Remember St Andrews Old Course is closed for play on Sundays, so you can walk the whole course without restrictions... (unlike the Saturday you have planned) get your photos on the Swilcan Bridge etc. Leave time to play the Himalayas putting course (as said above) ...it lots of fun! St Andrews golf museum next to the R&A Building might be something to consider and Tom Morris' grave is in the Cathedral graveyard.
One thing is they are flying home Sunday afternoon so if playing golf on sunday there is unlikely to be a lot of itime to do much else in St Andrews other than driving back to the airport after a round of golf.
As I have said earlier, do not underestimate the difficulty of getting golf times on a saturday or a sunday morning at members courses , you may well find you cannot get one on any of the courses you initally listed other than on the friday. The St Andrews courses will have times providing you book well in advance.
If you are struggling for one on the sunday when you are flying back, you could consider Braid Hills which is a municipal course in Edinburgh and a lot of fun with great views over the City though even that I would imagine will need booking well in advance for a Sunday morning. https://www.edinburghleisure.co.uk/venues/braid-hills-golf-course
(Mussleburgh would also be possible though you would have to drive past the airport from Fife to get there and then go back again.)
It's nowhere near 100 years old, but given the info you've provided, I'd be fitting the Strathtyrum at St Andrews into that list - gives a taste of St Andrews without beating up a high handicapper - largely flat and wide it's got the same turf and conditioning of the bigger courses and has really interesting greens and proper St Andrews pot bunkers. It was £35 a round this year in high season.
This is really good advice, and bold part very true, the last two holes turn towards the auld toon, OK you're not heading up 17 & 18 on the old course, but you're heading towards St Andrews, it's actually the only St A course I've played, and that last two holes sent a shiver up the spine, purely due to location.
While I 100% agree with patricks148 that I'd definitely want to be playing links if visiting Fife - I had a look at prices for courses in Fife and if budget is tight the links courses are pricey - for guide the original posters most expensive course on their original list is £35 (weekday) for Aberdour
May 2021 prices
Leven Links £75
Lundin Links £120
Crail £98 for Balcolmie - £78 for Craighead
Elie £100 (2022 price)
St Andrews (May 2021 prices)
New course £90
All of those are decent but hardly bucket list courses and reflect typical pricing just now for the East coast of Scotland - prices will go up everywhere next year - my home course Monifieth Medal which is a bit further North is going from £95 a round this year to £105 next year and that seems to be the sort of rises that will happen everywhere around here.
I’m a high handicapper and have a caravan in Crail. Crail Balcomie is excellent course, providing brilliant links experience running right along the coast. It’s very welcoming and while offering a challenging test is shorter than some of the other links courses in Fife.
By chance, we played Aberdour and Burntisland on our golfing trip in 2019. Burntisland was a nice course, interesting and incredibly hilly, but not interesting enough for a second visit. Aberdour on the other hand was so good we went back there in September and played 36 holes. It was just as enjoyable as the first time round.
We stayed in Dunfermline. 15 minutes from Aberdour but only just over the bridge so not too far from Edinburgh. Decent sized town with a good selection of hotels and a bit more to do on an evening than some of the smaller villages in the area.
For the lower priced courses, Aberdour and Burntisland are great fun courses which are recommended by most. Kinghorn too is a great links-style course and being a muni won’t break the bank. And Musselburgh Old Links was among the courses where The Open was first held, so is a good idea too.
However considering you’re going all that way, I’d recommend playing some of the better courses. Links With History http://www.linkswithhistory.com/price-list cover Lundin, Crail, Ladybank and Scotscraig at much better rates than the full green fee. Just £70 per course when you book a minimum of two courses, or £50 in April.
On top of that are your best friend - twilight rates. Last year Crail did Balcomie for just £35pp, and Leven was £40. Ladybank was £55, as was Elie. So do consider contacting these clubs and asking them what offers they might have.
As mentioned by others, the Eden, Jubilee and Strathtyrum courses at St Andrews would be ideal for your group too, especially if you had a bit longer to stay. They do a 3 day ticket from £240, and you could easily play 6 rounds in that time, which reduces the cost to £40 a round. Importantly for you, these rounds have only to be played on any three days out of seven, so you could play elsewhere in between.
On all of these courses, it’s important to stress that YOU can choose the tees you play off. So you can pick the forward tees if a course/hole is especially long or daunting. You can even pick and mix between holes. Hopefully that will encourage your friends not to worry too much about the playing experience.
Lastly, I’d suggest basing yourselves in St Andrews. It’s far more interesting a place for a group to while away their time, there’s loads to do in terms of food & drink, pubs, walks, history & golfing interest, plus is only 40 minutes from the foothills of the Cairngorm Mountains, should you fancy a day out in the glorious Highlands.
Feel free to inbox or post on here any questions. I’ve undertaken multiple trips to Scotland over the years so I’m knowledgeable and very happy to help 🙏
I would NOT be playing either Aberdour or Burntisland at this time of year. Rain is starting to fall quite heavily and those do not hold water well at all. Aberdour's policy for dealing with water is to chuck a tonne of sand on the greens. So unless they were offering a serious discount on rates, absolutely not worth it.
Kinghorn isn't a true links throughout, the "top" side is very much mud/clay soil and it can get quite boggy in areas. However it's still an enjoyable enough course and as pointed out, it's a muni so probably only £15 a skull at this time of year.
If that Crail voucher works out at under £30 a skull then that would be much better value with much better playable conditions on a much better course.
I may be inversely biased as I live in Dunfermline, but no way on earth would I stay here as a holiday destination, the town is an absolute joke with the exception of a couple of decent Indian restaurants, I certainly don't go out drinking in the town anywhere.
I also might be bias, but I'd play Pitreavie (Dunfermline) before Burntisland. Abdabs is ok in the summer, just the wanky members you need to deal with (one of the primary reasons I resigned membership in 2009).
Once again, thanks all. Lots of great advice! I need to discuss with the lads. One just said: no more than 18 holes a day. So, three days = three courses. Eden sounds like a lock. Just two more picks haha
Played Burntisland in the summer as a stop off on the way up to St Andrews. Nice course with great views. One bizarre hole where both your tee shot and your second are totally blind. I'd happily play it again.
As for St Andrews, loved Eden and Jubilee. Castle was too tough for us (20 handicappers), didn't enjoy it at all. Strathtyrum was a bit bland and boring imo.
Once again thanks. I talked to the guys. Some of them only play once a year. So easy does it. Plan has evolved: play an 18 hole course somewhere en route Airport -> Hotel/B&B. Likely candidates: Aberdour, Burntisland, Kinghorn. Saturday = St Andrews day: Play Eden Course and do the whole St Andrews thing. Sunday, leaving day, play an 18 hole course, Sunday lunch -> airport. Candidates for Sunday: any of the three courses we didn't play on Friday or Braid Hills with Sunday lunch in The Golf Tavern.
Many, many thanks again for all the tips. I'll post a trip report once we've experienced it!
I have lots, most would see me banned from the forum...
Kirkcaldy (Balwearie) is an ok course but nothing more than that, the other is Dunnikier Park which is a council course and if it rains even a little you could double up with doing some bog-snorkelling.
If you mean Kirkcaldy as a place to stay... avoid would be my advice.