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Two Easy Ways to Score One of Golf’s Toughest Tee Times

by Craig Better

Jul162013

Here are two ways to score tee times at world-famous Muirfield.

Here are two ways to score tee times at world-famous Muirfield.

This week’s Open Championship site, Muirfield, is considered one of the ten best golf courses in the world.

And you can play it.

That said, most people find it challenging to score a tee time, and all the attention this week is only going to make it tougher, but here are two easy ways to get on:

Method #1: Book Early with the Aid of Muirfield’s Website
Muirfield has a limited number of standing tee times available for outside play on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but, as you can imagine, competition is keen for these slots; they’re sometimes booked months or even a year in advance.

Muirfield Golf Club logoThe good news is, you can check availability at the club’s website (muirfield.org.uk), and if you do it early enough, you’ll have a very good chance of getting your preferred time.

And here’s another major advantage of booking directly with the club: you’ll have the option of playing 36 holes with Muirfield’s infamous “lunch” in between.

After your morning round, you put on your jacket (the one men are required to arrive in), sit at the club’s long, community tables (often alongside members), and tuck into an all-world feast that begins with soup, moves to sirloin of beef or fillet of pork en croute, then ends with a wide variety of sweets and cheeses.

After that, you head back out for an afternoon round of alternate shot. The overall experience is, in a word, unforgettable.

The only downside of booking directly with the club is, you’ll have to nail down other aspects of your travel plans in advance, too, which can be equally challenging.

Method #2: Book a Room at the Greywalls Hotel
If you’re not the “plan ahead” type, you can still secure a tee time at Muirfield by being a guest of Greywalls (greywalls.co.uk), the 25-room, boutique hotel that sits behind the 10th tee.

Trying to score one of Muirfield's precious tee times? This may be your "inn."

Trying to score one of Muirfield’s precious tee times? This may be your “inn.”

Greywalls guests can secure tee times outside the general Tuesday/Thursday visitor pool because the hotel has its own private tee sheet slots on certain Friday afternoons and Monday mornings.

There aren’t a ton of them, to be sure, but if the online tee times are no longer available, this is another way on…and it’s not like you’ll be roughing it.

According to the editors of Golf Odyssey, “Greywalls is the embodiment of Edwardian charm. For as long as we’ve been heading across the pond, it’s been our favorite accommodation in the Muirfield realm. It’s cozy and intimate, and you feel like you’re staying at a house rather than a hotel.”

(Just be sure to inquire about the size of your room before booking; some are quite small.)

The other big draw at Greywalls is its restaurant, Chez Roux, run by Albert Roux, a star chef best known for the Michelin two-star La Gavroche in London.

The downside of going the Greywalls route to play Muirfield is this: if you don’t play on a Tuesday or Thursday, it’s golf only. You don’t get access to clubhouse and the epic lunch feast, which many feel is the “total experience.”

Have you played Muirfield? Planning on it?

Please share your thoughts or read what others are saying below.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 robert driscoll July 16, 2013 at 10:01 am

I played Muirfield a couple Septembers ago by staying at Greywalls. I had a great room overlooking the 10th tee. I just wish I had booked for more than one night. The course is sublime, a true test of golf without being spectacular or overly difficult depending on the wind. Ask for young Steven as your caddy, I had him for 2 days in a row and his putt reading was exceptional. The food at Chex Roux is excellent. Next time I go back to east Lothian I will be sure to stay at Greywalls again.

2 Tom G July 16, 2013 at 10:05 am

In Sept 2009 we had two foursomes and were booked through a golf travel co. We had a wonderful day of golf on a great course. Not a overwhelming course and completely wide open unlike Turnberry’s seaside open track. No food, only golf. As our driver was helping us with our golf bags I asked him if he ever played Muirfield and his reply was he had never even been through the gates! Very exclusive.

3 Hans Berntson July 16, 2013 at 10:56 am

I have played Muirfield and I have every intention of doing it again. It is the best course I’ve ever played, it is simply outstanding on every level. It is a very demanding course, yet never unfair, very memorable even though set on a somewhat featureless ground, great variety but never confusing.
And the the lunch is unforgettable.

