Time table changes for Old Course

February, 9, 2011

The Old Course is going to a new system.

For those wanting to play the storied links in St. Andrews, Scotland, via the daily ballot, a policy that will go into effect in 2012 will allow for a bit more flexibility.

There are numerous ways to get on the Old Course, home of last year's British Open won by Louis Oosthuizen and the venue most often used for the oldest major championship.

But the easiest and often most affordable is via a daily draw. A minimum of two players can submit their names and handicaps and see if they get chosen.

For more than 100 years, that method has been used on a daily basis: put your names in today, and see if you get picked to play tomorrow.

But after considerable consternation, the St. Andrews Links Trust, which runs the course and several others in town, will draw names 48 hours in advance, beginning Jan. 7, 2012. (The system is also administered online.)

"This is a historic moment of change and one which has been carefully considered," said Euan Loudon, the chief executive of St. Andrews Links Trust. "We hope the 48-hour ahead system will help local golfers plan their golf and encourage visiting golfers to stay longer in St. Andrews and play more golf while they are here.''

The Links Trust runs six other courses in St. Andrews and is hoping that those denied a spot on the Old Course will use the extra time to make a booking at another course.

According to The Scotsman, just less than half of the tee times are set aside for the ballot, with all of the tee times done in this manner on Saturdays. The course is closed Sundays.

Green fees through the ballot for the high season are 140 pounds, or about $225.

Bob Harig covers golf for ESPN.com. He can be reached at BobHarig@gmail.com.

Bob Harig | email

Golf Writer, ESPN.com




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