Inside the R&A Clubhouse
Inside the R&A Clubhouse is a short golf blog post revealing the secrets of the most famous Clubhouse in the world.
Most Golfers know the iconic R&A Clubhouse, in St Andrews, which sits behind the 1st Tee of the Old Course. But not many people have seen the inside of this magnificent building.
If you have seen the inside of the building you will have seen what the facade is hiding.
For those people who haven’t seen inside of the R&A Clubhouse, let me tell you a little secret.
The Facts & St Andrew.
Last week was St Andrews Day. This is a huge celebration in Scotland, especially in the town of St Andrews.
For those that don’t know, St Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland. He was also one of the 12 Apostles.
He was executed on an X-shaped cross called a Saltire and the Scottish flag also called the Saltire, represents this fact.
On the 30th of November, every year except for last year due to Covid-19, the R&A clubhouse is open to the public.
This event is from 10am until 5pm and it is free of charge.
The R&A World Golf Museum is also free of charge on St Andrews Day.
Inside the R&A Clubhouse
On entering the side door by the car park I was immediately confronted by a small white cannon in the foyer.
The cannon has been in the hands of the R&A since 1856 and is still used to this day at the “Captain’s Driving In” event.
Once in the main building, I checked in at the reception desk and was greeted by my guide, Andrew. How lucky I felt having such a passionate member & guide to show me around this famous place.
The Main Foyer
Andrew immediately drew my attention to the trophy cabinet in the entrance hall. The cabinet holds some of the most important Golf trophies in the world. These include the Women’s Amateur Championship Trophy and the AIG Women’s British Open Trophy. The Amateur Championship Trophy, The Open Championship Challenge Belt are also present.
The most important trophy of all is The Golf Championship Trophy aka The Claret Jug that was last presented to Bobby Jones in 1927. It is this trophy that never leaves the building.
The South Room
My guide takes me through to the South Room more often used as a “Spike Bar” and Trophy Room. It is here where you can find an impressive selection of medals and trophies which include the “Captain’s Balls”. Every Captain has hit a ceremonial tee shot which is then collected and encased in Silver unless he was born with royal blood, then it is encased in gold. Also in the trophy cabinet is a Kangaroo’s Paw which is also a lighter.
In the same room is also a display cabinet with a selection of old clubs from past members and players. These include Old Tom Morris and Tom Morris Junior. Clubs from Willie Park Junior and Willie Fernie are also present. There are also clubs from Harry Vardon, J H Taylor and James Braid. Clubs from Gene Sarazen, Henry Cotton and Bob Charles too.
I could go on but I did state that this is a short golf blog post.
I am then taken into the Lounge (Main Room) and my jaw drops. There is a feeling of grandeur from the decor and from the amazing grand bay window. From the window, you have stunning views of the 1st & 18th holes of the Old Course.
There are lots of paintings on the walls which include Her Majesty The Queen. A painting of Old Tom Morris and Sir Michael Bonallack too. There is also a huge painting of a Captain’s Driving In ceremony. Apparently, where you can try and find a selection of hidden dogs. It is said to be 6 different breeds can be found.
It feels very soft underfoot thanks to Scotland’s largest, single piece, fitted carpet which weighs half a ton.
The walls are lined with old wooden lockers that only older, more established members may use and still do. There was one story where a locker came available after the sad passing of one member. The locker hadn’t been used for a long time. When the committee opened it they found a complete skeleton with a note. The note read “Ireland’s Hide and Seek Champion”. This seems to be one of the memorable stories linked to the lockers.
The Corridor & The Under stairs Members Shop
The Corridor is also steeped in history with yet another large cabinet full of historic clubs. Included in this collection are clubs from Holland (Kolf). Lots of various clubs including some wonderful designs like the Water Niblick and there is also a club that has adjustable lofts. Surprisingly, this club has nothing to do with Taylormade. 🙂
At the end of the corridor is a colourful portrait of Henry Cotton.
Underneath the staircase is a shop. This shop is only for the members as they don’t have their own pro-shop.
End of the tour
Andrew says his goodbyes and leaves me in the main foyer. I thanked him for his enthusiastic manner and for his amazing knowledge of the R&A Club history. I left feeling honoured to have seen the inside of the R&A clubhouse.
When in St Andrews I can highly recommend this experience to all golfers.
Just remember the date, St Andrews Day, 30th November.
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