How to Become a Member of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club

Woman playing golf, side view

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club in Scotland, founded in 1754, can lay claim to being the premier golf club in sports. It’s a private club with around 2,500 members, and admission to that exclusive fraternity is much coveted among golf aficionados. While the membership process is far from transparent, much of it is based on knowing the right people and having the patience to wait years between your initial application and first round as a member.

Proposing New Members

Those who wish to become members of the R&A must have their candidacy proposed by a current member, and submit their application as part of that process. Once proposed, the prospective member needs enough letters of support to convince the membership committee that he is worthy of membership. There's no set number of letters needed -- just enough to effectively make the case. The process can take years to complete, and there’s reportedly an extensive waiting list.

Women Eligible -- Finally

A single-sex club until 2014, the club’s membership voted to welcome women members in September of that year, with 85 percent of its members favoring the switch. The club expects the process for adding the first women to the membership ranks will be streamlined to avoid the extended wait that would otherwise result.