Prestwick - Ayrshire & Arran - Scotland

Prestwick Golf Club,
2 Links Road,
Prestwick,
Ayrshire,
KA9 1QG,
Scotland


  • +44 (0) 1292 473812


Prestwick Golf Club hosted its 24th and last Open Championship in 1925. Only St Andrews has hosted more Open Championships than Prestwick.

Date Winner Country
1860 Willie Park Sr Scotland
1861 Tom Morris Sr Scotland
1862 Tom Morris Sr Scotland
1863 Willie Park Sr Scotland
1864 Tom Morris Sr Scotland
1865 Andrew Strath Scotland
1866 Willie Park Sr Scotland
1867 Tom Morris Sr Scotland
1868 Tom Morris Jr Scotland
1869 Tom Morris Jr Scotland
1870 Tom Morris Jr Scotland
1872 Tom Morris Jr Scotland
1875 Willie Park Sr Scotland
1878 Jamie Anderson Scotland
1881 Bob Ferguson Scotland
1884 Jack Simpson Scotland
1887 Willie Park Jr Scotland
1890 John Ball Jr England
1893 Willie Auchterlonie Scotland
1898 Harry Vardon England
1903 Harry Vardon England
1908 James Braid Scotland
1914 Harry Vardon England
1925 Jim Barnes USA


In 1851, a 12-hole course was founded at Prestwick Golf Club with Old Tom Morris as “Keeper of the Green”. Nine years later in 1860, the British Open Championship was born and didn’t move away from Prestwick until it went to St Andrews in 1873. The Open has been hosted here no fewer than 24 times, although the most recent championship was held in 1925. St Andrews is the only venue to have hosted more Opens than Prestwick and obviously the Old Course is still on the Open circuit.

The first eleven Opens were contested for a red Moroccan belt, which was won outright by Young Tom Morris after he successfully won three consecutive titles between 1868 and 1870. There was no Open Championship in 1871 because there was no trophy to play for until the Claret Jug was purchased for £30 and offered for annual competition in 1872. Ironically Young Tom Morris was the first winner of the Claret Jug. Six more holes were added to Prestwick’s original 12-hole layout in 1883.

The course is a traditional monument, an authentic affair with a layout of holes that snake to and fro through rugged dunes and rippled fairways. There are numerous blind holes and cavernous sleepered bunkers with wooden steps to take you down to the bottom. The greens are notoriously firm and fast – some are hidden in hollows whilst others are perched on raised plateaux. The majority are quite small and all of them have wicked borrows to negotiate.

One of Prestwick’s great strengths is the quality and variety of the holes. The 1st is one of the most intimidating holes in golf, a par four called “Railway”. The railway tracks run all the way down the right-hand side of the hole, waiting to gobble up a right-hander’s slice. The 3rd is a short par five (stroke index 1) called “Cardinal” and is famous for its deep, deep bunker, propped up by railway sleepers. The 5th is a blind par three called “Himalayas” – your tee shot must carry over a huge sand dune.

Perhaps Prestwick's most famous hole, which C.B. Macdonald replicated at the National Golf Links of America, is the 17th, Alps, which Darwin described as; "The most spectacular blind hole in all the world."

There are so many great things to say about Prestwick. The best thing to do is to play the course and judge it for yourself. Every student of golf course architecture simply has to tick this one off their list.

Bernard Darwin brought Prestwick to a close much better than we ever could in his book, The Golf Courses of the British Isles: “So ends Prestwick, and what a jolly course it is, to be sure!”

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Reviews for Prestwick

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Description: 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. Rating: 8.7 out of 10 Reviews: 48
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Jim Brady
Played Prestwick on July 11 and July 13 with my son Scott. On this trip also played Kilspindie, North Berwick (West Links), Carnoustie(Championship), Turnberry (Aisla), and Musselburgh Links (Old) . All the courses we played were great golfing experiences. Prestwick stood out as the best golfing experience of them all for several reasons.

Being the "Birthplace of The Open Championship" certainly helped. Especially when The Open this year is in nearby Muirfield. We went to a practice round at Muirfield during our visit. Muirfield is certainly similar to Prestwick in that it rewards very well thought out shots and penalizes those that are not. Prestwick certainly tests shot making skills and has for a very long time.

