European captain Paul McGinley and US leader Tom Watson travelled on a specially-commissioned steam train from Edinburgh to Gleneagles, Perthshire, where next year's contest will take place.
The team competition starts on September 26 2014 but the players will be practising on the course in front of fans three days earlier.
The pair were joined by celebrity ambassadors including actor James Nesbitt, JLS singer Marvin Humes and ex-footballers Alan Hansen and Ruud Gullit.
Also on board were Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, Minister for Sport Shona Robison, European Ryder Cup director Richard Hills and PGA of America president Ted Bishop.
The captains joined Mr Salmond to unveil a commemorative flagstone marking improvement works at Gleneagles station before taking to the course with 16 junior golfers.
"The Ryder Cup is an iconic event in the world's sporting calendar and what better way to kick it off than to arrive into Gleneagles station on an iconic steam train built in 1927, the year of the first Ryder Cup itself," McGinley said.
Watson said: "I am very grateful for the opportunity to be captain in Scotland, a place that has been very special to me during my career. It's hard to believe that it was nearly 20 years ago that I enjoyed one of the most thrilling experiences in my career in being captain in 1993.
"We anticipate a tremendous match and September 2014 can't get here soon enough."
Mr Salmond said: "While there will be many immediate benefits from staging this magnificent sporting occasion, there will also be the long-term effects from this golden legacy which will ensure the popularity of golf continues to grow and young talent will be nurtured.
"The combination of staging the world's best tournament and our initiative to put a club in the hand of every nine-year-old in Scotland can only mean continued success for the sport."
Mike Cantlay, VisitScotland chairman, said: "The Ryder Cup is one of the biggest sporting events on the planet. This provides us with an excellent opportunity to benefit the economy in the short term but also develop a lasting legacy for golf and tourism going forward.
"The Scottish economy will benefit massively with around 45,000 attending each day and up to 250,000 in total across the week. This combined with a massive global TV audience and we really have a great opportunity to present Scotland on the world stage like never before."
The competition is likely to feature many of the world's best players, such as Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson and Justin Rose.
Europe will be hoping to retain the trophy they won in dramatic fashion in Illinois last year.
Organisers have already recruited 1,800 volunteers to be safety marshals, buggy drivers and sales assistants at the competition, and the event will generate around £100 million for the local economy, according to the Scottish Government.