The Old Course is one of the most iconic golf courses in the world, so as you’d expect, there’s fierce competition to book a round.
Preserving that global reputation was one of the reasons the St Andrews Links Trust asked Codify to look into options to automate the booking process using customised software that controlled the cost, access and availability of tee times, both commercial and private.
It was crucial there was absolutely no interruption to the service, particularly during times of exceptional global demand.
Historically, St Andrews Links sold a fixed number of tee times to its partner The Old Course Experience, who then managed the sale and distribution of tee times to customers and other operators.
Add to that, all booking information had to be manually added to a spreadsheet: a time-consuming process with the potential for mistakes to be made.
There was also a need to simplify the private advance tee time process, where individuals apply during a specific time period, in what is essentially a ballot, to play.
To do both, St Andrews Link Trust contracted Codify to investigate options and ultimately develop web-based applications that were scalable and able to cope during times of peak demand from as far afield as the United States, Canada, Thailand and Australia, or as close to home as the UK, Ireland and Spain.
Now, using the Commercial Tee Time system (CTT), which launched in 2017, commercial tour operators can apply for authorised provider (AP) status. On approval, they can book tee times; swap those not being used; and apply for other slots not yet allocated or released for sale.
The system allocates times, as well as invoicing and crediting APs. Importantly, it also runs regular reports, making sure the team at St Andrews Links Trust can work closely with providers to identify and quickly solve any issues with payment, for example.
It also integrates player information with the trust’s golf management database, saving time on adding this information by hand.
Registering through email or Facebook, individuals apply for available private advance tee times through the website during specific two-week windows, and the system automatically chooses the successful applicants in seconds.
For both, Codify’s recommendation to host through Microsoft Azure - the same platform used to live stream the Superbowl in the US - meant the system was capable of accommodating considerable spikes in demand at peak times with zero downtime.