Everyone we met at the course and clubhouse were great and the clubhouse oozes with history. Could picture the battles between Old and Young Tom in the early days of Prestwick as well as between the greatest golfers of the day in the Open Championship. Eating in the informal Cardinal Room after the round was a special experience. The members were also very welcoming and took a true interest in ensuring we enjoyed our stay.

The starter was great and gave us several tips on playing the course and ensured we could find our way around the course. The experience in the pro shop was also exceptional . Certainly everything about Prestwick makes me want to visit again for the challenge and experience.

The overall condition of the course was the best of all we played. The fairways were firm and in perfect condition. The greens and tees were also in pristine condition and the bunkers were numerous and could be very penal. The rough outside the first cut was very difficult and hitting the fairways with the correct distances was definitely essential.

All the holes are individually great golfing experiences and each standout on their own. The blind tee shot on the par 3 fifth (Himalayas) was great and I could envision players trying to hit over the hill in the early days. The blind 2nd shot on the par 4 17th (Alps) with the Sahara Bunker lurking short of the green was certainly a unique challenge. The (Railway) first is a great little hole that shows accuracy and precision are essential and does not need to be long to be a great. The finishing (Clock) 18th is a short hole where eagles are possible but over the green is OB and the rough on an errant shot is very difficult especially if a birdie is needed. The short par 4 15th (Narrows) lives up to its name on the tee shot with the green sloping away from you on the 2nd shot. The broadly sloping green on the par 4 13th (Sea Heading) was a pleasure to putt on.

