The St Andrews Links Trust don't publish ballot strike-rates. Faraway Fairways do occasionally succeed in extracting an off the record opinion however. In addition to this, we’re also able to draw on our own evidence, and that which we’re able to extract from credible co-operative partners (usually hotels) plus what other tour operators might tell us. We have a good guideline idea of strike rates by month of the year and by day of the week
It needs to be stressed that these are indicative averages only. Different parts of a month will behave differently dependent on any end of factors. The ballot is quixotic and unpredictable, Extended runs of good or bad luck can, and do, happen. They are provided in good faith, but can of course fail, and can't therefore be used as a basis for compensation
Multiply by the number of days you are available to give you a guideline
MONTH OF THE YEAR
APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT 59% 21% 20% 16% 14% 17% 19%
DAY OF THE WEEK
MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT SUN 20% 21% 16% 23% 15% 30% n/a
St Andrews 'Guaranteed' Tee Times
There is a heavy price premium on a guarantee a tee-time. Plus they usually involve a minimum hotel stay in St Andrews of at least three nights, playing an additional St Andrews course is mandatory, and normally a minimum food & drink spend in a specified hotel. Faraway Fairways wouldn't be convinced a guaranteed tee-time is worth pursuing for the Highlands tour, especially as they aren't sold for weekends anyway. You'd be more likely to destabilise the programme
An aggressive and determined application of the walk-up rule, allied to a normal ballot application or two, should tilt the odds in your favour
Nairn operates a handicap threshold of 28 for gentlemen, and 36 for ladies respectively. Nairn will reserve the right as to whether or not to invoke this since it tends not to be as rigidly applied as some clubs.
Royal Aberdeen operates a handicap threshold of 24 for both gentlemen and ladies.
The St Andrews Old Course currently advise the following: "A current official handicap card (Golf Club affiliated to a Golf Union/Association) record or certificate must be presented to the starter prior to play. Maximum handicaps – 24 Men, 36 Ladies. St Andrews will not accept letters of introduction from a local Club Professional”.
Some known issues to consider
St Andrews hosts the Open in 2022 and will be shut from June 1st until it's finished in mid-July.
St Andrews, Carnoustie, and Kingsbarns jointly host the Dunhill Links challenge in the first week of October
Despite its remote location, Royal Dornoch does sell-out and is amongst the first courses to come under pressure. We advise that you think in terms of a planning horizon of July for play the following year
Castle Stuart and Royal Aberdeen do periodically host the Scottish Open which will close them down from about mid June until early/ mid-July