Is St Andrews Old Course a Public Course or Private?


St. Andrews in Scotland, is home to six great courses, and is arguably the world's #1 prestigious golf destination. Many golf enthusiasts from around the world dream of playing a round at the iconic Old Course, which is considered the birthplace of the game now known as golf. But is St Andrews a public course accessible to all, or a private course reserved for select members only? The answer is, kinda both. 

Overview of St Andrews Golf Course

History of St Andrews Old Course

  • The Old Course at St Andrews is one of the oldest golf courses in the world and the origin of many concepts of modern golf. 

  • It has a rich history dating back to the 15th century.

Public Access to the Old Course

  • Everyone with a documented handicap under 25 is eligible for a tee time at the Old Course, though tee times are difficult to get. The tee time is roughly 250 GBP on the Old Course, and less on the other courses. 

  • Tee times often sell out one year in advance, though golfers can queue up at night and wait for possible openings and cancellations the next day on the Old Course. The other courses are possible to reserve often two weeks prior.  

  • You can often find tee times through golf travel companies, though you will need to pay a high premium. 

  • Anyone can walk the course, just stay out of the way of golfers and their shots. 

  • The Old Course is closed on Sundays, allowing the public to enjoy the grounds for walks and picnics. Dogs are welcome! 

Location and Availability

Where is St Andrews Golf Course?

  • St Andrews links courses is situated on the west coast of Scotland, in the ancient town of St Andrews, about 90 minutes north of Edinburgh.

  • Buses routinely leave Edinburgh for St Andrews, and private cars are also available for hire. The train no longer goes St Andrews.

St Andrews Scotland Golf Experience

  • Playing golf at St Andrews is a bucket-list experience for many golfers.

  • The historic holes and iconic views make it a memorable golf destination.

Membership at St Andrews Golf Club

Saint Andrews Golf Club Scotland

  • While the Old Course is open to the public, St Andrews also has private golf clubs. These clubs have 50-300 members, and most have clubhouses bordering the 1st and 18th holes of the Old Course. 

  • These clubs include the Royal and Ancient (R&A), the St Andrews Golf Club, the New Club, St Rule Club), St Andrews Thistle Club, St. Regulus Ladies Golf Club, and St. Andrews Ladies Putting Club. Three of these clubs are all-women. 

  • Members enjoy additional privileges and access to the courses.


So, yes and no: the Old Course at St Andrews is indeed a public course, welcoming golfers from all corners of the globe to experience its history and beauty, but it's also home to several private clubs that do not own or operate the course. While there are private clubs within the St Andrews Golf Course complex, the Old Course remains accessible to the public, ensuring that the spirit and tradition of golf at St Andrews are upheld for generations to come.

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