Lonely Planet review
Golf has been played at St Andrews since the 15th century, and by 1457 it was apparently so popular that James II had to ban it because it was interfering with his troops' archery practice. Few people realise that anyone can play the Old Course, the world's most famous golf course. Although it lies beside the exclusive, all-male Royal & Ancient Golf Club, the Old Course is a public course and is not owned by the club.
Getting a tee-off time is - literally - something of a lottery. Unless you book months in advance, the only chance you have of playing here is by entering a ballot before 14:00 on the day before you wish to play. Be warned that applications by ballot are normally heavily oversubscribed, and green fees are a mere around £150. There's no play on Sunday. Singles are not accepted in the ballot and should start queuing as early as possible on the day – 5am is good – in the hope of joining a group. You’ll need a handicap certificate (24/36 for men/ women). If your number doesn’t come up, there are six other public courses in the area.
Guided walks (£2.50) of the Old Course run Tuesday to Sunday in July and August, and hit famous landmarks such as the Swilcan Bridge and the Road Hole bunker. They run from outside the shop by the 18th green at 11am and 1.30pm and last 50 minutes. On Sunday, a three-hour walk (£5) takes you around the whole course. You are free to walk over the course on Sunday, or follow the footpaths around the edge at any time.