Formed in 2004 and based in St Andrews, The R&A seeks to engage in and support activities that are undertaken for the benefit of the game of golf and, despite deriving its name from the members’ club, is separate and distinct from The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.
The R&A organizes The Open, golf’s oldest Major, along with a number of other amateur and junior events, some of which are sanctioned by other golfing bodies. In addition, The R&A assumes responsibility for the administration of the Rules of Golf with the consent of 152 organizations from the amateur and professional game, and on behalf of over 30 million golfers in 138 countries throughout Europe, Africa, Asia-Pacific and the Americas.
For the USA and Mexico, the USGA is the governing body, an organization with whom The R&A has jointly issued the Rules of Golf since 1952.
The R&A Rules Department also incorporates an Equipment Standards division, a team of scientists who, through rigorous state-of-the-art testing, assess new developments in golf technology, as well as ensuring that new club and ball submissions from manufacturers conform to the Rules of the game.
By staging The Open, one of the world’s great sporting events, each year, The R&A is able to distribute a substantial annual surplus for the development of the game. Particular emphasis is placed on encouraging junior golf, on the promotion and progression of the game in emerging golfing nations, on coaching and on the provision of more public courses and improved practice facilities.
The R&A also provides best practice guidance on all aspects of golf course management, to help grow golf throughout the world in a commercially and environmentally sustainable way.