Two Easy Ways to Score One of Golf's Toughest Tee Times: Muirfield

The 2013 Open Championship site, Muirfield, is considered one of the ten best golf courses in the world.

And you can play it.

That said, most people find it challenging to score a tee time, and all accolades heaped on it only makes it tougher, but here are two easy ways to get on:

Method #1: Book Early with the Aid of Muirfield's Website
Muirfield has a limited number of standing tee times available for outside play on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but, as you can imagine, competition is keen for these slots; they're sometimes booked months or even a year in advance.

The good news is, you can check availability at the club's website (, and if you do it early enough, you'll have a very good chance of getting your preferred time.

And here's another major advantage of booking directly with the club: you'll have the option of playing 36 holes with Muirfield's infamous "lunch" in between.

After your morning round, you put on your jacket (the one men are required to arrive in), sit at the club's long, community tables (often alongside members), and tuck into an all-world feast that begins with soup, moves to sirloin of beef or fillet of pork en croute, then ends with a wide variety of sweets and cheeses.

After that, you head back out for an afternoon round of alternate shot. The overall experience is, in a word, unforgettable.

The only downside of booking directly with the club is, you'll have to nail down other aspects of your travel plans in advance, too, which can be equally challenging.

Method #2: Book a Room at the Greywalls Hotel
If you're not the "plan ahead" type, you can still secure a tee time at Muirfield by being a guest of Greywalls (, the 25-room, boutique hotel that sits behind the 10th tee.

Greywalls guests can secure tee times outside the general Tuesday/Thursday visitor pool because the hotel has its own private tee sheet slots on certain Friday afternoons and Monday mornings.

There aren't a ton of them, to be sure, but if the online tee times are no longer available, this is another way on...and it's not like you'll be roughing it.

According to the editors of Golf Odyssey, "Greywalls is the embodiment of Edwardian charm. For as long as we've been heading across the pond, it's been our favorite accommodation in the Muirfield realm. It's cozy and intimate, and you feel like you're staying at a house rather than a hotel."

(Just be sure to inquire about the size of your room before booking; some are quite small.)

The other big draw at Greywalls is its restaurant, Chez Roux, run by Albert Roux, a star chef best known for the Michelin two-star La Gavroche in London.

The downside of going the Greywalls route to play Muirfield is this: if you don't play on a Tuesday or Thursday, it's golf only. You don't get access to clubhouse and the epic lunch feast, which many feel is the "total experience."

Have you played Muirfield? Planning on it?

Please share your thoughts or read what others are saying below.

Craig Better is one of the founding editors of Golf Vacation Insider. In addition to traveling to 15 foreign countries, he has twice traveled across America to play golf courses in all 50 United States. Prior to joining Golf Vacation Insider, Craig was a freelance writer who contributed to GOLF Magazine, Travel + Leisure Golf, Maxim Magazine,, and co-authored Zagat Survey’s book, America’s Top Golf Courses.
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I played Muirfield just by calling the club, "This is Robert Forte. I'd like to come by for a round of golf." "Well of course Mr. Forte, we'd be delighted to see you." I didn't even know it was a private club, or that I would be mistaken for a member who shares my name. When I arrived they were slightly confused, "Youi're Robert Forte?" they said with a mix of respect and disbelief when this long haired American tourist showed up. When I showed them my US passport, proving I was indeed Robert Forte, they graciously welcomed me, served me lunch, loaned me clubs, and arranged a place to stay for the night. I didn't see another soul except a couple greenskeepers and magic mushrooms. The next day I played St. Andrews. It was a crowded day, I was in the last group with a couple of their pros. Over beer after the round I mentioned to them I played Muirfield the day before. "How'd you get on there?" they asked, simultaneously, incredulously. "Oh, no problem," I said, "there was no there." "Why don't you know? That's the hardest course to get on in all of Europe." They told me that Jack Nicklaus, who is a member at Muirfiled, called the club and asked if his friend, his business manager, could play. "Sorry Mr. Nicklaus, you know the rules: All guests must be accompanied by a member." So when I was playing Muirfield, he played St. Andrews. "Who do you know?" they asked. "I don't know anyone," I said. "I just told them my name and they were very gentlemanly about it." "Well who are you?" they asked. I said, "Im Robert Forte." "You're Robert Forte??" they said with the same mix of respect and surprise as the guys at Muirfield. And that's when I learned of the illustrious Forte family, which, as it turns out, comes not too far from my grandfather's ancestral home in Italy. There's some possibility we are related. Shot 90 on a cold windy rainy day. I want another crack at it. Thinking i should apply for a membership. ;-)

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That red house in the far right of the photo is our home, Muirfield Green Bed and Breakfast! Take a look at our website't help you with tee-times but can have you on the first tee in under 40 seconds after an excellent breakfast and a comfortable nights' sleep! Look forward to seeing you soon! Gilly

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The white house in the picture was where I grew up! I reebmemr painting that front door red! I spent my childhood sneaking onto the course and just walking around, and I can not be too specific but lets just say living so close never HURT my golf game . incredible place to grow up and waking up to this view everyday wasn't too bad either .

