Do St Andrews Students Get Free Golf?

As well as being the home of golf, St Andrews is home to one of the UK’s finest universities. It’s a great place to study, particularly if you’re a golfer.

st andrews
(Image credit: Getty Images)

As the 150th Open Championship at St Andrews draws closer, we consider student golfers in the town.

St Andrews university is the oldest in Scotland, it’s also considered to be one of the finest universities in the British Isles. In fact, in the 2022 Good University Guide, St Andrews was ranked as the best university in the UK, the first university to ever top Oxford and Cambridge in the rankings.

The university also gives students access to some of the very best golf to be found anywhere on the planet. The famous Old Course is just a pitch shot away from university buildings and there are six more St Andrews Links Trust courses in, and just outside, the town.

In answer to the question, do St Andrews students get free golf? The answer is no. It’s a commonly held myth that they do, but in fact they pay a reduced rate – either via a yearly ticket or a green fee.

The student rate for a yearly ticket in 2022-23 is £340, that’s the same as for any resident of the town of St Andrews. Student tickets are valid from 1st September to 31st August and students must show a valid matriculation card at the time of purchase. That ticket allows students to play any of the St Andrews Links courses – The Old, New, Jubilee, Eden, Strathtyrum, Balgove and Castle courses, any time the teeing sheet is available, as many times through the year as they like / their course work allows… So pretty much every day then…

Students can also purchase a restricted yearly ticket for £175 which doesn’t include The Old and Castle courses. For students who are just starting out in golf, there’s a yearly rate of £84 to play on just the Strathtyrum and Balgove courses.

If students want to just play the odd round, they can pay reduced green fees for a round on each of the courses. For 2022-23 those rates are: Old Course - £67, New Course - £40, Jubilee Course - £40, Eden Course - £20, Strathtyrum Course - £13, Balgove Course - £5, Castle Course - £47.

Founded in 1855, the University of St Andrews Golf Club is the oldest sports club at the university. The club caters for golfers of all standards, from beginners right up to elite players who compete in the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) championships. There are team and individual championships. The BUCS squads receive coaching from the St Andrews Links Golf Academy professionals.

Through the year, the University Golf Club also plays friendly matches against other clubs, both local and further afield – The students have an annual match against the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, as well as games against clubs such as Muirfield, Royal St George’s and Royal Liverpool.

Students starting out in golf, or looking to improve, can take part in a lessons programme set up in conjunction with the St Andrews Links Academy.

St Andrews students don’t get free golf, but they certainly get a very good deal. For only £70 more than the rack rate green fee of the Old Course, they can play all seven St Andrews Links courses as many times as they like for a whole year… It must be one of the best deals in golf.

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?