R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers will step down by the end of 2024 after what will be nine years in the role, the governing body has announced.

Slumbers, who will also leave his post as secretary of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, will oversee the 152nd Open at Royal Troon, the AIG Women’s Open at St Andrews and the 43rd Curtis Cup at Sunningdale before stepping down.

The 63-year-old said: “It has been a privilege to serve golf at the highest level.

“It is a role that I have been proud to carry out on behalf of The R&A’s employees, the members of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club and all our global partners.

“In any career, there is a time to allow the next generation to have its turn. I am grateful to have had the honour, for nearly a decade, to have been the custodian of all that The R&A and the game of golf more broadly represents.”

Slumbers played a key role in the modernisation of the Rules of Golf in 2019, the new World Handicap System in 2020 and the Distance Insights process which led to December’s announcement of a new rule to reduce the distance golf balls travel.

The rule will controversially apply to recreational players as well as in elite competitions, but Slumbers insisted the change was necessary for the long-term sustainability of the game.

“Governance is not easy, but our responsibility is to look to the future and make sure the game is appropriately structured for the long term and we believe this rule change is part of that,” he told the PA news agency.

“I think it’s an important moment for the game and it’s a positive moment for the game.”

Paying tribute to Slumbers, R&A chairman Niall Farquharson said: “In Martin, we have been fortunate to have a CEO who has steered the organisation through a period of growth and enhanced the profile and reputation of our sport to make it more accessible, appealing and inclusive.

“Through his stature and influence in the world of golf and sport more widely and in growing the proceeds of The Open to invest back into the game, he has been true to The R&A’s purpose of golf thriving 50 years from now and has shown transformational leadership.

“He speaks often of reflecting history in a modern way and that will be his legacy to The R&A and to the Club.”