It Just Became Much Less Stressful To Secure A Tee Time On The Old Course At St Andrews - Here's Why

The freshly-introduced digital system will replace the old method of queuing up in person in the hope of earning a tee time on the Old Course

The 18th hole at St Andrews with The R&A clubhouse in the background and Swilcan Bridge in the foreground
(Image credit: Getty Images)

St Andrews Links has announced it will implement a new digital daily draw for solo players looking to play the Old Course, replacing its old in-person singles queuing system.

Previously, lone golfers would wait outside the starter’s hut in the hopes of clinching a tee time for later in the day - a practice formalized in the 1990s - alongside an existing group of two or three.

However, St Andrews says the numbers of optimistic players has grown to such an extent that people were sometimes waiting out in bad weather for up to 12 hours, only to be turned away.

In order to avoid this situation, one of the most famous golfing locations in the world is set to roll out a modern solution.

Starting from March 12, 2024, the daily draw will require individual golfers to enter their details - which will include a photograph taken by the used tablet - in person at the Old Pavilion next to the first tee of the Old Course, or St Andrews Links Clubhouse between 9am-5pm the day before they wish to play.

The idea of taking a fresh photograph when applying not only prevents someone applying on another person's behalf, but also stops the chance of a golfer playing the Old Course multiple times on the same day.

A randomized draw will then take place at 5pm, with golfers being notified by text message and email whether they have been allocated a tee time for the following day.

The 18th hole at the Old Course, St Andrews

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Neil Coulson, CEO of St Andrews Links Trust, said: “We are excited to introduce the new digital solution for the Old Course Singles Daily Draw, which makes securing a tee time as a single golfer at the Home of Golf safer, more equitable and ultimately a more enjoyable experience.

“The significant growth in the number of golfers utilising the singles queue in the past decade has been such that we felt it was impacting the customer experience and becoming increasingly challenging for our dedicated team to manage expectations.

“For many golfers, playing the Old Course is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and the new singles daily draw will ensure golfers successful in securing a tee time can enjoy the experience having had a good night’s sleep while maintaining the practice of allowing single golfers to join pre-existing groups of two or three.”

St Andrews - Old Course

(Image credit: Getty Images)

St Andrews says its new 'Singles Daily Draw' system - which has been developed in partnership with golf technology firm ClubUp - maintains the requirement for a player to be in the town or surrounding area in order to "protect the original intention of the singles queue."

It is possible for someone to "enter on as many consecutive days as they wish", with St Andrews stating that the time of entry will have "no impact" on the chances of success.

Golfers who are unsuccessful in securing a tee time first time around will be put on the reserve list and given a specific number. Should there be a chance of a last-minute tee time, the waiting list will be worked through in order - with players contacted by text and email.

St Andrews also pointed out that the current ballot system pertaining to the Old Course - which caters for twoballs through to groups of four - is drawn 48 hours in advance and will not be affected by the recent change.

The Old Course At St Andrews ranks second in Golf Monthly's latest UK and Ireland Top-100 Courses. Green fees range from £150 in low season to £320 in high season.

Jonny Leighfield
Staff Writer

Jonny Leighfield is our Staff News Writer who joined Golf Monthly just in time for the 2023 Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup. He graduated from the University of Brighton with a degree in Sport Journalism in 2017 and spent almost five years as the sole sports reporter at his local newspaper. An improving golfer who still classes himself as ‘one of the worst players on the Golf Monthly team’, Jonny enjoys playing as much as he can and is hoping to reach his Handicap goal of 18 at some stage. He attended both the 150th and 151st Opens and is keen to make it an annual pilgrimage.