The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews was founded on 14 May 1754 with the first Challenge for the Silver Club. Evolving over 250 colourful years of British history, it has grown from a small society of no fixed abode into a club whose membership of around 2,500 extends worldwide.
From the late 19th century, the Club increasingly came to be regarded as a governing authority, both in the United Kingdom and abroad. Between 1897 and 2003 it developed three distinct areas of responsibility, namely the administration of the Rules of Golf in conjunction with the USGA, the running of The Open and other key golfing events, and the development of the game in existing and emerging golfing nations.
A major reorganisation in 2004, however, saw the Club devolve responsibility for these functions to a newly-formed group of companies, known as The R&A.
Today, the Club has four objectives:
- To be a members’ golf club, having a clubhouse with high-quality facilities and reasonable access to first-class golfing facilities for day-to-day play, including competitions and matches, and for two Meetings of the members to be held in the Spring and Autumn.
- To maintain the position of St Andrews as the Home of Golf and to assist the Trustees and the Management Committee of the St Andrews Links Trust in the development of appropriate golfing facilities.
- To provide temporary accommodation for members of the Club and others.
- To acquire and preserve records and artefacts relating to the history of the game of golf either directly or indirectly.