The Open Camping Village: The Cheapest, And Best, Way To Experience The World's Oldest Major?

This will be the sixth year of the Open camping village and there's no better (or cheaper) way to enjoy your accommodation at the game's oldest Major

Open camping village
(Image credit: The R&A)

Like many of the best things in life, The Open Camping Village is almost too good to be true. Here's the chance to ditch your car, stay just a few minutes' walk from the 1st tee of the oldest Major in the game and be fed and entertained in style.

This year Royal Liverpool will host the 151st Open and, across the road from the club, will again sit a pop-up city that is fast becoming THE place to stay. No longer does The Open have to mean exorbitant prices for your accommodation and lengthy queues, either in your car or on foot. Now you can pitch up, leave your car and truly make the most of your time at golf's best week of the year.

Last year FootJoy began a partnership with The R&A to sponsor The Open Camping Village and they will again be behind a special week. There are football pitches and other games on site and entertainment to keep everyone happy. This is as far removed from non-golfers' expectations of a staid and stuffy world where nobody has any fun.

Open Camping Village

(Image credit: The R&A)

Last year FootJoy, who offer a free shoe fitting to anyone staying on site, threw a Camp-Out party at the start of the week where there were visits from the likes of Adam Scott, Will Zalatoris and Cameron Young – come the end of the week Young would finish second, just a shot behind Cam Smith.

Nick Dougherty and Andrew Coltart hosted a Q&A – Dough and Co – likewise Sophie Walker who interviewed Seamus Power, Marcus Armitage and Jordan Smith on the eve of The Open.

"I didn't really know what the camping village was and then I drove into St Andrews on the Monday and saw all of the tents and I couldn’t believe how close it was to the Old Course. What was really good was that it felt like a campsite, there were kids playing football and the food was fantastic. I actually ended up going there a couple of times during the week for their wood-burning pizzas," explains the former LET player and now broadcaster.

"It was all so relaxed and fun. It’s a Major week and you’ve got these star players just chatting to genuine golf fans. The players turned up in their jeans and they stayed on afterwards, Seamus was heading into St Andrews and asked for a curry recommendation. Bernd Wiesberger turned up to see what it was all about.

"Some of the fans didn't have a ticket for the golf for the whole week but they stayed on to enjoy being around St Andrews and being able to savour the atmosphere around the town. It was a really cool addition to The Open and everything was very natural and authentic."

Open camping village

(Image credit: Getty Images)

This will be the sixth year that there has been an Open tented village. At Troon in 2016 they began with 169 tents, last year there were 770, catering for up to 2000 golfers on the busiest nights. There's a range of options, starting from £50 for a two-person tent with a self-inflating mattress – any under 25 with a valid youth or junior ticket stays for free – to the more luxurious glamping option. Here the bell tent comes complete with single or double bed with duvets and cosy décor to enhance your stay.

There is a dedicated area in the quieter end of the campsite and there is a big emphasis on families having a good time. Andy Banks took his 12-year-old son, Riley, to his first Open last year and they will be repeating the experience in Liverpool in July.

"If you are a die-hard golf fan this really is the best way to do it. Checking in was really easy, they took our bags and we were able to cross the bridge and go straight in. On the Friday night we sat up in the stands and watched the last few groups come up the 18th, it was such a beautiful day as well. Being able to watch the sun setting and shadows casting across the humps and bumps of St Andrews was very cool and we didn’t need to get anywhere which was a huge selling point," adds Banks.

"We went with some friends from home and the kids loved it and they palled up with some other kids, playing football for a few hours in the evenings."

Find out more about the Open Camping Village

Mark Townsend
Contributing editor

Mark has worked in golf for over 20 years having started off his journalistic life at the Press Association and BBC Sport before moving to Sky Sports where he became their golf editor on He then worked at National Club Golfer and Lady Golfer where he was the deputy editor and he has interviewed many of the leading names in the game, both male and female, ghosted columns for the likes of Robert Rock, Charley Hull and Dame Laura Davies, as well as playing the vast majority of our Top 100 GB&I courses. He loves links golf with a particular love of Royal Dornoch and Kingsbarns. He is now a freelance, also working for the PGA and Robert Rock. Loves tour golf, both men and women and he remains the long-standing owner of an horrific short game. He plays at Moortown with a handicap of 6.