The Open

Eight professional golfers assembled at Prestwick Golf Club in 1860 to determine who would become the Champion Golfer. Prior to his death in 1859, Allan Robertson was the de facto champion, but when Willie Park Senior beat Old Tom Morris by two shots to claim the Challenge Belt the granddaddy of golf championships was born: The Open.

The Open championship Challenge Belt

The Open championship Challenge Belt cost £25

In 1870 at Prestwick, Young Tom Morris won The Open for the third consecutive time and so claimed outright ownership of the Challenge Belt. The Open was not contested in 1871 while the future direction of the tournament was discussed.

Three clubs that were to host The Open — Prestwick, the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers and The Royal and Ancient Golf Club – reached agreement in 1872. The Champion would receive a medal and there would be a new trophy, a silver Claret Jug “The Golf Champion Trophy”. Unfortunately the trophy wasn’t ready to present to Young Tom Morris, who won The Open for the fourth consecutive time in 1872.

Prestwick staged the first twelve championships before Tom Kidd lifted the Claret Jug for the first time at St Andrews in 1873. The Open was then rotated between Musselburgh, Prestwick and St Andrews until 1892 when the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers were able to host the event on their new course, Muirfield.

In 1894, The Open was staged in England for the first time at Royal St George’s and in 1897 at Royal Liverpool. Royal Cinque Ports came onto the rotation in 1909 and Royal Troon in 1923. Bobby Jones won the first Open to be played at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 1926, in 1932 Gene Sarazen won the only Open to be hosted at Prince’s, and Henr...

The Open host courses


1st Lothians - Best in Area 3rd Scotland Ranking 4th Britain & Ireland Ranking 14th World Ranking

Muirfield is the course of “The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers” (HCEG), the world’s oldest golf club – according to direct written evidence – formed in 1744.


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Musselburgh (Old)

Gem Scotland - Best in Area

Musselburgh Links (Old Course) is one of the most historically important golf venues as it is the world’s second oldest golf course. The Scottish Golf History website has the first record of golf played here as 1567.


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3rd Ayrshire & Arran - Best in Area 14th Scotland Ranking 34th Britain & Ireland Ranking

The course at Prestwick Golf Club is a traditional monument, an authentic affair with a layout of holes that snake to and fro through rugged dunes and rippled fairways.


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Prince’s (Himalayas)

7th Kent - Best in Area

Measuring 3,618 yards from the tips, the re-imagined Himalayas nine is considered by many to be the best of the three loops at Prince’s Golf Club. According to Tony Jacklin, the 7th hole is “the best par three in golf that doesn’t have a bunker”.


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Royal Liverpool

1st Cheshire - Best in Area 15th England Ranking 42nd Britain & Ireland Ranking

Without doubt, Royal Liverpool Golf Club is a tough links. Only six holes are in the dunes – otherwise there is little protection from the ever-changing Hoylake wind.


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The Open Leaderboard

Rank Name Courses Played
1 Jonathan Armstrong Courses Played 15
= Gary Harvey Courses Played 15
= Phil Ree Courses Played 15
= Nigel Thorpe Courses Played 15
= Lindsay Buckenham Courses Played 15
= Ed Battye Courses Played 15
= Brian Ward Courses Played 15
= Mark White Courses Played 15
= Gustav Courses Played 15
= Kevin P Courses Played 15