A large party might benefit at some of the smaller clubs for a sliding discount scale, but in truth this is a secondary consideration in the face of securing consecutive times.
The secret lies in advance planning and ‘getting in early’. Ideally we’d like to keep a large group close together and that means playing sequentially. It only requires a group to get in between to break this up
Although a large party might benefit from reduced admission prices, these aren’t normally significant in the wider scheme of things. Instead larger parties are more at risk of being excluded on small capacity admissions. Perhaps the most obvious are distillery tours. Some can draw the line at ten.
A large group could consider an exclusive hire of a small cruiser on Loch Ness is viable rather than joining a tourist boat
Cruden Bay panorama
A larger party could easily discover however if they’ve left things late that they’ve over-run hotel capacity. There are only a couple of hotels in St Andrews for instance that have over 100 rooms. A large party is unlikely to be able to stay in a bed and breakfast. B&B’s have strict rules governing their definition (tax reasons). Anything above six rooms puts them into another bracket. A larger party would practically require every room to be available at the time of booking to ‘get in’. This is unusual in itself, and would likely mean having to dot you around the town
Large parties also present an enhanced risk to hotels if they cancel late. We’ll usually find that they’re required to make a final payment earlier than a smaller group would
One thing a large party can consider doing is renting out an exclusive high quality self-catering accommodation. The division of the price amongst a large group often works out to be incredibly attractive. There is some terrific scope for doing this around St Andrews, Carnoustie, Troon and Edinburgh. In the north of course we begin to encounter Highland lodges and cabins, but these tend to be let on more rigid calendars in line with set days in a week
The downside of this arrangement needn’t be food preparation. We can usually mitigate that using restaurants in the evening and taking breakfasts at golf clubs. Instead it tends to be that these properties are in rural locations and unless you can agree to share the driving, it restricts what someone is going to be able to drink in an evening out
Seating capacity is rarely a problem with a golfing party, luggage however is. A golfer will normally generate one significant luggage item plus a golf bag. With nine seats, a luggage capacity for nine items, plus a high-level ride comfort, the Mercedes Vito is the workhorse of the golf industry. Ideally we would try wherever possible to build up a small fleet of these MPV’s for a larger party.
If we’re using the ballot to play St Andrews. we simply aren’t going to get consecutive times. We’d be lucky to even get our fourballs onto the same day. We could easily end up with different fourballs, going to different courses, at different times on the same day as we win ballots and tee-times are rescheduled in-situ. A single large capacity transport will struggle. It’s often overlooked. We need flexibility really, and a fleet of MPV’s serving four players each delivers this
Ballot applications are made in fours. No problem.
As we’ve already alluded to however, when an application is successful we’ll probably find its gone into conflict with another commitment at another course. Faraway Fairways will need to cancel this tee-time for you and seek to re-arrange so as to avoid a forfeit of the green fee involved. We nearly always succeed in doing this. It does mean however that the fourball which plays the Old Course first will now be falling a slightly different itinerary to the others. When our second group wins, they’ll adopt a similarly unique schedule too. It isn’t long before each fourball could be following their own programme. Sometimes things come back together, sometimes they continue to follow their own paths. It definitely impacts transport logistics, but needn’t impact accommodation