Prestwick Golf Club

Golf course in South Ayrshire, Scotland

Prestwick Golf Club is a golf course in Prestwick, South Ayrshire, Scotland. It is approximately 30 miles (50:km) southwest of Scotland's largest city, Glasgow. Prestwick is a classic links course, built on the rolling sandy land between the beach and the hinterland. The course is near the Prestwick airport, and some holes run along railway tracks on the eastern side of the course.

The Open Championship originated at Prestwick Golf Club, and was played there 24 times from 1860 to 1925.



Golf had been played over the links at Prestwick for many years before the club was formally organized in 1851. Old Tom Morris was the club's "Keeper of the Green, Ball and Club Maker" from 1851 to 1864. He designed and built the original 12-hole course, which measured 3,799 yards, 578 of which were on the first hole. In common with other courses, many of Prestwick's original holes crossed over the same undulating terrain; no more than two dozen golf clubs existed anywhere in the world at that time. Six of the original greens are still used by the present 18-hole course, which also includes three of the original holes: 2nd (Alps), 4th (Cardinal) and 5th (Sea Headrig).

Morris, originally from St Andrews, returned there to take charge of their links in 1865, but also assisted Prestwick when it extended its course to 18 holes in 1882 after the club acquired significantly more land to the north of its original lay-out. With the course's expansion to 18 holes, which had become the game's standard, cross-routing was eliminated.

Originates the Open Championship

Prestwick is famous as the initial originator and sponsor of The Open Championship, the oldest of golf's four major championships. Discussion of The Open's future concept began soon after the 1859 death of Allan Robertson, longtime professional at St Andrews, who had been considered supreme for some 20 years until his death; the concept of the Open was to find the new 'champion golfer'.

The first Open was held in October 1860, with three trips in one day over the course's 12 holes to make for 36 holes; the field consisted of eight leading professionals. The winner was presented with a red Morocco Belt with silver clasps purchased by the members at a cost of £25. The club annually staged all the Opens up to 1870, as well as the 1872 Open; cash prizes were also awarded to leading finishers. Young Tom Morris, son of Old Tom, learned his golf from boyhood at Prestwick, and captured four consecutive Opens held there from 1868 to 1872 (there was no Open in 1871). By winning the Belt three straight times, Young Tom was entitled un... more

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