Scottish Golf. What to expect
Golf in Scotland
In this blog Go Golf St Andrews want to let you know about Scottish golf. What to expect from the time you arrive to the time you have completed your round. Firstly we’ll cover a little on what happens in Japan and USA.
Playing golf in Japan and USA can be way different from golf in Scotland. From club drop off, reception style check in, lunch after 9 holes to onsen bath after your round the experience is much different from playing golf in Scotland.
St Andrews, Scotland
Essentially you could walk from your accommodation in your golfing gear, check in at the starter and play away from the first tee on the Old course. This is the case with many courses in the UK and Ireland. Especially public courses. In this blog we will cover St Andrews starting with the Old Course, New Course and Jubilee.
Old Course, New Course and Jubilee Course
The St Andrews Links club house is located at the heart of the Links at St Andrews. The first tee’s of the New and Jubilee course start from here as well as both 18th greens and the 2nd hole of the Old Course runs right along the front.
There is a large car park which can be often full in high season so best arrive in good time but with Go Golf St Andrews you will be dropped off at the Links club house door.
Clubs can be dropped off but they will not be taken away and prepared for you. They will remain where you leave them. No Jacket or dress code is required for the Links Club house. This is an area open to the public to use even if not golfing
Links Club house entrance
Once inside you will be welcomed by reception staff however there is no requirement for you to check in with them.
Downstairs there are locker and shower rooms. On the same level as the reception there is a fully stocked bar and restaurant with a panoramic view over three courses. The club house is open early enough for you to enjoy a traditional bacon roll coffee or tea or a sandwich before play.
Any purchase you make will have to be paid for by yourself. Cash or credit/debit card. This is normal in the UK.
A shop also located in the club house but mostly it stock souvenirs but you can purchase balls gloves and all will have St Andrews Links logs. There are some golf equipment and balls but choice is limited.
There is an excellent driving range in St Andrews. It is however a 10 minute walk from the clubhouse so many do miss out that vital warm up. St Andrews links offer a shuttle bus that can take you to and from the range. Tokens can be purchased on site for range balls.
To the first tee
Once ready for play you can either walk to the first tee of the Old Course or take the shuttle buggy provided by St Andrews Links. For the New and Jubilee courses the first tees are right next to the Links club house.
If you are playing the New course and do not have a tee time is suggest you check in at the starter as soon as you arrive on location. The starter will then let you know how long you might have to wait to play.
If you have a guaranteed tee time then we’ll be there with you to ensure all is in order. If however you are independent or received a tee time through the ballot then make your way the starter hut, we advise to be at the starter hut 30 minutes before tee off to get checked in and enjoy the moment. It’s located right next to the first tee. There payment will be taken for ballot times.
Once checked in you will be given a complimentary bag with a course guide, tees markers and pitch mark repair fork.
If you have taken a caddy then your caddy will meet you on the tee. Caddies are best to be pre booked to ensure you are not disappointed. Caddies are to be paid directly by each player and cost £50 plus gratuity. 1 caddy per bag. We highly recommend you taking a caddy as they will escort you around the Old Course and make your experience more enjoyable.
Alongside the first tee is a putting green as well as the Old Pavilion. In there you can have a coffee, light snack, use the toilet facilities while enjoying local news on the television and free wifi.
The first tee
Once you arrive at the first tee I am 99% sure you will be as nervous as hell. you’ll be watching groups tee off and thinking its me soon. Try to take in all in but don’t let nerves spoil your day. Teeing off on the Old Course is just like your home club. This fairway is probably the biggest you’ll ever see.
They say a round on the Old Course should take 3 hrs and 57 mins. However depending on the time of year it could be up a wee bit longer, sometimes 5 hours in peak periods.
Play on the New or Jubilee courses is usual completed with in 3.5-4 hrs.
After 9 holes
After playing 9 holes on the Old Course there is a van selling refreshments. From bananas to pies, water and coffee. The steak pies are awesome. There is no halfway house on New or Jubilee courses.
After your refreshments have been purchased you are expected to continue with play. Beware of crows and seagulls so do not leave any food visible. As soon as you turn away they will swoop in and take from you, even from your hand.
Once your round is complete on either course there is no expectations for you to return to the Links club house. It’s your choice. You could return, shower change and eat at the club house or you could leave for your accommodation. Since all your purchases have been paid individually there is no bill to settle.
Shower areas are individual cubicle and no baths. Towels are provided.
There are a number of 19th holes close by; These include The Jigger, One golf place, Dunvegan Hotel and Hams Hame. In these establishments you will be welcome still in golf gear and even golf shoes. These bars are highly recommended, a great place to exchange your golfing stories and enjoy lovely food.
If you have access to a private golf club such as the New Club, St Andrews club or the R and A clubhouse you will have to abide by their individual dress codes. New and St Andrews clubs- dress trousers, collared shirt with dress shoes, no jeans allowed.
Since however we have long daylight hours in Scotland why not head out again for a second round. Even try again to play the Old course, you just never know.