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In 2005 my buddy and I played 12 rounds in 12 days (North Berwick, Muirfield, Kingsbarns, St. Andrews, St. Andrews New, Carnoustie, Turnberry, Prestwick, Royal Troon, Royal Birkdale, Royal Liverpool and Royal Litham and St. Anns.) Muirfield was by far the toughest to get on. Stayed at Greywalls to accomplish it. Food was excellent, drinks by the fireplace and a hot water bottle when they turned down my bed. Stayed in the same room Jack Nicklaus stayed when he played there. Fantastic experience. Muirfield has no club house. They didn't even want to allow both of us to see the secretary to sign in but relented since there was only 2 of us. One of my prized mementos is a golf ball with the HCEG logo. Can't get it anywhere but off the secretary. Muirfiels is one of my favorite courses in the Rota. When we drove there we rode right past it. You can't tell difference between an open field and one of the greatest golf courses in the world. We had to ask where Greywalls is to find the course. If Muirfield is not on your bucket list add it. If it is you got to play it.

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Was able to play Muirfield 2 years ago with my wife, where we gained a tee time via their web site (we played in late October, hence a low call for the tee times). Muirfield absolutely lived up to its reputation, and the complete experience of the lunch and the historic nature of the club are nearly without equal. What made it most special was that my wife was the first female who was ever allowed into the main dining room for lunch (historically women were allowed into the Captain's room for sandwiches only). We are still not clear how we got the privilege, but we will never forget it. Perhaps it was because no one before us had ever asked.

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We played Muirfield in 1991. It was even more exclusive then if possible. We booked our tee times over a year in advance. We were allowed to play only two somes and could get only two tee times. Payne Stewart who had just won the U.S. Open was in Scotland early
tuning up for the British. They would not let him on the course. He played Gullane instead. Bill Rogers who won the British Open in 1981 was there with 3 four somes from his club in San Antonio.He could only get one group on the course. He was told, " Mr. Rogers if you
have two more Open Champions in your party we can accomodate your other two groups. Ther was no street name or sign indicating the location of the course. The only sign led to Greywalls Inn. At the deadend past Greywalls were several large barns and a wire fence
with a tiny sign on it that read , HCEG. A man in rubber boots passing by confirmed that this was acatually Muirfield (Honourable Company of Edinburg Golfers) and indicated that we should park in one of the Barns and report to the club Secretary. There was no pro shop.
The Club Secretary gave us a scorecard, told us to wear a coat and tie to lunch, and sent us off to the caddie shack. The Greens fee was 45 pounds and the marvelous lunch was 12 pounds. My impression of the course was that it would be relatively easy if the fairways had not
been lined with 3 foot tall fescue into which your ball disapeared only to be found by future generations. Memory dims after 22 years, but in my mind the lunch was more memorable than the course.

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Disagree with Rusty. Played it over 40 years ago for the first time, and was almost in tears walking off 18, saying to my wife " you've just seen one of the world's best golf courses." The layout is a masterpiece. Have played it subsequently with a travel group, and the famous ex secretary Paddy even loaned one of our guys a jacket for lunch!
The stories about him are classic, and mostly true.

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I played Muirfield in July of 2011 and although the history of the place is awe inspiring, the actual course was not particularly appealing to me. Lots of wheat-like tall grass out line most fairways, and with the exception of 2 or 3 holes, the course is rather unremarkable. Since I went on the Greywalls approach to get on the course I did not get to have the meal in the Club House, which I would have enjoyed. However, after playing Kingsbarns, Turnberry, and Carnoustie, I would rate Muirfield probably 4th of this group. Greywalls was a neat place to stay and the food was excellent. Since my dad had a hole in one on #4 at Muirfield, I'm sure it was his favorite!!

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the only thing you forgot to mention is that women are NOT welcome, unless accompanied by a male. so our foursome of women travelling scotland was not welcome.

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I had the privilege of playing Muirfield this past may, along with N. Berwick, the Old Course-St Andrews, Kingsbarn, Castle-St Andrews, Burnside and Championship courses at Carnoustie. It was a GREAT Trip !! Muirfield had by far the BEST Caddies, one of them was Sam Torrence's regular caddy on the tour !!, The Clubhouse and lunch were a great treat. The whole experience was magical, my knees were shaking going down the first fairway !! Even the drive up the unmarked driveway was special. Course is very tough, but also fair. Any golfer who gets the chance to join the "Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers" for a day should Not miss the opportuity!!

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Two Easy Ways to Score One of Golf's Toughest Tee Times: Muirfield