Our trip inside the Royal & Ancient Clubhouse at St. Andrews

Our trip inside the Royal & Ancient Clubhouse at St. Andrews

scheduled tribe. ANDREWES, Scotland – I still can’t decide what was the best piece of memorabilia to be displayed at the R&A clubhouse.

Was it the original oil painting hanging on the wall? The prized silver claret jug to be awarded the Champion Golfer of the Year? Or the original Alister Mackenzie sketch of The Old Course, surveyed and painted in 1924? All spectacular and part of the sport’s rich history, but then you see the original Challenge belt that was given to the winner of the Open Championship from 1860–1870 until Young Tom Morris won the belt by winning the event three times in a row. – That’s the next level.

Welcome to the Royal & Ancient Clubhouse, located behind the first tee of the famous Old Course, and an iconic building whose exterior is immediately known to golfers around the world. Arnold Palmer once described it as “being admitted to the Hall of God”, and thanks golfweek Rater and club member Derek Dobbs, I got a grand tour of the facility, which was originally built in Georgian style in 1854.

Dobbs joined the private club in 1989, with about 2,500 members worldwide, or as he put it, “a long time ago to know my way.” He usually comes and plays once a year. (He is also a member of the Royal Doornoch #Jealous.)

The entrance to the R&A Clubhouse in St Andrews. (Photo by Adam Schupak)

Jacket and tie are required for entry and sadly no photos or videos are allowed. The main lobby has a cabinet that holds some of the most prized trophies in golf – from the Amateur and Ladies Amateur Trophies to the Claret Jug. There are two versions of this – a champion golfer of the year awarded custody for a year and one I read carefully, which never left the field and was last given to Bobby Jones when he won in 1927, And didn’t want to risk taking it to America.

In the trophy room, where I had my eyes fixed on the silver balls and Derek shared a back story of an infamous club tradition. Every year since 1754, the new captain hits the ceremonial drive from the first tee and the local caddy who retrieves it is awarded a prize. A silver casing of the ball is then attached to a cluster hanging from silver putters like grapes on a vine. (The captains of the royal birth – there have been four – have balls of gold.) After that evening, at dinner, the new members are required to touch this ornament with their lips and kiss the captains’ balls.

The Big Room, the main social room on the ground floor, offers floor-to-ceiling bay windows and a great view of the first tee. We sat down and watched Trey Moulinex and others drinking tea. The room is decorated with portraits of Queen Elizabeth II, the five-time British Amateur Champion, and Old Tom Morris. You must be a member for 50 years to have a locker in this room.

R&A member Tiger Woods watches before teeing on the first hole from the R&A Clubhouse during the second round of the 150th Open Championship golf tournament at St Andrews Old Course. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher – USA TODAY SPORTS

Interestingly, members do not otherwise have their own lockers; Rather, they find a blank and pay a pound for its use. They have thought of most things including a room to dry clothes in locker facilities.

On 30 November or St Andrew’s Day, the clubhouse is open to the public to tour the ground floor, and I would encourage anyone to do the same. But you will need a member to go up.

The walls leading to the stairs showcase an impressive art collection that is rotated regularly. The original oil paintings of The Great Triumvirate were Harry Varden, John Henry Taylor and James Braid, three prominent British golfers of the late 19th century.th and early 20th Century – of Francis Ouimet, American who won the 1913 US Open at The Country Club and was the R&A Captain in 1951, and a painting from the 2003 Annual Meeting when Prince Andrew was named Captain. It was easy picking past Open champion Peter Thomson and course architect Robert Trent Jones Jr. into painting. Staff members were getting ready for lunch as I admired the bird’s eye view of the first tee.

Spectators watch Tiger Woods (not pictured) on the 18th hole from the balcony of the secretary’s office at the R&A Clubhouse during the second round of the 150th Open Championship golf tournament at St Andrews Old Course. Photo by Rob Schumacher-USA Today Sports

The Clubhouse is a museum piece containing museum pieces from the great sport. With a chamber of ancient hickory putters, mash-nibblicks, brassies, and cliches, you wonder why there’s a need for the British Golf Museum across the street. Many priceless antiquities like Old Tom Morris’s Buffy Spoon and Alan Robertson’s Rut Iron, circa 1850, are kept here. These clubs were crafted by true craftsmen, but they are so ancient that they look better suited for gardening. The billiards room also features a wall of unusual clubs, including the Rake Niblick, and the development of the golf ball from the Feather Ball (1840), the Gatti Ball (1890), and even a Leather Ball (1943).

The list of honorary members, which already included former Open champion Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Tom Watson, Lee Trevino and Tony Jacqueline, grew to three this week with Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Paul Lowry joining the ranks. As I made my way downstairs again, I spied a small wooden box with a slot cut out of the top. was lying on a table, on which was written, “Letter of Support for the Candidates.”

I’m sorry while I fill it out.

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