I could go on and on about every hole but would highly recommend Prestwick for any golfer that enjoys a challenge and unique experience at the "Birthplace of The Open Championship". Click here to see a You Tube slideshow of some pictures I took during my visit. Jim Brady
July 21, 2013
10 / 10
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steve chard
Played Royal Prestwick this morning and I was so impressed. The history, the course, the staff and my caddy were second to none.The course had everything I wanted. Long par 4’s, short par 4’s, character, quirky holes, tough tee shots, great greens and a caddy who was not only extremely knowledgeable, but a bloody good laugh (Thank you Kevin).If your going to play Ayrshire, this is one of the 3 you have to play
July 09, 2013
10 / 10
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Kevin Henley
Visisted Prestwick last week - the whole experience was wonderful - a REAL treat. From the "man in a green blazer" in the entrance lobby, the pro shop staff, the bar staff (Mary - try one of those "shots" - I bought a bottle !!!) they were ALL brilliant and nost welcoming - the members too even made an effort to welcome us and to speak with us, all obviously proud of their course and Club.......and then of course to the important bit, the course..... a brilliant track, with a back nine that is NOT long but is quite quirky and I cannot wait to go back. Great views of Arran and course is great condition especially considering it was early April... as I gave already said, I cannot wait to go back there and I urge everyone to make the trip for the history and to experience one of the best Clubs I have ever visited.
April 07, 2013
10 / 10
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Marty Brown
Anyone serious about golf and its heritage must make a pilgrimage to Prestwick. I had been warned about the 1st tee shot but nothing quite prepares you. The more you look at the railway line and the oncoming trains from Glasgow the more you end up choking down on what club to hit. You can go from a 3 wood to a hybrid to a 4 iron or even less. You just pray not to hit it right. Keeping your ball in play and hitting the green doesn’t guarantee you a par or two putt. The undulating 1st green gives you a taste of what’s to come later in the round certainly amongst the original greens. The famous 3rd with the Cardinal Bunker is a gem. Hitting the fairway off the tee is the easy bit. Finding the right line for your 2nd shot is now your goal. The hollows running towards the green is like an elephants burial ground. It is said any upcoming course designer must visit Prestwick in order to further educate themselves and I couldn’t agree more. Prestwick does have many “normal” strong holes with many over 430 or more yards but it the original greens and holes which set this place apart. The greens on 13 & 16 are awesome and the classic holes like 1, 3, and the 5th the original Himalayas are a must to play once in your golfing life. We changed into jacket and tie to fully enjoy the Prestwick experience enjoying a gin & tonic in the member smoke room. For me the overall experience of the course and clubhouse is the reason I would return here before many of the other bigger championship courses in Ayrshire. Respect and embrace these institutions to you’ll have a great day out. Marty B
August 14, 2012
10 / 10
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matt taylor
There is no way that Prestwick should be ranked this low. This course has pedigree and all the hallmarks of a top-quality links: abundant history, pure greens, tight fairways, huge dunes and deep wide ranging bunkers. There are a number of stand-out holes - not least the first and 17th - where adrenalin pumps through your veins, and there is no let up if the wind blows - even on the shorter holes - due to the humps and slopes on the greens.We were fortunate enough to play this in calm/ dry conditions, but stray from the fairway and the knee-length rough takes no prisoners.Out of all the Open courses Prestwick is a course to be enjoyed and relished. It is not as strategically challenging as say Birkdale or as brutal as Sandwich, but it is a pure delight to play. Along with Royal County Down and Royal Dornoch, this is one of three courses that I have earmarked to play again, it is that good.
July 26, 2012
10 / 10
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B.G. Donaldson
We played Prestwick on a glorious September day, sunny, clear and mild.The course was in excellent condition, and our caddies were very good - a necessity, I think, if you haven't played the course before. Add to that the friendly greeting and the history of Prestwick, the replicas of the original championship belt and claret jug and you have a wonderful day of golf.
September 14, 2011
10 / 10
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Max Monroe
Home of History, quirkiness, and the title of A Must Play. Great design features that you wont see anywhere else. The club has done a good job in keeping the history of the game alive. If you go for broke here you will pay for your misses! You have to hit all of the shots to play well, and like any Links you need a little luck, mainly for the completely blind par 3 on the outward nine. Even though the course lacks length the challenge is stiff. Be sure to take in the clubhouse it is historically special.
July 23, 2011
10 / 10
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Tom Moore
Played in mid-June. Prestwick is not the prettiest course in Scotland nor the one in best condition. However, it must be played. The sense of history is breath-taking and I was treated like a member of a very small, friendly club. The caddy (Andy) was the best of the 15 I had on my trip. The conditioning is good--not nearly as good as neighboring Troon. Prestwick feels like a museum disgused as a golf course. Highly recommended for a good and interesting golf round and a fabulous golf experience.
July 12, 2010
10 / 10
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Patrick McGarey
I played Prestwick as the last of seven rounds in October 2009, and it was well worth saving for last. I lucked into a clear, calm somewhat cool morning, and had the course to myself at 8:30 a.m., due to a charity event with a scramble start beginning at noon the same day. The Secretary's suggestion that I hire a caddy (the very helpful and friendly Andrew) was a very good one, as some shots are blind, with real trouble lurking. The classic quirky holes (e.g. #1 Railroad, #3 Cardinal, Himalayas, Alps) completely lived up to their reputation, but I'd be hard-pressed to name a particularly weak hole, aside from the oft-noted short #18. Though catering was suspended due to the afternoon event, I had a quick beer in the history-soaked clubhouse, full of photos and trophies dating from the Old Tom/Young Tom days of the Open to the era of Tiger, Diana and Sandy Lyle. Do yourself a favor and play this course, which I believe is more reasonably-priced (and perhaps more welcoming???) than, for example, Troon or Muirfield (duh...).
October 18, 2009
10 / 10
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Max Monroe
I played here is the Fall of 1998. The course was in good condition, the wind was up and the temp was cool. Even though the year was 1998 it felt more like the 1860's when the game began to take off with the start of the British Open. Prestwick bleeds tradition, class, and historical importance everywhere you step. The club house in 1998 appeared as though it hadn't changed a bit during the past 140 years. The course itself is a design masterpiece. Though very short by todays standards it can be punishing if you don't play to plan. You are presented with many blind shots amongst the sand dunes, deep bunkers everywhere and strategy (which barely exists in todays game) is very important at Prestwick. The course maybe short but a great deal of fun and a true way to experience golf as it was once played. This course is much more important than just hosting the first many Opens, I believe Prestwick is one of the most important architectural designs in existence today. Current course designers should take a look at courses like Prestwick because these designs have stood the test of time. I know the distance isn't there for the "bombers" but the quality of shots / holes / & strategy are and in fact they are as strong and prevalent as ever. If Scotland is in your golfing plans Prestwick had better be too. Make sure you take a caddie for and give yourself ample time to take in the club house. Cheers!
February 14, 2009
10 / 10
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