses.
If you are looking to spend a night out in St Andrews no problem. There is a regular bus service 95 from Crail to St Andrews Bus Station which takes 30 minutes. There are also lots of taxis. If you don’t have a phone get the restaurant or bar tender to call one for you.
St Andrews Golf Courses
There are currently seven golf courses owned and managed by St Andrews Links Trust which was set up by act of parliament in 1974. All 7 are public courses meaning anyone can play but there are handicap restrictions in place for the Old Course. In addition a further three courses, The Kittocks, Torrance and Dukes Courses are privately owned by the Fairmont and the Old Course Golf Resort and Spa.
Each course is different in many ways and presents the player with a different set of challenges and unique charm. All courses are links courses with the exception of the Dukes which is an inland course located at Craigtoun on the west of St Andrews. All courses have clubhouses providing drinks, hot snacks and meals daily as well as changing facilities, club hire, trolleys and buggies. All courses are open all year round with the exception of the Castle Course which is closed November to March and the Old Course which is closed on Sundays.
The Old Course is world famous and is believed to be the oldest golf course in the world dating back 600 years. Every five years it hosts the British Open Golf Championship and is one of the venues for the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship which is play annually in October. Par 72 and current length 6609 yards men and par 76 6032 ladies. The first hole starts in front of the Royal & Ancient Clubhouse driving down towards the Swilcan Burn. The course has many challenging holes probably the most talked about being the 17 Road Hole where many a golfer has come to grief. The Old Course is a public course however there are handicap restrictions maximum for men 24 and women 36. Your handicap certificate must be issued by a golf club and must be presented to the starter before play can commence. If you are playing in a group of two or more persons on booking you will be entered into the Old Course Ballot. All names, home clubs, and handicaps will be required. The ballot is drawn two days ahead of play (except Sundays or tournament days) This enables golfers who are in the area to still have the opportunity to play the Old Course during their visit. You may enter on line at www.standrews.com/ballot/enter or by phone +44 (0) 1334 4666666 or in person by visiting the Old Pavillion or one of the Links Clubhouses. The ballot closes at 2.00pm two days before you hope to play.
Single golfers without an existing tee time should check in to the Old Pavillion (next to the first tee) on the day of play and may be lucky to join a two or three ball group.
There are a number of “Authorised Providers” (Golf Tour Operators and local accommodation providers) who offer packages including tee times throughout the high season. Look out for the logo.
If you are looking to visit the area on a weekend golfing break and want to play the Old Course you will have a much better chance of securing a tee time during the Winter months November to March. There is considerably less demand. For more details on all courses see the St Andrews Links website
Or for more information on the Old Course click on this weblink.
Named after the farm the course was built on the Balgove Course is a 1520 yard par 30 nine hole course opened in 1972 and remodelled in 1993. The Balgove caters for families, children and beginners and features bunkers and a double green. Overall the perfect practice ground for links golf for all ages. For course information and booking click on this weblink.
This is the most recent addition to the Links Trust managed courses. The course is par 71 and measures 6759 yards. Opened in June 2008 and situated on a rugged cliff top with spectacular views over St Andrews Bay. Unlike the other six courses the Castle Course is located to the east of St Andrews on the A917 between St Andrews and Crail. The course is closed November to March. For details see weblink
The course was opened in 1914 and follows the estuary of the river Eden. It was designed by Henry Colt and remodelled in 1989 by Donald Steel. Par 70 the course measures 6250 yards. The course has some holes which are lined with gorse on either side and has some challenging holes. This course is well worth playing, If you can’t get booked for the Old this would be my next choice. The Eden is a very special course for me as it was the course I learned to play golf on. The course starts from the clubhouse which is located just off the A91. For bookings course information and directions click on this weblink.
The course is is the third championship course in St Andrews. Named after Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee Celebration in 1897 and originally intended for Victorian ladies and beginners the course has evolved into one of the more challenging courses in St Andrews Links. Initially a 12 hole course it was remodelled to 18 in 1905. One of the features of this course is its narrow fairways and thick gorse on one or both sides. If like me you have a tendency to hit some wayward shots make sure you have plenty golf balls in your bag!
Located between the New Course and the sea the Jubilee was converted to a championship layout in 1988. Par 72 the course now plays at around 6745 yars for men and 6043 yards Par 75 for ladies. The course starts from the Links Clubhouse (picture below) which is just off the West Sands beach road. For more information on how to book please click on this weblink.
The course is located adjacent to the Old Course and starts at the Links Clubhouse along with the Jubilee. Commissioned by the R&A and designed by Tom Morris the course opened for play in 1895. Par 71 and currently 6625 yards long this is probably the most challenging of all the St Andrews Links courses with very narrow fairways and thick gorse of either side. This course definitely favours the long straight hitter. My advice would be stock up with golf balls before you start. If you are like me, you will need a few to complete your round!
For course information and how to book a round click on this weblink.
This course is was the first 18 hole course to be constructed in St Andrews for nearly 80 years when it was opened in 1993. Par 69 the course is 56230 yards long. The course starts at the Eden clubhouse just of the A91 adjacent to the Golf Academy and practice ground. For course information and how to book click on this weblink.
Stay at Sandcastle Cottage Crail
If you are planning a golfing break to St Andrews with friends and you are looking for your own private accommodation by the sea then look no further than Sandcastle Cottage. For more details see our website or click the Book Now button below
We look forward to welcoming you to Sandcastle Cottage.