European Golf Vacations

The Best Course to Play Under St. Andrews’ Two-Course Rule


Advanced reservations for the Old Course at St. Andrews requires you to select a second course to play.

In case you missed my earlier reminder, tomorrow (September 5) is your first chance to apply for 2013 “advanced reservations” for St. Andrews’ Old Course — something that can save you thousands of dollars.

Now, before you submit your application (starting at, but not before, 10 am BST), be aware that the St. Andrews Links Trust enforces a “two course rule.”

Basically, when you request an advanced tee time for St. Andrews’ Old Course in peak season (April to October), you must do the same for a second SALT course: New, Jubilee, Castle, Eden, or Strathtyrum.

As you can imagine, the question I get all the time is: Which course should I/we choose?

There are three that I’d recommend, and the best choice for you depends on what you’re looking for.

The New Course looks and plays most like the Old Course (although with fewer blind shots and mounds) and it’s “right there” next to the Old Course. So, if you want to stay in town and play a course similar to the Old, go with the New. Many St. Andrews regulars actually prefer it to the Old Course.

If you want the Old Course vibe but the New Course isn’t available, try the Jubilee, another popular and worthy choice. It’s the longest of the courses and the nearest to the sea, so, as you can imagine, it can be quite challenging when the wind is up.

For a somewhat different look and feel, try the Castle Course. Located just out of town on a rugged ridge overlooking St. Andrews and the sea, it provides the sternest challenge of all the St. Andrews Links Trust courses.

And here’s another reason to consider the Castle Course: it’s the only one that can be booked in advance any day of the week. The New course cannot be booked in advance for Saturdays and there are only limited times available after 2pm on Saturdays for the Jubilee (and Eden and Strathtyrum).

The Links Trust says it will make every effort to accommodate your “second course” request. If it can’t, you’ll be assigned to one of the remaining courses.

Good luck!

By the way, even if you’re lucky enough to secure a tee time for St. Andrews’ Old Course on your own, I’ve found many benefits to using a travel agent with specific, St. Andrews expertise.

If you’d like me to recommend one based on your specific travel plans and preferences, simply email me: editor [at] golfvacationinsider [dot] com

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1 Comment

  1. Lex

    September 5, 2012 at 12:08 am

    I have a few comments, based on two visits to St Andrews. First, I completely agree with your endorsement of the New and Jubilee Courses, which are fine tests. However, while I personally enjoyed the Castle Course, many of our group found it too tricked up, especially with regard to the breaks on the greens (this was in 2009). Lastly, I was surprised at what a strong (and scenic) test the Eden Course provided. It seems more casual in atmosphere than the other courses (several local players were accompanied by their dogs), and I had anticipated an easy replay round; instead, I shot a higher score at Eden than at Jubilee.

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