Playing the Old Course Solo...

Maninblack4612

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Enjoy! You’ve got a perfect day, it’s looking glorious out there. Don’t worry about the timing, it’ll be fine, and playing up 18 in twilight of a sunny day is magic. Friday night holiday weekend, plenty of tourists milling around, you might even get a little applause from the gallery. You can’t beat it. 👍
Play well left on 18! Seriously, enjoy yourself. It's a unique experience I last enjoyed in the late 60s. Would love to do it again.
 

Bratty

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I found myself wishing I had his number so I could message him from 14.30 onwards to make sure he didn't miss his tee time!
 

Bratty

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Maybe he's driving straight home, so we won't hear anything for another 45 minutes?
 

TigerTime

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Hello all. I have made it home. Here is a report. So glad I made the decision to go.

Had about 2 hours sleep since I was so excited and set off at 4am. Got to the pavilion for 5.30am and was 6th in the queue, probably a good thing I was there when I was as another 10 or so joined shortly after. Was told by one of the staff at 6.30am that there was 8 definite free times today and the rest were dependant on the two balls/three balls saying yes to someone joining. . I got offered the definite time of 3.30pm or I could say no to that and chance it with the two balls/three balls. Just said yes to 3.30pm knowing fine well would be cutting it fine for daylight but rather have the guarantee than a wasted trip. Me and my new Aussie solos queue mate Wayne, who was on some midlife crisis golfing trip across the world, got the 3.30pm time. Weather was absolutely cracking. Every time I go to St. Andrews regardless of reason I just feel almost in awe of the place. Just has that sort of mystical aura. It's class.

So it was 6.30am and I wasn't teeing off until 3.30pm, running on 2 hours sleep with nowhere to stay. I had time to make the one hour thirty minute drive home and get about 3/4 hours sleep in my own bed but I decided that was a waste of fuel to do the trip twice. Thankfully I'd brought a pillow and a blanket in the car with me so just went and attempted to sleep in the car. Got an hour, then woke up again, went for breakfast in town, back to the car to try get more sleep, got another 45 minutes. Decided to go for a wonder into the golfing shops, overpriced garbage. Literally running on fumes at this point I could feel my eyes shutting as I was walking around. So grand total of 3 hours 45 minutes sleep since this time last night. Went to the driving range to hit some balls, sat and watched people tee off etc. I kind of wish I got another tee time for somewhere else in the morning once I knew I was getting the Old Course time but I was absolutely shattered and needed to get as much sleep as possible.

Golf wise, I wasn't expecting much since I was so tired and had zero energy and also that wait on the first tee with the public standing around is bloody nerve wracking. I never usually get first tee nerves but I was absolutely bricking it. Thankfully hit a nice fade into the middle of the fairway. Played off the blue tees at 6352 yards. Went out in 43, which considering the circumstances was absolutely chuffed with. Running on pure adrenaline at this point. That included a three par run at 7/8/9 and I really should have made par at 6 also but I ended up three putting after rushing my second putt. The back 9 wasn't so great. Just ran out of energy completely and could barely function as normal. Got into quite a few bunkers on the back 9 and it basically wrecked my card. I wasn't really caring tbh, was all about the experience. Had a good group so decent chat and banter. My only real gripe was the pace of play. It was horrendous. 5 hour round. It just seems like they are trying to cram as many people as possible onto the course. It was getting quite dark as we teed off at 17 but was finishing regardless. I actually hit a shocking banana slice ball over the corner of the hotel off the tee and thought it was a goner tbh. Some poor bloke in the Jigger Inn having his pint ruined but it actually made the fairway somehow. Going up 18 in the twilight was pretty special. Bailed on the tee shot and went left onto the first fairway. Looked at the yardage and just picked a club and swung it for the second and got onto the green about 30ft from the pin on the left side. Drained the 30 footer for a birdie on 18, almost as if it was meant to be, to cap off a glorious day and round in 93. Not a great back 9 and I believe in the same conditions with me with normal energy state I'd have scored better but I'll be back, next time with more sleep.
 

AJNairn

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Hello all. I have made it home. Here is a report. So glad I made the decision to go.

