Golf blogger reveals St. Andrews dirty secret at USA Today
You can play the Old Course at St. Andrews for about half the cost as you would in the high season. But a lot of golfers will still tell you it isn’t worth it. And it’s not just because of the spotty weather and lack of sunlight. The course gets over 40,000 rounds a year and needs a breather. So each November-thru-February, you must use little portable mats off the fairway. For players who might only get one shot at the Old, using mats may take away some of the aura.
Or do you? One blogger has discovered the Old Course’s dirty little secret. Larry Olmsted at the Golfer’s World at USA Today received a tip from a friend that if you take a caddie, they’ll often look the other way when you’re in the fairway. He said:
“With the right caddies, you can play a round with fewer than 10 shots off the mats, depending on who’s watching. Tips are appreciated. My caddies had us use them only on the 1st and 18th – or when the ranger was around.”
A recent newsletter from TravelGolf.com’s Chris Baldwin had a lot of comments asking what you tip a caddie. In Scotland, standard is 5-10 pounds. I would imagine if the caddie is looking the other way when you hit off the fairway on the Old Course, 10-15 would be pretty standard.
Of course, the easiest way to not use mats is to keep your drives off the fairway entirely.
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