HOW IT WORKS
Let’s be honest, anyone considering this tour is occupied by one big question. What chance have I got of the Old Course?
The Old Course experiences predictable busy periods during a season. Avoiding these improves our prospects. ‘Guaranteed’ tee times might occasionally work, but they aren’t really designed for this type of 72 hour ‘raid’. The best way we can do this then inside the timeframe available to us is to combine ‘the ballot’ with the ‘walk-up’ rule. The walk-up rule isn’t our ‘first choice’ option, but as a general guide, so long as you’re prepared to endure some discomfort queuing, you’ll nearly always succeed if our ballot application has failed
In addition to those featured, your ticket also permits you unlimited three-day play on any of the St Andrews Links (excluding the Old Course) for three days on activation. You could play multiple rounds therefore on the New and Castle, or add the Eden course and Strathtyrum course to complete the full set
The ballot (as the name suggests) is just that. It’s a lottery of equal chance. We are notified of ballot results 48 hours before teeing off.
So are we telling you that there is a chance you might not be able to play the Old Course? Well we’re afraid ‘yes’ is the simple answer. However much we might try and sugar coat it, there is little doubt that using the ballot does carry an element of risk. Faraway Fairways seek to manage this, and load things in your favour as much as we can, but even this stops short of being a guaranteed tee time.
Every other open time for a Saturday is normally set aside for ballot applications. It’s why we would discourage you from trying to arrive in Edinburgh on Friday evening or as early as possible Saturday morning. Although averages drawn across the season can misleading and disguise peaks and troughs, Saturday ballot success is estimated to be 30%. You will of course get a second arrow to fire on the Monday too, before we need to resort to a ‘plan B’.
The busiest months are the end of May through to the end of September. Your prospects of success during these bottlenecks usually drops, but don’t let that deter you. Sometimes slack periods present themselves even in busy windows.
It is only when you succeed with a ballot application that St Andrews will ask for payment of the green fee (£195 peak season). This is the reason we don’t include it in the price. For all this caution however, your prospects are actually better than you might imagine, but you can enhance them by being flexible in terms of preferred times of the day or months of the year.
Uncertainties regarding the ballot is the reason we have a ‘Plan B’ in place. The ‘walk up’ rule and is pretty much what it sounds like. A golfer can join a queue as early as they choose and ask for one of the spare tee-times in the days tee-sheet. There are typically between 18 to 25 such chances. As a general rule, the more discomfort you’re prepared to endure queuing, the more successful you’re likely to be. In our experience, golfers who invoke the walk up rule aggressively enjoy strike rates in excess of 95%