4 Susie Whyte July 16, 2013 at 11:02 am

Stayed at Greywalls a couple of years ago…food was excellent, room slightly disappointing in a shabby-chic way. Husband played Muirfield and thoroughly enjoyed it.

5 Jim Vermeulen July 16, 2013 at 11:07 am

I had the privilege of playing Muirfield this past may, along with N. Berwick, the Old Course-St Andrews, Kingsbarn, Castle-St Andrews, Burnside and Championship courses at Carnoustie. It was a GREAT Trip !! Muirfield had by far the BEST Caddies, one of them was Sam Torrence’s regular caddy on the tour !!, The Clubhouse and lunch were a great treat. The whole experience was magical, my knees were shaking going down the first fairway !! Even the drive up the unmarked driveway was special. Course is very tough, but also fair. Any golfer who gets the chance to join the “Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers” for a day should Not miss the opportuity!!

6 Janet July 16, 2013 at 11:36 am

the only thing you forgot to mention is that women are NOT welcome, unless accompanied by a male. so our foursome of women travelling scotland was not welcome.

7 Rusty D. July 16, 2013 at 11:40 am

I played Muirfield in July of 2011 and although the history of the place is awe inspiring, the actual course was not particularly appealing to me. Lots of wheat-like tall grass out line most fairways, and with the exception of 2 or 3 holes, the course is rather unremarkable. Since I went on the Greywalls approach to get on the course I did not get to have the meal in the Club House, which I would have enjoyed. However, after playing Kingsbarns, Turnberry, and Carnoustie, I would rate Muirfield probably 4th of this group. Greywalls was a neat place to stay and the food was excellent. Since my dad had a hole in one on #4 at Muirfield, I’m sure it was his favorite!!

8 David Moon July 16, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Disagree with Rusty. Played it over 40 years ago for the first time, and was almost in tears walking off 18, saying to my wife ” you’ve just seen one of the world’s best golf courses.” The layout is a masterpiece. Have played it subsequently with a travel group, and the famous ex secretary Paddy even loaned one of our guys a jacket for lunch!
The stories about him are classic, and mostly true.

9 Ray R July 16, 2013 at 3:20 pm

We played Muirfield in 1991. It was even more exclusive then if possible. We booked our tee times over a year in advance. We were allowed to play only two somes and could get only two tee times. Payne Stewart who had just won the U.S. Open was in Scotland early
tuning up for the British. They would not let him on the course. He played Gullane instead. Bill Rogers who won the British Open in 1981 was there with 3 four somes from his club in San Antonio.He could only get one group on the course. He was told, ” Mr. Rogers if you
have two more Open Champions in your party we can accomodate your other two groups. Ther was no street name or sign indicating the location of the course. The only sign led to Greywalls Inn. At the deadend past Greywalls were several large barns and a wire fence
with a tiny sign on it that read , HCEG. A man in rubber boots passing by confirmed that this was acatually Muirfield (Honourable Company of Edinburg Golfers) and indicated that we should park in one of the Barns and report to the club Secretary. There was no pro shop.
The Club Secretary gave us a scorecard, told us to wear a coat and tie to lunch, and sent us off to the caddie shack. The Greens fee was 45 pounds and the marvelous lunch was 12 pounds. My impression of the course was that it would be relatively easy if the fairways had not
been lined with 3 foot tall fescue into which your ball disapeared only to be found by future generations. Memory dims after 22 years, but in my mind the lunch was more memorable than the course.

10 Rod August 4, 2013 at 7:01 pm

Was able to play Muirfield 2 years ago with my wife, where we gained a tee time via their web site (we played in late October, hence a low call for the tee times). Muirfield absolutely lived up to its reputation, and the complete experience of the lunch and the historic nature of the club are nearly without equal. What made it most special was that my wife was the first female who was ever allowed into the main dining room for lunch (historically women were allowed into the Captain’s room for sandwiches only). We are still not clear how we got the privilege, but we will never forget it. Perhaps it was because no one before us had ever asked.

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