The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews is one of the oldest and most prestigious golf clubs in the world, with 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". 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 was gradually over the next 30 years invited to take control of the running of golf tournaments at other courses.
The R&A is the ruling authority
of golf everywhere except the United States
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 Rankings for male amateurs in 2007.
The 8 committees make up the R&A
- The Rule and Equipment Committee
- The Course Management Committee
- The Championship Committee
- The Amateur Status Committee
- The Golf Development Committee
- The External Fund Committee
- The General Committee
- The Research Committee
The R&A organises 11 championships and international matches:
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 R&A 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 all the St Andrews Links
golf courses at St Andrews