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History

Honorary Members

Honorary Membership is an honour which the Club does not bestow lightly. Restricted to 'distinguished strangers', The New Golf Club has had only five Honorary Members in over a century of its existence - and never more than one at a time.

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Tom Morris

As a player, Old Tom Morris still holds two records in the Open Championship: the oldest winner at 46 in 1867, and the largest winning margin by a winner, by 13 strokes in 1862. And with his son, Young Tom Morris, he holds the record as being part of the only father/son pair to finish as winner and runner up, in 1869. Young Tom Morris was also to win the Open Championship four times, but died tragically young, aged 24, on Christmas Day 1875 a few months after the death of his wife during childbirth. Old Tom Morris played in every Open Championship until 1895, when he was 74. When he died, in 1908, he was 87, and it is said that his funeral procession extended the entire length of South Street in St Andrews, from the port to the cathedral. Memorials to him include the name of a road in St Andrews and a larger-than-life statue in the British Golf Museum in St Andrews. And in the form of just about every golf course in the world; and the way the very game of golf itself has been played as a result of his influence.

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Sandy Herd

Our second was Sandy Herd, a native St Andrean. Sandy won The Open at Hoylake in 1902, the year The New Golf Club was founded. His appearances in The Open Championship spanned 54 years, his last appearance being at St Andrews in 1939, when he was 71. He accepted the invitation to become our Honorary Member in 1938. He died in London in 1944 at the age of 76.

Robert Tyre Jones

The third Honorary Member was Robert Tyre Jones, who achieved the Grand Slam in 1930 by winning the Amateur Championship at St Andrews. It was in 1958, when Bobby came to St Andrews as the non-playing Captain of the United States in the Eisenhower Trophy, that he was invited to become our Honorary Member. He readily agreed and presented the Club with portraits of himself and of Old Tom Morris. Three years later, he also presented a copy of his book 'Golf Is My Game'. He died in December 1971, and a few weeks later St Andrews Town Council named the Tenth Hole of The Old Course 'Bobby Jones'.

Arnold Palmer

Two years later, in 1973, Arnold Palmer accepted our offer to become the next Honorary Member. By his participation in The Open, Arnold did more than any other golfer to restore the flagging prestige of this great event and to rekindle American interest in it. He came over for The Centenary Open at St Andrews in 1960 at a time when he was rising to his peak. And where he went, others followed. Since 1973, Arnold has visited the Club on numerous occasions during his visits to Scotland. 

Tom Watson

In 2018, the club was delighted when Tom Watson accepted our invitation to be Honorary Member. Tom Watson holds eight major Championships - including five Open Championship victories, two wins at The Masters and arguably the most dramatic U.S Open victory in history. There are also 39 PGA Tour wins, 14 additional wins worldwide and 14 wins on the Champions Tour, 6 of them majors. We are delighted that the new 'distinguished stranger' in St Andrews, accepted our invitation to join The New Golf Club, St Andrews.

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