Our Heritage

The R&A Heritage Department safeguards 600 years of golfing history from its base in St Andrews. Responsible for the collections of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club and British Golf Museum, the Museum and Heritage Curators care for around 1,400 golf clubs, 700 golf balls and 1,000 trophies and medals dating from the late 17th century to the present day.

These form just part of the collections.  In addition, valuable works of art, historical Rules of Golf books, Club minutes and archive material, clothing, film and audio archives, golf equipment and more all fall within their collections care remit.

Day-to-day, the Heritage team also plan new exhibitions, ensure that Club and Championship trophies are available for display in St Andrews and at championship venues and carry out historical research, both for the public and internally for other departments.

As guardians of golf's heritage, the curatorial staff display, interpret and care for a diverse collection of international significance and, in promoting the history of the game, seek to engage with the widest possible audience.

Establishing and maintaining links with other museums and golfing organisations plays an increasing role and provides an opportunity to reach audiences overseas.  In the USA, the Atlanta History Center in Georgia and the World Golf Hall of Fame in Florida are institutions with which the Heritage Department has long-standing relations, lending objects and material from the film archive for their displays.  More recently, the promotion of golf’s heritage has extended to China; an exhibition entitled ‘The R&A and the Heart of the Game’ was launched at the Pine Valley Golf & Country Club, near Beijing, in 2008.  Mission Hills Golf Club, also in China, was the venue for an outdoor panel display about The R&A, staged to coincide with the 2007 Omega Mission Hills World Cup.

Over the past few years the Heritage Department has developed a significant film archive dating back to the 19th century.  Much of it has been restored and digitised, including the earliest surviving footage of a golf match, which was shot in 1898.  In 2009, the restoration of two Kinora reels, featuring George Duncan and Sandy Herd, merited a prestigious Focal Award.

Twenty years on from the opening of the British Golf Museum, the work and demands of the curatorial department continue to grow.

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club

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.

Celebrating your Centenary

Your centenary is an important occasion in your club’s history and a reason to celebrate. Click through to use our search facility, which allows you to search clubs throughout the UK that were founded during the period 1901-1914.

Old Course

11 holes out, the same 11 holes back, and starting and finishing on the mound behind the first tee. Despite this unfamiliar description, however, today’s golfers would recognise the ‘Old’ Course of the 1700s and note that the challenges it presented have changed little in three centuries.

British Golf Museum

The five-star British Golf Museum sits at the heart of the Home of Golf, just 67 yards from the famous Old Course. Imaginative exhibitions, hands on activities and stunning multimedia displays bring to life over 500 years of golfing history.