The Ultimate Cart Chart: Where You Can (and Can't) Use "Buggies" in the UK and Ireland

Many of you heading to the UK and Ireland are confused about the rules regarding carts or "buggies" as they're called.

I don't blame you -- we've all heard how carts are taboo over there, yet there are pockets of acceptance.

To clear this up, I created what I'm calling "The Ultimate Cart Chart."

Now, I'm not suggesting you use a cart if you can walk some the greatest walking courses in the world.

I'm merely pointing out where they're available if you want to mix it up or for those who would otherwise be physically unable to experience these awesome courses.

Indeed, most of the courses below will only provide a golf cart if you have a doctor's/medical note stating you need one. Others, as you'll see, do not allow carts for any reason.

Here are the courses that tend to be on people's hit lists:

Golf CourseBuggies/Carts Available?CostNotes
Ireland
Ballybunion (Old)Non/aAvailable on Cashen Course for €35
WatervilleYes€40-€50Buggy for same-day replay is €25
DoonbegYes, but must be accompanied by a caddie€85 + tipFee includes buggy and caddie
Old HeadYes€60Can pair with forecaddie for €25
TraleeNo, except for those with a medical certificate€50Fee includes buggy and caddie
The European ClubYes€40Small fleet; advanced reservations recommended
Lahinch (Old)No, except for those with a medical certificaten/aExtremely limited availabilty
Northern Ireland
Royal County DownNon/aClub claims "the terrain" doesn't permit buggies
Royal Portrush (Dunluce Links)Non/aCell phones not permitted, either
Scotland
The Old Course
at St. Andrews
No, except for those with a permanent disability and only from April to OctoberCaddie Fee (£30-£45 + tip)Must be operated by an approved caddie
The Caslte Course
at St. Andrews
No, except for seniors or those with a medical certificate and only from April to OctoberCaddie Fee (£30-£45 + tip)Must be operated by an approved caddie
All Other Courses
at St. Andrews
No, except for seniors or those with a medical certificate£25Must be operated by an approved caddie
CarnoustieNon/an/a
MuirfieldNo, except for those with a medical certificate£35Users must sign a "Safety Policy Acknowledgement Form"
KingsbarnsNo, except for those with a medical certificate£50Must be operated by an approved caddie
Royal TroonNon/an/a
Turnberry
(Ailsa Course)
No, except for those with a medical certificate£40 plus Caddie Fee (£40 + tip)Must be operated by an approved caddie
England
Royal BirkdaleNo, except for those with a medical certificate£20Green fee includes soup and sandwich lunch
Royal St. George'sNo, except for those with a medical certificate£30Visitor play M-F; maximum handicap: 18 men/women
Royal Lytham & St. AnnesNo, except for those with a medical certificate£15 + caddie tipMust be driven by an approved caddie
Royal LiverpoolNo, except for those with a medical certificate£30Maximum handicap: 21/32 men/women
Sunningdale (Old)No, except for those with a medical certificate£30 + caddie fee + tipMust be driven by an approved caddie

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it's interesting that the top courses in Ireland tend to be a little more cart friendly than those in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and England.

That said, I've also know that "exceptions are made" almost everywhere...provided you have the right medical documentation and you submit a polite request months in advance of your visit.

What do you think of my chart? Should carts become more commonplace at UK and Ireland golf courses?

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, USAToday.com, and co-authored Zagat Survey’s book, America’s Top Golf Courses.
30 Comments
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Jeroen

Some courses just cannot have golf carts. There might be no paths, the turf might be too weak, or the climate just doesn't support it. Note that in many places in Europe, you can't even use a push trolley in winter, just to protect the grass. Of course, when the course and weather allows, carts should be available to those that have a medical issue. And yes, fundamentally, golf is a walking sport in Europe. The cart is the exception.

Susan

Golf should be available for everyone to enjoy. I am a reasonably healthy senior. I play golf and tennis. My issue is stenosis in my spine which limits me from standing or walking for lengthy periods, such as 4 hours on a golf course. I couldn’t finish my round at Ballybunion. My spine couldn’t take it. If I had had a cart to sit in, to take the pressure off I would have been fine. Cart path only is better than no cart. When I played the course a few years back, they didn’t even have a bench. I had to sit on the ground.

Richard

I am 76 , 11 handicap with two artificial knees and metal in both ankles and I am dismayed at some of the comments posted here that wish people like I to have to stop playing golf when these days there are environmental friendly motorised carts

Pat

I dont begrudge anyone who has an issue,physical or age, using a cart. I object to 20, 30 and forty year olds using them who have no physical problems at all but only want to have a "fast" round of golf and a few beers. I also think on many courses the walker are being punished for walking and are being pushed to keep up the play when all these carts are being used.

Pete Hennessy, USA

What a void of empathy and compassion I see in the words of those who would deny others the use of buggeys to play these great courses. Is that the spirit of golf? I think not.

Kieran McBrien - Australian/Irish/South African

As someone who played many sports at the highest level, representing my country in one of them and who played off a low 4 handicap, but who has a neurological condition called hereditary spastic Paraplegia, which is gradually prohibiting my walking and usage of the lower body, I am astounded at the ignorance and arrogance of some viewers comments, to not wanting golf carts on golf courses, for their many respective reasons. I ask each of these people to think carefully if they were condemned, through either serious injury or herediatary genetics to a limited time to be able to play the wonderful game, only if they can use a golf cart, would their biggoted opinions be the same - pathetically sad I say.

Linda Martin

How wonderful the game of golf is. I am not able to play golf without the use of a Buggy. I have a blue Badge also a written exemption letter from my specialists. I have a heart and lung problem and cannot walk very far without resting I get very short of breath.i am able to have a buggy at my Golf Club but the last few years Buggy Bans have come in frequently. Often I am still peirmitted to use a Buggy. When trolleys are banned I fully understand I then not able to have the use of a buggy.. But what I don't agree with is when the ban is lifted and they only allow pull trolleys for everyone I am still not allowed a buggy. Surely ONE BUGGEY to approx. 25 pull trolleys isn't fair play particularly when most of f the people using the pull trolleys have managed to walk 18 holes during the trolley ban. . Whereas I am still not able to play. I fully agree we all need to do our part to help look after our courses but this seems a bit one sided.Any VIEWS ? Linda.

Jackdaw

I am in my 70's and have severe back problems which results in me having a Blue Badge. Have I got to stop playing because some of you think I should walk. As someone previously said the majority of golfers are older and the younger ones do not seem to be joining the clubs. We, the older generation, are keeping a lot of clubs going. Don't knock it until you get to our age and see what you feel like then. I am also looking for any golf club in Scotland who have ride on buggies all year round as I can't play between October and March which I would really like to do.

Vic

Of course walking is the way to go if you can. But when you can't, taking a cart is the only way the rest of us can play some of the most beautiful courses on the planet. I wouldn't want to wish bad health on anyone but for those walkers complaining about carts, realize that we'd prefer to walk if we could. Have some empathy instead of being such insensitive pr!!!s!

Jill

For all the walking snobs out there, shame on you. Not everyone can walk a course for whatever reason. The why is irrelevant. As a 6 handicapper (at age 65) who must ride to play, I hardly think I'm hurting anyone's experience. Have the hackers who walk and tear up a course from lack of skill and poor golf etiquette considered how they're impacting others' experiences? Enjoy the game and get over yourselves.

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The Ultimate Cart Chart: Where You Can (and Can't) Use "Buggies" in the UK and Ireland
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