The Royal and Ancient Golf Club | Attraction Guides | History Hit

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club

St Andrews, Scotland, United Kingdom

Luke Tomes

18 Feb 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About The Royal and Ancient Golf Club

St Andrews has long been known as the “home of golf”. Overlooking West Sands Beach and situated just behind the first tee of the ‘Old Course’ (considered to be the oldest gold course in the world) is the famous Royal and Ancient Golf Club.

The club is an exclusive, private-members only golf club with a history dating back over 250 years.

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club history

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews was founded on 14 May 1754 and named the Society of St Andrews Golfers. The club was originally simply a local golf club for golfers playing at St Andrews links – a series of golf courses where the game has been played since the 15th century.

Over the course of the 18th and 19th century, the club became increasingly important and symbolic as the true “home of golf”. In 1834, King William IV became its patron and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club took its present name.

In 1897, the Society codified the rules of golf, and, gradually over the next 30 years, was invited to take control of the running of golf tournaments at other courses.

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club today

Today the Royal and Ancient Golf Club continues to take on a variety of logistical responsibilities, such as hosting The Open and other major golf championships, whilst also upholding its metaphorical and symbolic role as a global hub of the game.

Although the club has a policy of membership by invitation only, it boasts over 2,400 members from all over the world. It does not own any of the St Andrews courses, contrary to popular impressions.

Responsibility for the management of the courses is undertaken by the St Andrews Links Trust, a charitable organisation that owns and runs seven golf courses at St Andrews.

Getting to The Royal and Ancient Golf Club

Situated just behind the first tee of the ‘Old Course’, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club is hard to miss. It is adjacent to the iconic Hamilton Grand, a building distinct due to its orange brick and towering height.

When travelling along West Sands Road (which will become Bruce Embankment) parallel to the beach, the club will be easily spotted when passing the main entrance to West Sands Beach and the Old Course on the right.

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