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The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews

About the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews is one of the oldest, most renowned and prestigious golf clubs not only in the UK but in the world although the ‘title’ of the oldest golf club is also claimed by the Royal Burgess Golfing Society of Edinburgh which was founded in 1735. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, on the other hand, was founded in 1754.

A Brief History of the Club

The Club was originally called the Society of St Andrews Golfers, while its members were almost exclusively local golfers who enjoyed the game at the St Andrews Links. However, due to its location at the first tee of the Old Course which is widely regarded as the ‘home of golf’, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews soon gained very influential members, while King William IV became the club’s patron in the 1830s when it also assumed its current name.

The Club’s Role as One of the Governing Authorities of Golf

Until 2004, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews also acted as one of the governing authorities of the sport of golf. Then, this role was assumed by The R&A which is today the governing authority of golf throughout the globe with the exception in the United States and Mexico where the game is regulated by the United States Golf Association (USGA). However, the authorities collaborate in regard to the Rules of Golf in order to ensure that the whole world follows a single set of rules.

The Club’s Membership and Golf Courses

Today, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews has over 2,000 members from all over the world. They play the game at the St Andrews Links including the Old Course. But in contrary to the common misconception, the Club doesn’t own the Old Course nor other St Andrews Links. Despite the fact that the clubhouse is just behind the first tee of the Old Course, the latter as well as other six courses are owned and managed by the St Andrews Links Trust. As a result, the members of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews have to share the tee times on the St Andrews courses with other local golf clubs and visitors.

The St Andrews Links encompasses 7 golf courses of which is most famous the Old Course where golf is thought to have been played for over 6 centuries and is believed to be the oldest golf course in the world. Other St Andrews golf courses include the New Course (opened in 1895), the Jubilee Course (opened in 1897 when Queen Victoria celebrated her Diamond Jubilee), the Eden Course (opened in 1914), the Balgove Course (opened in 1972), the Strathtyrum Course (opened in 1993) and the Castle Course (opened in 2008).