Can I use a golf buggy at St Andrews?

The subject of golf buggies (or golf carts) comes up regularly in my discussions with clients when organising their golf trips to Scotland, in particular the use of a golf buggy at St Andrews, and of course, how to reserve a buggy on the Old Course, the hottest topic of all.

Using a golf buggy in St Andrews

Golf buggies in Scotland – an overview

Traditionally Scottish golf courses are maintained as a ‘walking experience’ and as such the use of a buggy is generally restricted to those with specific needs. While the hiring of a caddie (or a pull trolley) to carry your bag is widely available, in some cases, such as at North Berwick a buggy is not permitted under any circumstances – “The undulating terrain  is not suitable for golf buggies / carts.” (see more here)

There are a few welcome exceptions such as Gleneagles (see below), but even there the use of a buggy on their premium courses is strictly under a medical exemption.

So, returning to the question ‘Can I use a golf buggy at St Andrews?’, the first thing to note, is of course, that there are 7 courses run by the St Andrews Links Trust, one of which is the Old Course, and the rules vary.

Buggy availability

There are an extremely limited number of buggies available. All requests are always:

  • Subject to availability
  • Suitable ground conditions
    As determined by the Course Managers.

Be sure to check the most up to date Links Trust buggy policy:

Golf Course# Buggies available
Old Course2
Castle Course3
New / Jubilee courses6
Eden / Balgove / Strathtyrum courses10
Total21

Note: the available buggies will be shared between visitor golfers and Links Ticket holders.

#1 Using a golf buggy on the Old Course St Andrews

These are the official statements from the Links Trust on the use of buggies on the Old Course:

Golfers with a permanent condition of disability and relevant supporting documentation may request a buggy for use on the Old Course. Golfers’ disability documentation should be provided at the time of booking or when entering the Old Course Ballot.

The Trust Golf Courses were not designed for buggy use. The hazards on the Trust Golf Courses make navigating the golf course a greater challenge. The Trust is proud of its heritage as hosting the Home of Golf and it has the responsibility to ensure that its golf courses are maintained to a high standard. Therefore, the Trust is not able to provide buggies to all golfers and must minimise the impact of golf buggies on its golf courses.

Tip: ‘Suitable ground conditions’ are usually weather related. I have had a client holding the relevant documentation who was unable to take a buggy as the ground conditions were deemed too wet (and therefore dangerous) to be suitable for a buggy.

Can I request a buggy if I am registered disabled (with a permanent condition)?

Yes
You can make your request at the time of booking or when entering the ballot.

  • You must provide suitable, up to date, disability documentation.
  • Suitable forms of documentation are outlined here

Can I request an Old Course buggy if I am a senior (over 65 years old)?

No

See below for other courses.

Can I request a buggy if I have a medical certificate?

Yes

  • You must provide suitable proof of your disability:
    A medical certificate from your medical practitioner certifying that under the Equality Act 2010 you have a substantial condition that affects your ability to play golf“.

Full details here

What does a buggy cost?

The buggy cost is £30.

Conclusion

If your ability to play a round on the Old Course is dependant on the use of a buggy then the rules are very specific. It is essential you read and understand the policies outlined by the Links Trust:

If something happens to you while on your trip that affects you ability to play then, of course, there is nothing to lose from speaking to the Trust as soon as you can. They will always do their best to provide the best possible experience on the golf course but there is no obligation to provide a buggy outwith their Old Course buggy policy and you should be sure to make your ‘Plan B’ accordingly.

Scottish Links Golf - St Andrews Old Cours shared greens
St Andrews Old Course – it can get a little crowded – 8 golfers, 4+ caddies … and 2 cyclists!

#2 Using a buggy on the other golf courses at St Andrews

Aside from the Old Course, the other courses managed by the St Andrews Links Trust are: New & Jubilee courses The Castle Course, Eden, Strathtyrum & Balgove courses.

While still tightly controlled, the use of buggies on these other St Andrews courses is slightly more relaxed.

