R&A artwork on display in the U.S.

The R&A has contributed some of golf’s most important art to the first-ever major exhibition devoted to the game of golf at an American art museum.

Works loaned to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta for its Art of Golf exhibition include Charles Lees’ iconic The Golfers, as well as the famous 1886 photograph The Ladies’ Club (pictured) and the 18th century View of St Andrews from the Old Course.

Organised by the High Museum of Art and the National Galleries of Scotland, the exhibition explores the game as depicted by landscape and portrait artists, photographers and Pop artists through the ages.

Comprising approximately 90 works from artists as diverse as Rembrandt, Norman Rockwell and Andy Warhol, “The Art of Golf” examines the game’s origins, its foundation in Scotland and its growth in America in the 20th century.

The exhibition also includes an introductory video featuring golf legends Jack Nicklaus and former R&A Secretary Sir Michael Bonallack.

Angela Howe, The R&A’s Museum and Heritage Director, said: “We are very fortunate to have many important pieces in our collection that reveal much about the history of our sport.

“However, not everyone is able to visit us here in St Andrews so it is important that we take advantage of opportunities to give golf fans across the world the chance to view these wonderful works of art.

“This exhibition, the first of its kind in North America, is truly ground breaking and we are delighted to have been able to play a part in putting it together.”

One of the pieces loaned forms the centrepiece of the exhibition. Recognised as the greatest golfing painting in the world, Charles Lees’ The Golfers (pictured, right) portrays in detail a match played on the Old Course at St Andrews in 1847. It has never before travelled to the U.S., though reproductions of it hang in golf clubhouses around the world. Displayed alongside the painting are several preparatory sketches and an early photograph by Hill and Adamson used by Lees in producing the painting.

Among the other objects loaned from the R&A’s collection is a portrait of legendary multiple Open champion, clubmaker and course designer Old Tom Morris by Sir George Reid.

The Art of Golf continues the High’s multi-year partnership with National Galleries of Scotland and will be on view at the museum until 24 June. It will tour to additional U.S. venues, yet to be announced, through the summer of 2013.