History in Structure

Royal And Ancient Golf Club, Golf Place, St Andrews

A Category A Listed Building in St Andrews, Fife

More Photos »
Approximate Location Map
Large Map »


Latitude: 56.3436 / 56°20'36"N

Longitude: -2.8023 / 2°48'8"W

OS Eastings: 350502

OS Northings: 717090

OS Grid: NO505170

Mapcode National: GBR 2R.46CK

Mapcode Global: WH7RZ.XTQB

Plus Code: 9C8V85VX+C3

Entry Name: Royal And Ancient Golf Club, Golf Place, St Andrews

Listing Name: Royal and Ancient Golf Club House, the Scores, Golf Place

Listing Date: 8 June 1978

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 386836

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB40820

Building Class: Cultural

Also known as: R&A
St Andrews, Golf Place, Royal And Ancient Golf Club
Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews.

ID on this website: 200386836

Location: St Andrews

County: Fife

Town: St Andrews

Electoral Ward: St Andrews

Traditional County: Fife

Tagged with: Golf course Golf club

Find accommodation in
St Andrews


George Rae, 1854 with additions and alterations by John Laurie Fogo and Jesse Hall, 1866; David Henry, 1873; John Milne, 1880-82; James Gillespie, 1889 and 1899; J Donald Mills, 1922-25. Further alterations, late 20th century and early 21st century (see Notes). Large, multi-phase, 2 and 3 storey, rectangular-plan golf club house in classical style, prominently located at the head of the St Andrews Links Old Course. Pale sandstone ashlar with moulded dressings. Cill courses.

W (LINKS) ELEVATION: large, 7-window, canted bay with stone mullions; surmounted by covered balcony with cavetto-moulded stone plinths and decoratively scrolled wrought-iron columns and railings. Above: triangular pediment with lunette window and radiating keystone motif. Pedimented towerlet to outer right, slightly advanced with clock at first floor. 2 bays to left with tripartite windows at each floor. 2 large, square-plan, glazed lanterns, set back behind balustraded parapet.

S (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: symmetrical. Advanced, flat-roofed entrance portico to centre with square-section columns. Pedimented gable above with tripartite window, segmentally-pedimented dormers flanking; slightly advanced, pedimented outer bays, returning to W and E elevations. French Beaux-Art influenced, segmentally-pedimented chimney stacks.

E ELEVATION: 2-storey section to left: 5-window to ground; 3 shouldered and pedimented dormers to first floor. 3-storey, 4-bay section to right with irregular fenestration; segmental cornices to first floor windows. Projecting in-and-out quoins; shallow piend roof.

Plate glass glazing in timber sash and case windows. Grey slates. Variety of tall coped end, ridge and corner stacks. Cast-iron rainwater goods.

INTERIOR: high quality interior scheme with timber fireplaces, panelling and fitted timber trophy and memorabilia display cabinets. Decorative plasterwork cornices to principal ground floor reception rooms. Stairs with carved timber balusters, newel-posts and handrails. Timber doors, some with coloured glass infills to fanlights.

Trophy Room: stone fireplace, First and Second World War memorials, stained glass windows and trophy/golf club display cabinets.

Big Room: elaborate plasterwork ceiling, hardwood golf club lockers lining walls to dado height.

Secretary's Office: timber panelling to dado height, stone fireplace, decorative plasterwork to mansard roof.

Statement of Interest

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews is one of Scotland's key sporting institutions and its clubhouse is one of the country's most important sporting buildings. Prominently and famously located at the head of the St Andrews Links Old Course, this grand clubhouse, with its wealth of architectural detailing, reflects the club's long and significant history.

The Royal and Ancient Golf Clubhouse was originally a simple neo-Classical, H-plan structure, single storey in appearance, built by the St Andrews architect George Rae in 1854. The steady and purposeful evolution of its built form over time, catering to the changing needs and requirements of the club's membership, has resulted in a multi-phase building of distinctive character, broadly defined by those changes.

