One of the biggest unknowns on the trip was whether any or many of us would get to play The Old Course. As the popularity of The Home of Golf has increased the "busy" time to play the course has extended into late October/early November.
Further restricting our chances was the fact that the clocks "fell back" on Sunday leaving less daylight and fewer tee times.
One of the benefits of waiting in line for the Old Course (for me anyway) was getting to see the morning mow.
A random ballot is run 48 hours before each day the course is available. The course is closed on Sunday. We agreed that once someone got out on the course from the ballot that they would remove themselves from future days to allow others a better chance.
There is also a walk-up policy where you can register each morning for any single openings that come up. The line usually starts forming at 4 AM each day.
The waiting list procedures
We arrived in St. Andrews early enough on Saturday that five of us got out on the walk-up basis. It was a windy day but that simply added to the experience. Four more got out on the ballot on Monday, eight were successful on Tuesday and the final four got out on the ballot on Wednesday. A few of us walked-on via the waiting list on Wednesday. I had decided to go over at 6 AM that morning and I was the third person in line. A quick What's App text to our group at that time brought John Brauer and David Whelchel over to play.
The walk-on queue was short at 6AM on Wednesday.
So our final result was that all 19 players played it once and five of us got to play it twice. Despite all the challenges to registering, the St. Andrews Links Trust does want to give everyone who wants to play The Old Course a chance to do so.
John Brauer and David Whelchel receive instructions from the starter on the Old Course.