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The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews: Wikis


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The clubhouse of the R&A.

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews is one of the oldest and most prestigious golf clubs in the world (the oldest being the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers at Muirfield). It is based in St Andrews, Fife, Scotland, regarded as the worldwide "Home of Golf".[1] Formerly, it was also one of the governing authorities of the game, but in 2004 this role was handed over to a newly formed group of companies, collectively known as The R&A.



The organization was founded in 1754 as the Society of St Andrews Golfers, a local golf club playing at St Andrews Links, but quickly grew in importance. In 1834, King William IV became its patron and the club became known under 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 R&A

Royal & Ancient Golf Clubhouse and the former Hamilton Hall

The R&A is the ruling authority of golf everywhere, except the United States and Mexico, where this responsibility rests with the United States Golf Association (USGA). It works in collaboration with national amateur and professional golf organisations in more than one hundred and ten countries. It also attempts to spread the game to new countries.

The R&A cooperates with the USGA in producing and regularly revising the "Rules of Golf", and the two bodies have issued the rules jointly since 1952. They also collaborate on the corresponding exegetic work, the "Decisions on the Rules of Golf". The R&A is also involved in formulating technical specifications for golfing equipment.

The R&A founded what are now the Official World Golf Rankings for male professionals in 1986, and the World Amateur Golf Ranking for male amateurs in 2007.

These 8 committees make up the R&A

  1. The Rule and Equipment Committee
  2. The Course Management Committee
  3. The Championship Committee
  4. The Amateur Status Committee
  5. The Golf Development Committee
  6. The External Fund Committee
  7. The General Committee
  8. The Research Committee


The R&A organises 11 championships and international matches:

  • The Open Championship: one of the four major championships in men's golf.
  • The Amateur Championship: which was one of the four major championships before the professional game became dominant and is still one of the most prestigious amateur tournaments in the world.
  • Boys Amateur Championship: for boys under the age of 18 at midnight on 1 January of the relevant year.
  • Boys Home Internationals: a team competition for boys from England, Scotland, Wales and All-Ireland.
  • Seniors Open Amateur Championship: for male amateurs aged 55 or over on the first day of competition.
  • British Mid-Amateur Championship: for amateurs aged 25 and over. This tournament was introduced to provide an elite competition for golfers who never turn professional as the main Amateur Championship is dominated by future professionals in their late teens and early twenties.
  • Senior British Open Championship: for men aged 50 and above. A major championship on the Champions Tour and the European Seniors Tour.
  • Walker Cup: a biennial men's amateur team competition contested by Great Britain & Ireland and the United States (co-organised with the United States Golf Association).
  • Junior Open Championships: for boys and girls under the age of 16 at 00.00 hours on 1 January of the relevant year.
  • St Andrews Trophy: a men's amateur team competition contested by Great Britain & Ireland and the Continent of Europe.
  • Jacques Léglise Trophy: a boys' amateur team competition contested by Great Britain & Ireland and the Continent of Europe.

Apart from the Junior Open Championships all of these events are for men and boys. The Ladies Golf Union organises a similar range of events for women and girls, most notably the Women's British Open. The R&A is also involved in the organisation of the two World Amateur Team Championships - the Eisenhower Trophy for men and the Espirito Santo Trophy for women - through its role in the International Golf Federation.

The present golf club

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews itself is now simply a golf club. It has 2,400 members from all over the world. Although the clubhouse is situated just behind the first tee of the Old Course, the club do not own any of the St Andrews courses, despite the common misconception, and must share the tee times with members of other local clubs, residents and visitors alike. 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.

Accusations of sexism

In 2009, The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews was accused in the Scottish Parliament by Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, of sexism in light of the fact that unlike her two predecessors, St Andrews University principal, Louise Richardson, had not been offered honorary membership to the club. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews has historically barred women from membership.[2]

See also


External links

Coordinates: 56°20′37″N 2°48′10″W / 56.3435651°N 2.8028011°W / 56.3435651; -2.8028011

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