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The 150th Open Championship at St Andrews is going to be one of the sporting highlights of the summer, but how do golf fans get to witness it first hand? The bad news is the ticket ballot to actually be in the crowd at the Home of Golf between July 10th and 17th has been and gone - it opened on July 1st last year and closed on October 4th - so if you didn’t receive an email in October or November informing you that your application had been successful, the official channels look closed (there is an official resale area where those that have tickets they can no longer use can sell tickets at cost price, but you have to be an unsuccessful original applicant).
The good(ish) news is that if you’re prepared to pay a premium, there seem to be plenty of tickets on sale at sites like Viagogo and Stubhub. But be warned, tickets are not cheap. For the four days of Championship play, general admission tickets were originally priced at £95 for adults, £47.50 for youths (aged 16-24) and free for under-16s. A quick check on StubHub shows (as at May 26th) general admission tickets for the final Sunday priced ‘from £276 each’ with the most expensive currently £1,620. It seems that the tournament organisers, in trying to make it easy to transfer spare tickets to friends or family, have facilitated ticket touts to profiteer outrageously. Digital tickets are due to be issued 4-6 weeks before the tournament, and from there they can be transferred to and used by a person with a different name to the one printed on them.
You may think if you’re going to fork out that much, you may as well pay for hospitality at St Andrews, but even that is sold out. Even though a record crowd of 290,000 is expected at St Andrews over the week, that means less than a quarter of the 1.3million applications were successful. Those lucky enough to have tickets on the four days of tournament play will have to be up early, with gates opening at 6am on Thursday and Friday, and 7am at the weekend. They will have to abide by a lengthy list of rules over what they can and can’t bring in - don’t bother turning up with a step ladder as they’re on the banned list, as are drones and pets of any kind! You are allowed a camera, but not allowed to take pictures during Championship play, and not allowed to take videos at any time, while no alcohol can be brought in, though never fear, it will be on sale inside no doubt.
Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive at The R&A, said: “The 150th Open at St Andrews is going to be a momentous occasion for golf and this is clearly reflected in the extraordinary demand among fans to be part of this historic playing of the Championship. We very much appreciate their passion and enthusiasm for The Open and are delighted that we will set a new attendance record that far exceeds the previous best set in 2000.”
If you’re regretting not applying for tickets to the 150th Open, then why not get yourself organised for the 2023 event at Royal Liverpool. Hospitality sales are already open, but for general admission, the first step is to sign up to The One Club, which is free and gives access to priority tickets for The Open, among a range of benefits. News of how and when to get tickets for next year - and Royal Troon in 2024 and Royal Portrush in 2025 - will be sent to One Club members first.
It’s 162 years since eight golfers teed it up for the first Open Championship at St Andrews. It’s fair to say the tournament has gained in popularity over the years, and this year’s Open should be one that lives long in the memory, whether you're lucky enough to be watching live or on TV.
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Jeff graduated from Leeds University in Business Studies and Media in 1996 and did a post grad in journalism at Sheffield College in 1997. His first jobs were on Slam Dunk (basketball) and Football Monthly magazines, and he's worked for the Sunday Times, Press Association and ESPN. He has faced golfing greats Sam Torrance and Sergio Garcia, but on the poker felt rather than the golf course. Jeff's favourite course played is Sandy Lane in Barbados, which went far better than when he played Matfen Hall in Northumberland, where he crashed the buggy on the way to the 1st tee!
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