Size of Party

How Many Golfers Does It Take?


Golf travel is built around multiples four. Golf is played in fourballs. Hotels typically offer the twin room. A single MPV takes four people and eight luggage items. We explore optimum and some less regular group size numbers

Gullane with the Edinburgh skyline background

The Fourball Party

The other major influence to consider is that our television screens have been filled with variants of ‘dancers cooking idolised celebrities in a jungle on ice-skates with a premium rate telephone number’ for well over a decade now. It might make for questionable entertainment, but it has undoubtedly raised the culinary consciousness of the nation. It seems that every independent establishment has genuinely ‘raised their game’ in response to this popularising of the dining experience. Scotland’s own contribution to this revolution goes beyond Gordon Ramsay.

Any Non-Golfers

Scotland, Ireland, and North-West England are seriously rich for quality non-golf visitor attractions in close proximity to their top courses. You can bring non-golfers along safe in the knowledge that they won’t be missing out.

The only sub-regions where we come under pressure are extended stays in Ayrshire, and to a lesser extent Aberdeenshire. Otherwise we have some truly great non-golf compliments. Golf got lucky really!


St Andrews

The Old Course doesn't permit single players to apply to the daily ballot. They have to use the walk-up rule


Muirfield only permits applications for fourball play with up to three tee-times (12 players) on a booking


Prestwick has very early morning slots reserved for two-ball play

Turnberry 9th. Image by David Cannon, courtesy of Allison MacLeod, Turnberry

Shiskine 4th tee.

Image by Hamish Ballantyne

Single Players

Faraway Fairways welcomes enquires from single players (not everyone does). Even so the travel industry penalises them. It’s often about limiting damage. Even with a single person supplement reducing a room price, singles still pay more per head. The same is true for driven transport with fewer people able to share a cost. Green fees are the same, but single players are forced to play St Andrews through the ‘singles ballot’, drawn 24 hrs before play the next day.

We do enjoy a lot of flexibility as a single player though. We’ve certainly had occasions where we’ve been able to get solo golfers onto high-demand courses at short notice which a fourball wouldn’t have stood a chance on. It’s not all bad news

Two Ball Parties

Two players don’t get penalised on hotels, and can mitigate some of the transport penalty by using an estate car which is less expensive than an MPV

A two ball is permitted to enter the St Andrews ballot and might stand a marginally better chance of winning? The only course they get penalised on is Muirfield which only accepts fourball applications.


Image thanks to Royal Dornoch GC 

Teeing-off at Royal Aberdeen

Three Ball Parties

Three is one of the more awkward numbers to accommodate. The odd number will usually mean that there’s a single person supplement to share around amongst the party on a hotel room. Some hotels offer three-person rooms, so we can draw some of the sting, but they are a minority and the arrangement isn’t always ideal. Three is also the number where we have to abandon the car and switch to an MPV (6 luggage items). No car can handle that.  A three-ball is also prevented from playing Muirfield, although we have occasionally brokered agreements to source a fourth local player to make up the numbers. Apart from this though, three-balls operate the same as fourballs

Large Parties

Transport is often the key. Large parties can become a bit pinned to a single location. Faraway Fairways tend to the view they still benefit for becoming flexible autonomous units of four though, even if that means using three (12) or four (16) MPV’s. This is especially acute in St Andrews where the ballot will put players on different de-facto itineraries once we begin winning. There does reach a point however, (probably around 13 people plus) where we need to consider a single larger vehicle combined with local taxis

One area where large parties can make tremendous savings is on exclusive hires of accommodation and dividing the cost across the group. It’s important to recognise that there is a longer assembly lead time involved though to get tee-times to line sequentially.

Single Golfers

Faraway Fairways welcomes enquiries from single golfers. Sure they might be a bit more difficult to resolve, and often about limiting penalty, but single people are allowed to play last we checked!


Two Ball

Two ball parties enjoy many of the financial benefits of a fourball


Three ball

Three ball play (like any odd number) can be a bit awkward, but there are a few tricks open to us to try and ensure you don't get penalised for the extra player


Four ball

Fourball play is the staple that so much is geared towards accommodating


Large Groups

Large groups might have some advantages of scale, but they can also get caught out. Things we need to do, to make this go smoothly