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I just found out that I'll be headed to Edinburgh at the end of May for a 4 day work trip. I'm hoping to tack on two days (either bookend, at the beginning or at the end) for golf. It looks like it's a little late to get a tee time at the Old Course but I'd still love to play there and one other course.

 

Anyone have any tips for getting on this late in the game, or recommendations for other courses to play that don't take 6+ months lead time to book? I've seen the lists of top 10 courses, I just don't know how far I'll be able to get from Edinburgh and what courses I'd be able to access easily.

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If you're willing, you can get into the daily lottery to play The Old Course. I've heard that your luck as a single can be quite good. Check into it online, probably. Otherwise, I think you'll have several nearby fantastic options. I'm not jealous, but I'm envious!! Have fun; take a million pictures!

 

 

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From Edinburgh, you can take a train/taxi to St Andrews, its a lovely town to visit.  If you can pair up with someone, apply for the Daily Ballot at the Old Course.  You have to have at least two players to apply, otherwise your only choice is to show up really early and hope to fill a two- or three-ball.  If that doesn't work, play the New or Jubilee Course, they're both great.  Nearby, play at Kingsbarns, Crail, Lundin Links, Elie.  These all will require a car or taxi ride.  You can also train to North Berwick and play the fabulous course there.  A good resource, with come course reviews, is

www.golfnook.com

Have a great time!

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Great, thanks for the replies. 

I see a 48 hour ballot, is the daily ballot the same thing you are referring to?  Where you have to sign up 48 hours before you intend to play? I'm traveling with a work colleague who doesn't play much and doesn't have an official handicap so that will complicate things for the Old Course. I'll try to play elsewhere with him and then do the Old Course as a single.

 

I do have some flexibility in terms of days but I'll need to book my flights soon. Are there certain days that might be easier to get on as a single or the daily ballot?

I have my work event on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and part of Wednesday. So, I could fly in early and try to play Friday/Saturday or stay afterwards and try to play Thursday/Friday.

 

One last question. Because the Old Course is kind of a  "roll-the-dice", are other courses fairly easy to get on without a reservation? If I get to Old Course early in the morning but not paired can I get on another good course later in the day without issue?

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I think you'll be fine as a single, getting on most lesser-known courses.  Its been a few years since I was there in 2011, but I was able to make arrangements for two groups at both Lundin Links and Panmure (near Carnoustie) with only a couple of days notice, so you shouldn't have any problems.  You might make a phone call a day or two in advance just to check out the tee sheet, or to make sure there's not an event happening.  

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  • 1 month later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Depends on what days of the week you are there. You can play Gulliane and Murfield with enough notice. Or take the train to Leuchars, and taxi to St. Andrews if you're on a budget.

 

Was lucky enough to get on the Old Course. Played the 18th hole in near darkness around 10 PM. Was nice, but I need to go back. Worst part about the Old Course is it's a death march. Yes, it's an amazing round and you'll love every second. But there are so many groups...it can be very slow. 

 

Also consider going to Gleneagles. Not the far by train, another bucket list track. 

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Depends on what days of the week you are there. You can play Gulliane and Murfield with enough notice. Or take the train to Leuchars, and taxi to St. Andrews if you're on a budget.

 

Was lucky enough to get on the Old Course. Played the 18th hole in near darkness around 10 PM. Was nice, but I need to go back. Worst part about the Old Course is it's a death march. Yes, it's an amazing round and you'll love every second. But there are so many groups...it can be very slow. 

 

Also consider going to Gleneagles. Not the far by train, another bucket list track. 

 

Looks like I'll have most of the day Thursday, all day Friday and most of the day on Saturday to get in golf.  I've decided to make my home base in St. Andrews and go stand in the daily queue at 3am each morning until I get on. Don't think I can play 3 $300 courses, so Muirfield and Gleneagles are out of the question but at least Old Course I will play. Depending on if I get on the Old Course on a given day, I'll play the other St. Andrews courses and wherever else I can get on as a single that is an easy cab ride away.

