Inside the R&A Clubhouse

There is no question one of the most iconic places for photographs in all of golf is the 1st tee of the Old Course in St. Andrews. How many hundreds of pictures have we seen like these?

Whether it’s Tiger hoisting the Claret Jug.

R&A Clubhouse

Or a younger, decidedly thinner me posing with my friend Reuven Katz before I played my first round ever on the world’s oldest course. (In those days, I was merely stocky.)

R&A Golf Clubhouse

But have you ever thought about what the view was like looking out from those bow windows on the ground floor of the R&A clubhouse? Well, here’s what Max and Jack Elgart saw during their recent Haversham & Baker Golfing Expedition to the Home of Golf.

Inside R&A Clubhouse

The common assumption is that this room is a dining room, a conclusion that is reinforced by the tables and chairs which surround the Elgarts. In further support of the assumption is the custom of R&A members to take their pre lunch or dinner drinks in the room in full view of anyone passing by on the outside of the clubhouse.

But a passerby is just as likely to see an octogenarian in his underwear or less as the room is actually the original locker room for the club and still used for that purpose by the club’s most senior members. My guess is when one reaches 80 he really doesn’t care who sees him in his birthday suit and most of us don’t really care to see him so privacy isn’t really an issue. A gaze averted most every time.

But what about the balcony or whatever just above the locker room windows? It’s a porch accessed through the Secretary’s Office. When that privilege was granted to a group of PGA professionals who are part of the H&B Private Club Travel Program, they took this picture of the view from up top.

R&A Clubhouse Balcony

And where exactly is the dining room actually located? On the top floor just to the right of those very same private club PGA professionals enjoying a view they’ll never forget.

R&A Clubhouse

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6 Responses to Inside the R&A Clubhouse

  1. Gene Friedman says:

    Sam, I understand that one may now apply for temporary membership
    in the R&A club.

    • says:

      You can apply for temporary membership to the St. Andrews Golf Club which also has a clubhouse on the 1st/18th fairway. But to best of my knowledge, Gene, the R&A is not accepting applications for temporary membership.

  2. Tom Alsop says:

    How can an individual or a group of individuals arrange a private tour of the R&A? Do they really allow that or would we need to know a member?

    • says:

      Sadly, admission to the R&A clubhouse is restricted to members and their guests. It’s a shame more golfers can’t view the treasures which are contained therein.

  3. Nate Claassen says:

    Sam -Thanks for the blog – good work. Question: has the R@A building received a facelift since you led the brigade from the University of New Mexico into the fray back in ’93? Seems the building was much darker and foreboding then. I know that our trip was in the last century but I’m sure your grey matter is up to the task…….

    Judy, Kathryn and I still fondly reminisce about our Scottish adventure.

    All the best and cheers – Nate

    • says:

      Nate, the answer is that like many of the soot stained buildings throughout Great Britain, the R&A Clubhouse has been cleaned up a bit. As I recall, the most dark and foreboding aspect on the day we played was the starter. Best to Judy & Kathryn. Cheers, Sam

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