Friday 24 August 2012

The Old Course Experience - Scottish Golf's Ryanair?

It's an old hobby horse and it's not going to be resolved just because we flag it up again and anyway it suits enough of the big players in Scottish golf tourism as to not "needing fixed" but for the rest of us or for the consumer it really does stick in the throat a little.

Yes, it's "Old Course Travel Trade Tee Time" charade again - the one where tour operators from across the world are given exclusive access to tee times on the Old Course if you only have a mximum of eight golfers, have the lead name in place, have the money to pay the full fees up front, can ensure that the clients details won't change, and only if the tour operator has accommodation in St Andrews.

Oh yeah and in exchange for these restrictions it will only cost you £1602 per fourball and you'll have to pay all of your tee times up front by November 30th this year.

How this arrangement has escaped the scrutiny of bodies such as the Office for Fair Trading or even not be roundly condemed by the golf loving First Minister or VisitScotland is a mystery. Probably however a political mystery.

  • It is not good for golf tour operators.
  • It is not good for hotels outside of St Andrews in the rest of Fife and beyond.
  • It is not good for Scottish Tourism.
  • It is not good for the consumer.

It is good for the corporate big boys however and the Links Trust. Ah for a bit of inclusion and Olympic spirit eh?

Here is the full termns and conditions for all you cash rich independant tour operators and golf promoting agents all over the world.

It's only when you read it again that you realise that apart from not threatening to charge you £30 for reissuing a lost scorecard it could be Ryanair's terms and conditions...

Applications for Travel Trade Times 2013 

Applications for Travel Trade tee-times on the Old Course for 2013 will be accepted as follows –
  1. Via e-mail from Monday 1st October until Friday October 12th to Applications received before or after this time will not be considered. 
  2. Each application must clearly state the name of the lead golfer or booking reference, the total number of golfers and the dates that they are able to play the Old Course. Tour Operators making a number of applications may send all their applications as an attachment on one e-mail. 
  3. The maximum number of golfers per application is 8. Please note that Travel Trade tee-times are sold in 4-balls only. 
  4. Successful applications will be notified by Friday 2nd November. 
  5. Full payment must be made by Friday 30th November, otherwise tee-times will be released automatically and the reservation cancelled. 
  6. The payment is non-transferable and non-refundable. 

If you request a range of dates this may improve your chances of success. Please note the Old Course is closed from May 6 – 9, July 29 – August 5 and September 9 – 30 inclusive for tournaments.

The price for 2013 Travel Trade tee-times is 1620 GBP per 4-ball (405 GBP per golfer) inclusive of VAT – including one round on Old Course and one round on New or Jubilee course. If golfers wish to upgrade to the Castle Course the supplement is 65 GBP per 4-ball.

If you are unsuccessful, applications will not be held on file. Applications for cancellations will be accepted in the same way on Wednesday 9th January 2013.

Travel trade times are allocated for tour operators to package with accommodation in St Andrews and sell to golfers. They are not intended to be re-sold or exchanged as “tee times only” to other tour operators. Any operator that re-sells times in this manner may be excluded from the application process for the following year.

We look forward to welcoming many of your clients to the Old Course next season.

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