Had about 2 hours sleep since I was so excited and set off at 4am. Got to the pavilion for 5.30am and was 6th in the queue, probably a good thing I was there when I was as another 10 or so joined shortly after. Was told by one of the staff at 6.30am that there was 8 definite free times today and the rest were dependant on the two balls/three balls saying yes to someone joining. . I got offered the definite time of 3.30pm or I could say no to that and chance it with the two balls/three balls. Just said yes to 3.30pm knowing fine well would be cutting it fine for daylight but rather have the guarantee than a wasted trip. Me and my new Aussie solos queue mate Wayne, who was on some midlife crisis golfing trip across the world, got the 3.30pm time. Weather was absolutely cracking. Every time I go to St. Andrews regardless of reason I just feel almost in awe of the place. Just has that sort of mystical aura. It's class.

So it was 6.30am and I wasn't teeing off until 3.30pm, running on 2 hours sleep with nowhere to stay. I had time to make the one hour thirty minute drive home and get about 3/4 hours sleep in my own bed but I decided that was a waste of fuel to do the trip twice. Thankfully I'd brought a pillow and a blanket in the car with me so just went and attempted to sleep in the car. Got an hour, then woke up again, went for breakfast in town, back to the car to try get more sleep, got another 45 minutes. Decided to go for a wonder into the golfing shops, overpriced garbage. Literally running on fumes at this point I could feel my eyes shutting as I was walking around. So grand total of 3 hours 45 minutes sleep since this time last night. Went to the driving range to hit some balls, sat and watched people tee off etc. I kind of wish I got another tee time for somewhere else in the morning once I knew I was getting the Old Course time but I was absolutely shattered and needed to get as much sleep as possible.

Golf wise, I wasn't expecting much since I was so tired and had zero energy and also that wait on the first tee with the public standing around is bloody nerve wracking. I never usually get first tee nerves but I was absolutely bricking it. Thankfully hit a nice fade into the middle of the fairway. Played off the blue tees at 6352 yards. Went out in 43, which considering the circumstances was absolutely chuffed with. Running on pure adrenaline at this point. That included a three par run at 7/8/9 and I really should have made par at 6 also but I ended up three putting after rushing my second putt. The back 9 wasn't so great. Just ran out of energy completely and could barely function as normal. Got into quite a few bunkers on the back 9 and it basically wrecked my card. I wasn't really caring tbh, was all about the experience. Had a good group so decent chat and banter. My only real gripe was the pace of play. It was horrendous. 5 hour round. It just seems like they are trying to cram as many people as possible onto the course. It was getting quite dark as we teed off at 17 but was finishing regardless. I actually hit a shocking banana slice ball over the corner of the hotel off the tee and thought it was a goner tbh. Some poor bloke in the Jigger Inn having his pint ruined but it actually made the fairway somehow. Going up 18 in the twilight was pretty special. Bailed on the tee shot and went left onto the first fairway. Looked at the yardage and just picked a club and swung it for the second and got onto the green about 30ft from the pin on the left side. Drained the 30 footer for a birdie on 18 to cap off a glorious day and round in 93. Not a great back 9 and I believe in the same conditions with me with normal energy state I'd have scored better but I'll be back, next time with more sleep.
Seems a pretty familiar experience! I've played it a few times and it's always been a magic experience! Who cares about the score! Getting out of the bunkers is part of the experience - I've been in Hell and The Road Hole ones! Likewise, tee shot on 17! Well done on 18 too! Sleep well!
 

Jimaroid

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Excellent, sounds like the ideal Old Course experience. Sorry to hear about the slow play though, it’s generally well timed but later in the day of course it does happen.

Great to finish with a birdie. Don’t beat yourself up about the inward 9 too much, it’s tougher than people think. You have to hold on to to any score you make going out as 11 onwards wrecks many cards. It’s one of the courses many charms.
 

Bratty

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Thanks for the write up. Great story.
Sorry your car wasn't comfortable enough for a decent kip, but knowing you were about to play the Old Course probably meant a king-size bed wouldn't have done the business either.
Always nice to get 3 pars in a row, and on that course, not easy.
That's one amazing course ticked off your list! Congrats.
 

greencajun

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Thanks for all the great tips in this thread! I'll be arriving in St. Andrews on May 28, will it be as busy then as in summer? I'll be trying the ballot but am ready to queue at 4am or so if that's what it takes.
 

Albo

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Just saw the update to this, excellent write up, if someone were to look in on this thread and objectively pick apart what we written, they would quite rightly come to the conclusion that we, as a bunch of golfers, are mad!
I’m glad you enjoyed and am jealous
 
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