R&A World Golf Museum putting green

{Scotland} R&A World Golf Museum

Happy Museum Monday! This week, we’re taking you up north to St Andrews in Fife. St Andrews is of course famous as the home of golf, so it will come as no surprise that it also boasts a golf museum. The R&A World Golf Museum is part of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, and while the museum does tell the story of the club’s heritage and traditions, it also takes you around the world, exploring golf’s history from its origins on Scotland’s east coast to the global game it is today. 

R&A World Golf Museum St Andrews

There are six zones to explore, starting with ‘Home of Golf’, which sets the scene. At the interactive map table, you can learn more about the history of golf specifically in St Andrews, and the various golf related landmarks in the town. My boys were particularly interested in the ‘Rabbit Wars’ of the late 18th century.

R&A World Golf Museum interactive map

‘Origins of the Game’ takes you right back to the earliest ball and stick games that have been played around the world for centuries, how golf was popularised in Scotland in to the game it’s recognised as today, and the development of culture and social life around golf, including ladies’ golf clubs.

R&A World Golf Museum St Andrews exhibit
R&A World Golf Museum exhibit

Next, there was ‘Equipment and Design’, which looks at the pattern, materials and makings of golf clubs and balls, as well the clothing worn to play gold throughout the ages. This area was very interactive, with objects to handle, dressing up clothes, touch screens to explore, film footage to watch, and games to play including a ‘design your own golf course’ quiz.

R&A World Golf Museum design a golf course
R&A World Golf Museum materials and making

‘A Royal and Ancient Game’ then delves a bit deeper in to the history of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews. This was probably one the areas the boys were least interested in topic wise, but they still had fun exploring what was hidden in the member’s lockers, which you could open, and interacting with the objects on the boardroom table.

The boy’s favourite zone was ‘Players and Championships’, not so much for all the film footage you could watch of iconic champions, shots and matches from across amateur and professional golf, but for the chance to try their own hand at taking a putt on the interactive putting green. They must have spent at least half an hour there in total, in between letting other visitors have a shot.

R&A World Golf Museum putting green

The last zone, ‘The World of Golf’, loos at how golf has spread to every corner of the world, and visitors can add their own golfing memories of St Andrews the giant world map.

R&A World Golf Museum St Andrews
R&A World Golf Museum world map

There was also a wee exhibit about golf and railways, which according to the museum map was a temporary exhibition space so I don’t know how long that particular exhibit will be there. But it had some beautiful golf and train travel posters on display, plus some more dressing up opportunities, which are always a winner with my two (we had to stop Oskar walking out with the blue golfing jumper, he was so in love with it!)

R&A World Golf Museum dressing up

Speaking of the museum map, you can find a copy of this on the museum’s website. It’s actually a sensory map, which shows you exactly where there’s bright light or low light, film footage and audio, drawer or doors to open, objects to handle, or interactive activities. It’s really handy for preparing for a visit with kids, even if they don’t have any specific sensory needs. You can also find copies of the sensory map in the museum’s Learning Room, which is to your right when you enter. As we’d stared on the left with ‘Origins of the Game’ we came to the Learning Room last, but it’s worth popping in there first to pick up one of the trails we discovered there, as then you can do the trail as you go round.

R&A World Golf Museum kids trail

The only problem with visiting the Learning Room first, is that you might not be able to get your kids to leave again to go round the rest of the museum! There’s lots to play with, including Lego and a toy golf set, plenty of craft materials and activity sheets, and a reading corner with comfy beanbags and a wee shelf with lots of golf themed children’s books.

R&A World Golf Museum learning room

Overall, we had a really great time at the World Golf Museum. Do be aware though, that while children under age 16 and under get free entry, it’s £12 – £15 per adult (depending what time of year you’re visiting). We did spend almost two hours there so we feel we got our money’s worth – the dressing up, design a golf course quiz and putting kept the boys entertained, giving us grown ups a chance to engage some more with the rest of the exhibits – but I know that our children have an above average attention span when it comes to museums. My 8 year old especially will spend ages reading about exhibits, long after my 12 year old’s attention has started to wane.

To maximise your time at the museum, make sure everyone has been well fed and isn’t due a nap soon (probably doesn’t need said, but it’s easy to lose sight of these things when sightseeing), and don’t forget to make use of the Learning Room, especially for younger children. If there’s more than one grown-up in your group, you could take it in turns to keep the little ones busy with the Learning Room activities whilst the other grown-up looks around the museum a bit more.

How to get there

Location: Bruce Embankment, St Andrews, Fife KY16 9AB

There’s no train station in St Andrews itself, but it’s only a short bus ride from Leuchars. The museum is a 5 minute walk from St Andrews town centre and is situated directly opposite The Royal and Ancient Clubhouse. 

Visitor Info

Opening times: Open daily, 9am – 5pm April to October, 9am – 4pm November to March

Cost: Adults £15 April – October/ £12 November – March; Seniors £10; Free for children age 16 and under

Website: www.worldgolfmuseum.com

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