The first significant early alteration was the large canted window addition to the Big Room (or large hall as it was originally known ) in 1866. A second lanterned billiard room was added to the north side of the building in 1873. John Milne added a first floor level to the south side in 1882 with symmetrical pedimented outer bays. A 3-storey section was added to the east side by James Gillespie in 1889 and, ten years later, Gillespie and his partner James Scott raised the billiard rooms up a floor and added a card-playing room (now the secretary's office) above the Big Room, with its famous balcony overlooking the Old Course.

Plans to install a War Memorial in the reading room (now the trophy room) in 1922 resulted in major changes, when it was discovered that the floor above and also the floor of the landing above the entrance hall were structurally unsound. Dundee architect, J. Donald Mills surveyed the building and made a number of changes including the addition of two storeys to the north-east corner, bringing the whole building to a broadly uniform height. Further reconfiguration of the interior was carried out during the 20th century, much of it to provide additional office accommodation. In 2002, Wellwood Leslie Architects added a new entrance on the north side of the building to access the refurbished locker room at basement level and in 2013, the north room bay window was lowered to give better views of the putting green and the West Sands.

St Andrews is internationally recognised by golfers and historians as the home of golf. Versions of the game developed in Scotland during the middle ages and golf is known to have been played on St Andrews Links from at least the mid 16th century. These coastal flats formed part of the Burgh of St Andrews since 1123. The earliest known documentary evidence for golf being played here is the St Andrews Links Charter of 1552 which refers to the public ownership of the links and the right of the townspeople to play golf and other games. By 1691, the Regent of St Andrews University described the town as "the metropolis of golfing" and a letter of 1712 shows that students could be given a dispensation to play.

The 'Articles and Laws in Playing at Golf' were drawn up by the Gentleman Golfers of Edinburgh (now the Honourable Company) in 1744. The document underpins the regulations for an annual challenge for a silver club, in which the winner became Captain. The challenge was introduced at St Andrews ten years later with the regulations being adopted almost in their entirety. By 1766, the St Andrews Golfers had formed themselves into a Society and in 1834, the patronage of King William IV was applied for and granted, as was the right for the Society to re-name itself The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.

From the late 19th century The Royal and Ancient Golf Club increasingly came to be regarded as a governing authority, both in Britain and overseas. Between 1897 and 2003 it developed three areas of responsibility, namely the administration of the Rules of Golf (in conjunction with the United States Golf Association), the running of The Open Championship and other key golf championships and matches and the development of the game world-wide. In 2004, the Club devolved these responsibilities to a newly formed group of companies known collectively as 'The R&A', also based at St Andrews.

The spread of rail travel in the 19th century helped golf become the focus of a strong tourist economy in the town. Golf tourism remains strong in St Andrews, particularly during The Open Championship. The Old Course has hosted The Open on 28 occasions, as of 2013. Scotland as a whole has more golf courses per head of population than any other country and the Scottish Golf Union has indicated there are around 550 courses with a total membership of nearly 250,000.

St Andrews Links is included on Scotland's Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landcapes. The four historic golf courses within the landscape boundary are the Old Course, the New Course, the Jubilee Course and the Eden Course, with the smaller 'Himalayas' putting green located adjacent to the Royal and Ancient Clubhouse. Further to the west of the Clubhouse is the low, single-arched Golfer's Bridge (see separate listing) over the Swilcan Burn which meanders across the Old Course. It is of uncertain date but is believed to be at least 300 years old. Together the Clubhouse and bridge are among the most celebrated and instantly recognisable landmarks in golf.

Category changed from B to A and list description updated as part of the sporting buildings thematic study (2012-13).

External Links

External links are from the relevant listing authority and, where applicable, Wikidata. Wikidata IDs may be related buildings as well as this specific building. If you want to add or update a link, you will need to do so by editing the Wikidata entry.

Recommended Books

Other nearby listed buildings

BritishListedBuildings.co.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact BritishListedBuildings.co.uk for any queries related to any individual listed building, planning permission related to listed buildings or the listing process itself.

British Listed Buildings is a Good Stuff website.