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St Andrews Diary The RA Clubhouse

Editors Note: Tom Abbott is the host of Golf Central UK. He will be filing a daily diary from St. Andrews, providing you with a feel for what is going on outside the ropes at the Women's British Open.
As you drive into the town of St. Andrews and the buildings in the distance get closer and closer, you can begin to make out the line of homes and hotels alongside the 18th fairway and then as your eyes look towards the green theyre met by the site of the R&A clubhouse.
It is arguably the most famous structure in all of golf, sitting alone, majestic and mighty, as it guards the home of golf. Getting inside the clubhouse is no mean feat but on Friday I had the privilege. I must say it was such a thrill to see the history on display, the old clubs, the marvelous paintings all of which go into making it so special.
In the one of the lounges is a cabinet that houses the balls hit by the captains in the driving-in ceremony which takes place each September to welcome the new Captain of the R&A. The golf ball is retrieved by a caddie and given back to the Captain in exchange for a ceremonial coin. The ball is then cast in silver, gold if the Captain is a member of the royal family, and then hung on a club in the cabinet.
Each autumn during one of the club dinners, the silver and gold balls are taken out and set at the front of the room, the new R&A members are then invited to come up to the front and kiss the cast golf balls.
The R&A is not the only club which uses the Old Course, much like Carnoustie a number of clubs are attached, eight in total at St. Andrews. Two of which are women only, the St. Rule and St. Regulus clubs, with St. Rules clubhouse being just off to the right of the 18th green, about four buildings down from the end.
On Friday, Annika Sorenstam was made an honorary member of the St. Rule Club in a small ceremony after her round. The St. Rule hosts an amateur tournament in the late spring at St. Andrews, which Annika won back in 1990.

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