May 16, 2022

Scotland: World’s Largest Golf Library to be Created in St Andrews

From the R&A (The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews):

Renowned golf book collector and IMG vice-chairman Alastair Johnston has gifted his extensive library to The R&A in St Andrews to establish the world’s largest, most comprehensive collection of golf books, which will be named the Alastair J Johnston Library.

Alastair Johnston (Source: R&A)

Alastair has amassed nearly 30,000 volumes since he first started collecting golf books during an internship at IMG in 1969 and the collection, which dates as far back as 1566, features works by many of golf’s most prominent writers, players, historians, architects and biographers.

Johnston currently adds up to 800 new items to the collection each year and the latest edition of the bibliography, which he publishes annually, contains two volumes and amounts to more than 900 pages, demonstrating the extent of the collection. The R&A is committed to continuing to invest in the collection to maintain its status as the finest in the world.


The library will remain at Johnston’s home in Cleveland while plans are made for its relocation to St Andrews, where it will be managed by the Museum and Heritage department of The R&A. It will follow a planned redevelopment of the museum galleries ahead of The 150th Open at St Andrews in 2021, cementing The R&A’s position as the global authority and repository for the history of golf.


Alastair Johnson, said, “I am honoured that The R&A has accepted so gracefully the donation of my golf library.  The commitment it is making to locate it in St Andrews, in the epicentre of the historical roots of the game of golf and provide future guardianship of so much that has been printed about it over the last 400 years or so, is very much appreciated.”

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.