While we are always very pleased to talk to our clients, travel agents and fellow golfers we have found that there are a few topics that are raised on a regular basis. We hope that this page covers most of these and means that not only are you better informed about visits to Scotland and Ireland but when you do decide to contact us the process is smoother.
Why use a golf tour operator?
The short answer is that we have an enormous expertise and experience in arranging golf tours. Many golf clubs have restrictions on when visitors can play and having all this information to hand makes it easier for us to plan and organise a tour. Our purchasing power means that with most hotels the rates that we get are significantly below what is quoted to an individual, and this is especially so with car rentals. However the main reason is that we take all the hard work and hassle out of your hands.
The advantage of using a Scottish based tour operator is twofold. Due to the fact that we are over here means that we have a much closer relationship with the hotels and golf courses. Also when you are here in Scotland or Ireland we are in the same time zone should you need any assistance. You will be given our mobile telephone numbers so you can contact us almost any time of the day and week. With a tour operator in your own country you may have to take into account up to a 10 hour time difference.
ASTA (The American Society of Travel Agents) recommends that when using a Scottish tour operator that they be members of the SDMA (Scottish Destination Management Association). TAYLEUR MAYDE is a member of both these organisations.
The Old Course at St Andrews
This is the course that almost every visitor to Scotland wants to try and play, it is after all the home of golf and we recognise that it is usually an integral part of your plans. There have been many articles written about the problems of getting a tee time on the Old Course; some of which have been at best inaccurate. There are various ways of getting on:-
- Applications to the Links Trust for a confirmed tee time should be made by the beginning of October the year before play. Tee times are allocated in November and December. We can make this application for you and for this we would need the names of the golfers, their handicaps and the names of their home golf clubs.
- Hotels & Guest Houses. Some of these in St Andrews are allotted tee times by the Links Trust. These are allocated towards the end of the calendar year. We have a list of these times and have good contacts with the hotels and guest houses and can therefore see if any of these tee times match your dates. You do of course have to stay in that particular hotel, usually for a couple of nights.
- Wholesaler. There is an organisation in London that has done a deal with the Links Trust and has confirmed tee times available at a premium to the normal green fee. This premium depends on when in the year you wish to play and other factors. These tee times have to be purchased in groups of 4 golfers and paid for at the time of booking. If however you are a 2 or 3 ball we will attempt to sell the remaining slot onto another client of ours. Although we do not charge for this there is no guarantee that this can be achieved. The premium ranges from UK£130 per person and upwards but does include a round on the New Course and some merchandise vouchers.
- Ballot: This requires the same information as indicated above for the Application method. We will put your names into the ballot the day before play and inform you of the result the same day. The ballot has around 50% of the available tee times on the Old Course and thus many people are successful in gaining a time using this method. There is however no guarantee.
- Lastly one can get up very early in the morning and go to the starters hut. He will then in order of appearance try to join you up with existing 2 or 3 balls. This again is a method successfully used by many people although some flexibility is required as it may mean you cannot play with your travelling companions.
Please feel free to discuss any of the above with our staff. They will be happy to assist you to.
Changes to published itineraries
The itineraries in this web site can of course be taken as shown. However you may change them as little or as much as you wish. You may wish to arrive on a different day of the week or replace one or more of the courses shown with another that you wish to play. While there are certain restrictions by some clubs as to when they take visitors we can usually fit in all your requests. Do not hesitate to contact our staff to discuss these changes, we do not charge for this.
Standard of hotels
We recognise that hotels in foreign countries do not always conform to what you are used to at home. In general most hotel rooms and beds in the UK are smaller than what visitors are used to, particularly from the USA, although this is changing. However any Hotel or Guest House that we recommend will have been passed as at least 3 star by either the Scottish Tourist Board or the Irish Tourist Board. It will also have been inspected by us on a regular basis. This guarantees you at least an acceptable level of comfort and quality. All rooms will have private bathrooms. Each morning you will get a hearty breakfast which will set you up for the day ahead. Some guest houses will not have evening dining facilities but will be happy to direct you to good local restaurants.
Hire cars & driving on the left
Unless otherwise requested your vehicle will have an automatic gear shift. The car hire firm we use is National / Alamo which is one of the largest in the world and the vehicles are always very new and clean. MPV's will be provided for groups where necessary, usually 4 persons to each vehicle.
We are often asked by people about driving on the left hand side of the road. It is not as difficult as it may seem. Heightened awareness of where other cars are coming from is required but most people find that after a few hours it becomes 2nd nature. Please make sure that if in any doubt ask our representative at the airport for a briefing on the controls of the car.
We strongly recommend that all visitors to the UK & Ireland carry certain forms of insurance. Some of these may be part of your existing insurance cover but it is worth checking:-
a) Holiday & Cancellation Insurance. This should include, but not limited to, medical expenses due to illness, loss of property, cancellation of trip and loss of services caused by delays in air travel.
b) 3rd party liability. This should include, but not limited to, wayward golf balls striking other people on or near the golf course.
c) Car Insurance. Basic 3rd party car insurance as demanded by law is included in the tour price. However fully comprehensive cover will be offered by the car hire company on arrival, and is voluntary.
You will require a valid passport to enter the UK from most destinations, including the USA. The requirement for a visa depends on your country of origin but is not required for citizens of the European Union and the USA. A valid driving licence will be required if you wish to drive whilst in the UK and should be shown to the car hire firm on arrival. It is difficult to add a driver later. Golfers are recommended to carry a handicap certificate or letter of introduction with them to every golf course. All golf clubs retain the right to see proof of handicap and some will definitely ask, for example the starter at the Old Course at St Andrews.
Being a temperate country the weather is variable. If coming from the USA our summers are never as hot as yours but it is normally very pleasant golfing weather during the summer months. We recommend that for golfers a rain suit is brought but hope that it is never used. For information on UK weather have a look at the BBC web site.