  • You can request a buggy if you are a senior (over 65) or have a valid medical certificate
  • You can request a buggy IN ADVANCE at the time of booking, up to 7 days ahead
  • Up to half the buggy allocation for each course will be put aside for Links Ticket holders. At the day ahead booking stage, any available buggy may be booked by any golfer – no restriction on visitor / Links Ticket holder
  • Buggies are chargeable and cost £30

Be sure to keep up to date with the current buggy booking policy at St Andrews when planing your trip:

Planning a trip to Scotland?

If you would like my help and advice then please get in touch:

#3 Using a golf buggy at other golf courses near St Andrews

Kingsbarns

Despite being a relatively new course with design and marketing aimed to be particularly appealing to golfers from the USA, the use of a golf buggy at Kingsbarns is also strictly limited. This is what they have to say:

Kingsbarns is a walking experience golf course, however we have two buggies available for mobility restricted golfers by advance reservation.

  • You will need a valid medical certificate
  • The buggy must be driven by a caddie. The buggy is free, the caddie costs £55 plus gratuity
  • The buggy is cancellable with at least 2 days notice

Carnoustie

As with the Old Course at St Andrews, the official policy regarding the use of a buggy at Carnoustie states:

Personal buggy use is not permitted. Registered disabled golfers may apply for the use of a buggy which is subject to availability. Due to the set up of the course the buggy must be driven by a Caddie. There is no charge for the buggy but the caddie fee applies.

  • Caddies are trained for disabled buggy use.
  • They have two buggies available only on advance application and on production of disabled documentation.
    Note this is for golfers who are registered disabled and NOT just in possession of a medical certificate.
  • Buggies will be on a first come, first served basis and should dates or tee times be moved there is no guarantee that the buggy booking can carry forward.
  • If buggies have not been pre-booked by disabled golfers they may be booked on the day by golfers with a medical certificate upon arrival at the course.
  • There is no charge for the buggy however the caddie fee applies (£55 plus gratuity).

Gleneagles

Gleneagles PGA Centenary Course

Gleneagles is a notable exception to the stringent buggy rules applied at the other nearby premium courses.

Buggies (carts) are available for hire on the PGA Centenary Course for £55 and you can self-drive.

Should you wish to play on either the King’s or Queen’s then this buggies are allowed but due to the terrain you are required to hire a caddie to drive at an additional cost of £62.50.

St Andrews Duke’s Course

The Duke’s Course has self-drive 2-seater buggies, bookable in advance. Available at £50 per round and available for general use.

Fairmont St Andrews, Torrance & Kittocks courses

The Fairmont St Andrews has a large fleet of 40 buggies available for golfers playing both the Torrance and Kittocks courses.
They can be booked in advance at a cost of £45 each.

Crail Golfing Society

  • Crail offer a limited fleet of 6 self-drive buggies available for use on their Craighead and Balcomie links courses, bookable in advance
  • Cost is £40 per round, £60 per day
  • No medical certificate is required

Dumbarnie

Dumbarnie is a ‘walking experience’ golf course.

  • There are four buggies available
  • Buggies are only available for players with a medical certificate or a blue badge
  • Buggies must be driven by a caddie
  • The hire of the buggy is £35.00 payable in the Pro Shop on arrival and the caddie fee is £60 + gratuity, payable in cash direct to the caddie on the day
  • Please note that buggy use is subject to weather conditions leading up to the day of play and the decision of the Course Manager is final
  • Due to a caddie being involved, cancellations are not permitted on the day of play.
    They may be cancelled prior to the date of play, with as much notice as possible, given the scarce availability

Scotscraig Golf Club

Scotscraig offer 4 self-drive buggies, bookable in advance and cost £20.

Leven Links

Leven Golfing Society buggies available for hire for visitors for £30. They are for general use and are self drive. Pre booking is advised.

Lundin Links

Lundin Golf Club have 1 self-drive buggy available. No medical certificate is required but pre booking is advised.

further resources

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