 

The rest of the week I'm in Edinburgh for work so was going to try and get out for a late round at Gullane and maybe one or two other cheaper courses.

 

I'm doing a lot of unplanned golf, but from what I've read as a single I should be in ok shape to bounce around to whatever has openings, giving me the most flexibility to get on the Old Course.

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At that time of year you can play until 10pm as long as it is not "dreich". You can tee off at 5:30pm and still get round the local parkland courses after work. Ones that I have played and are normally in good condition

 

Prestonfield

Liberton

Ratho Park

Royal Musselburgh

 

I'm about 15 miles outside Edinburgh playing at http://www.westlothiangc.com/which is always worth a play. Not too challenging at 6200yds 

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Thanks to those of you that replied to this thread. I just got back from my time in Scotland and the feedback was definitely helpful.  I wanted to share my experience in case others may be in the same situation.

 

I flew into Edinburgh airport and very easily hopped on a bus up to St. Andrews (one transfer - but follow the university kids!). When I got to St. Andrews I checked into the Cameron House B&B and walked over to the courses. After a lunch and some exploration, I played the Strathtyrum course at about 3:30pm. It's a fairly basic course, not too long and not much elevation changes. After being jet-lagged and on 1 hour sleep this was a nice intro to Scottish golf and it was cheap. I played by myself and was able to just enjoy being there without any pressure.

I was a single, so no 48-hour lottery or pre-booking the old course. I got up at about 2:15 am and got in line at the Old course pavilion at about 2:45.  I was 5th in line at that time. More people showed up at about 3:30.  Doors opened at 6 and I think the first 15 people were able to get on the course that day. I was lucky to get a 12:30 tee time so I went back home for a nap, which was perfect. I figure I could have gotten in line about an hour later and still made the cut, bit didn't want to take the chance since I had a small window to play the Old Course.  I talked to another gentleman who got in line the next day, he was there at 2am and was 3rd in line and joined the first tee time of the day.  For the days I was there it seems like you need to be at least top 10 to have a good chance, but get there before 3am to increase those odds.  As for the Old Course itself, it was beautiful sunny day, 65 degrees not a cloud in the sky (I got no rain my entire trip so I felt a bit cheated on true Scottish golf ;)). I played with a nice family, father and two kids 10 and 7 years old from Manila.  They were pretty good. I played some of my best golf of the year, including striping a 4i off the 1st tee with the wind at my back, I was super nervous about that first shot.  Wind was at my back the first 6 holes, then you turn a bit and things get tricky, but still a wonderful experience!!!

 

The next day I hopped the bus back to Edinburgh to fulfill my work duties. Again, the bus was super easy. At the end of the following week I had a half day and took another bus to Gullane and played Gullane #2 (straight shot by bus about 1 hour 15 minutes). What a beautiful property. Along the coast and so much elevation changes. It was like nothing I had ever played before. It was windier than St. Andrews and a bit more challenging for a 10-12 handicapper. I wish I was able to play #1, but being on #2 I teed off around 2pm and was able to play alone. That was great because I was constantly taking pictures of the beautiful surroundings, taking my time and just enjoying being there.

 

All in all, it was a bucket list experience for me and I want to go back and do a full Scottish golf trip as opposed to squeezing it in between work days. Thanks again for the help in understanding the Scottish golf environment!

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How about posting some of those beautiful pictures? It would make your post come to life.  :)

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All in all, it was a bucket list experience for me and I want to go back and do a full Scottish golf trip as opposed to squeezing it in between work days. Thanks again for the help in understanding the Scottish golf environment!

Its great to hear that you had a good time, and like plaidjacket suggested, please post some of your photos when you get the chance.  I'm off tomorrow night for Scotland, 4 days near Prestwick, 4 days near Gullane, and not a bit of work planned. :D

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Reston, Virginia

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