Top tips for planning your trip to The Open


The British Open as it’s known in the U.S., or just The Openas it’s known in Great Britain, is the most prestigious tournament in golf. It happens every July at one of several rotating golf courses in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Playing the courses themselves is a bucket list treat for many golf enthusiasts, but seeing the tournament live and in person is a goal all on its own.

Of course, because of its popularity, it takes some planning ahead to get to The Open, especially when traveling from overseas. We’ve devised a few tips to help our clients get to see the tournament in person.

Plan at least a year ahead

The 148th Open Championship is July 18-21, 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club, and it has been sold out for months. This is why golf fans who want to attend the tournament in 2020 or even 2021 have already started their plans. If you want to stay anywhere near the tournament itself, you need to book at least a year ahead of time, and it’s best to start even further out than that. Accommodations fill up especially quickly. Tickets may be available up to the day of the tournament, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to stay nearby. Most of the Rota (the rotation of courses that host The Open) are situated in small communities where there aren’t necessarily a large amount of hotel rooms, and staying hours away in a large city like Galway or Edinburgh can put a damper on watching the tournament. You’ll also want to make reservations for transportation, meals, and other activities, which will almost certainly be booked up months in advance.

Prepare to stay at least five nights

Most of the hotels around The Open require a minimum five-night stay during the championship, and many require seven. This is because there simply aren’t that many rooms available in the small towns near the Rota courses. Again, it’s possible to stay in bigger cities for a few nights if you’d prefer a shorter guaranteed stay, but that takes away from the experience. Of course, there are properties of all levels available, from the five-star hotel at the height of luxury to the quaint bed and breakfast with capacity for three couples. With enough advanced planning, you can find the perfect spot to stay while you take in the championship, and get a few tee times in at surrounding courses while you’re there.

St. Andrews is on a different level

The Open is played at St. Andrews – the Home of Golf – every five years, and it is a very special event for everyone who loves golf. If you want to stay near St. Andrews during The Open, you will need to start planning at least two years out if not longer. The next time The Open will return to the Old Course at St. Andrews is July 2021. We recommend starting your plans as early as possible (that is, now would be a good time!) to save your spot at the championship. Seeing The Open played at St. Andrews can be a once-in-a-lifetime trip, and you want to make sure you get all the best options for enjoying it to the fullest.

Ravi Coutinho is Founder and Lead Golf Travel Expert at Worldwide Golf Adventures. Worldwide Golf Adventures is a luxury golf tour operator that arranges custom golf vacations for clients around the world.

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Comments (7)

  1. Bob says:

    It is amazing how far in advance you have to plan for these great sporting events. Golf can throw up some historic moments and it will always be great to be able to say, “I was there when …”. There is always drama at The British Open and it is so much greater when you are so close to the players that you can see and every emotion that they go through.

  2. Steven Ham says:

    Nothing beats watching golf live. You just don’t get an impression of the distance that the pros hot a ball on television. Nor does it accurately give you the sound of a well hit drive.

    If you are a club golfer who has never made it to the Open I would take a look at the diary for 2021 and pencil in St Andrews, the most historic of all the Open Courses. It really is another world.

    • Pete says:

      Completely agree with all that. Though, of course, there is always the mental dimension too. As the Open is one of the great golf events of the world there is incredible pressure which just keeps building and building. With all due respect to the television directors they can only show one picture at a time and it might not be the right one. When you are at the course you get to see how most of the players, for most of the time, can keep a lid on their emotions. That’s probably something that most of us amateur players can cope with.

  3. Stephen says:

    Most of the time those Golfing Gods get it right. Though when they get it wrong it can be spectacularly bad which is quite reassuring for the average golfing Joe. They are putting so much power into their drives that only a little side spin can put them into deep trouble. Also when they have to clear hazards such as water, their shot only has to be a little “thin” and as the carry distances are so long there can usually be a plop. For the average club golfer it’s good to be reminded that even these professionals can make mistakes.

  4. Sam says:

    I must admit I’m not a golf fan at all but I can see why you would want to start preparing in advance. St. Andrews on July 2021 is a date that should go in the diary for golf lovers so this will serve as a brilliant reminder to get it locked in and start thinking about plans!

  5. Gary Childerly says:

    Thinking out of the box would a camper van work? I haven’t got one but could I hire one in Scotland? There must be campsites around. But would I be able to park it everyday at St Andrews?

    • Ravi Coutinho says:

      There is a camping village for this year’s Open at Royal Portrush, and there are campgrounds nearby at St. Andrews, so it may be a possibility! However, they haven’t announced official campsites for 2021 yet. It’s certainly worth looking into!

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