Skip to main content

St Andrews vs Pebble Beach Which is easier to get on

No matter how you slice it, playing St. Andrews or Pebble Beach will cost you a few bucks. But at which course is it easier to get a tee time? senior writers Mike Bailey and Brandon Tucker do battle to help you find the answer.


First off, if you want to play Pebble Beach Golf Links, it will cost you. But anybody can play it. There have been golfers from California to Maine, from Mexico to Canada who have fed the piggy bank for a decade or so to get a chance to experience the links above the bluffs of Carmel Bay. And almost to a man -- or a woman -- they will report that it was well worth it, no matter the weather, no matter their score.

But how much will it cost you to play Pebble Beach? The green fee is $495, and you'll probably want to take a caddie, which will cost you a little more. But that's just the beginning. Playing Pebble requires a two-night minimum stay at one of the Pebble Beach lodges, and, as you might expect, they're not cheap. For example, an Ocean View room at the Lodge at Pebble Beach is $965 per night bringing the tab to around $2,500.

There are more economical options. You can get a Garden View room at the Lodge at Spanish Bay for $595 per night, lowering the tab around $1,800. But there are ways to get around the two-night stay as well. For one, you can show up as a single early in the day and wait around for an opening. Even Pebble isn't interested in unsold tee times. It'll still $495, but you don't have to pay for a room.

You can also try to reserve a tee time inside of 24 hours, which doesn't require a stay, but there are no guarantees you'll get a tee time either. And that might be problematic if you're planning a trip to Pebble Beach with the intention of playing. There are other great courses at Pebble, of course, namely Spyglass Hill Golf Course and the Links at Spanish Bay, and those require a one-night stay unless you exercise the other options above.


Getting a tee time on the Old Course at St. Andrews can be a bit more complicated than Pebble Beach, but it's almost always cheaper than $495, listing at 130 pounds in the peak season.

For starters, no mandatory overnight stay is required to book St. Andrews like at Pebble Beach Resort, where the nightly rate at the lodge can be close to that of a roundtrip flight from New York to Edinburgh, Scotland.

If you're headed to St. Andrews for that once-in-a-lifetime round on the Old, chances are you want a guaranteed tee time through a golf packager. You'll pay a hefty surcharge, but also rest easy knowing the starter will call your name.

But the best way to do St. Andrews is with a little flexibility. Stay in the town for an extended time and enter the lottery every day while you're there.

Stay in Fife for four days, and it's practically guaranteed you'll be booked on the Old if you enter the lottery every day, and possibly
even more than once. There are enough golf courses in Fife that accept last-minute tee times that you can head to St. Andrews with no rounds booked and still play a links somewhere everyday. The next door New Course caters to walk-on play, as it was intended for this when built back in the 19th century.

If you're good at planning ahead, write the Links Trust in the fall before the next golf season asking for a tee time. Or, if you're a single golfer, hang by the starter's shed and wait for an available spot (I did this and got on within a half hour of showing up one April afternoon).

Just remember the course is closed every Sunday and becomes a public park. Take a walk around or have a picnic in the Hell Bunker.