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 (26) 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: 8.8 out of 10 Reviews: 45
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papa rabbi
What a wonderful golf course. I was lucky enough to play Prestwick with my society last weekend and we had a superb time. The clubhouse was wonderful and the members and the staff made us enormously welcome...the starter even let 3 of us go out for 5 holes (for free) on the morning before we started. The course is a tremendous experience. A great links track with all the surprises one should hope for. I'd play here for the rest of my life given the chance...play more than once for best results.
October 26, 2007
8 / 10
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faisal
The professionals might gobble this course up for the length but it is still a great course for leisure golfers. The first and third holes are up to the hype and the experience of playing a course that hasn't changed in over 150 years is itself worth it. Agree with some comments that the green fees have been pushed up too much, probably due to tourist like ourselves.
September 27, 2007
10 / 10
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Bill Vostniak
Seeing the comments about the cost just show what happens when belt-notchers get out there and just notch away. They play courses they just don't understand and honestly those ahem, "gentlemen" need to stick to the Loch Lomond's and Old Head's of the world and just skip Prestwick, HCEG and The Old course.The cream would be there for the cats that know how to lick it up. Himalyas and Cardinal alone are worth the price of admission at Prestwick. Stay away from this course if you want a Kohler Spa experience please - and whilst spa-ing at the Old Course Hotel, please - just stay off the Old Course while you are at it. Never leave the room!
October 04, 2006
10 / 10
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Lee
September 28, 2007
This does smell of inverse snobbery. Prestwick whilst a good course is NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS A 6 BALL COURSE! It does have a few really good holes a couple of great ones but ultimately falls well short of the very best and that's what a 6 ball course should be. You're obviously entitled to your opinion (one of the great things about this site) but I think the comments are unfair.
Cornwell
May 30, 2010
Having been born and raised on the Ayrshire coast and played links golf up and down both Scottish coasts for 30 years, am I entitled to an opinion Lee? Prestwick is an average course, poor value and a hotbed of elitism.
ptbgolfer
Played the course on a rainy morning with Billy on the bag....the previous reviewer is correct....he's awesome! As you walk up the first hole, you can't help but think of golfing greats and what Old Tom Morris would of hit off the first tee (6 iron for me). The course has barely changed in the last 100 years and you can tell that this is how golf was back in the beginning days of the open. A pure, raw, testing, pensive round of golf. The two blind shots are amazing (5th par 3 over a mountain of gorse, and the approach to 17, 170-200 yards over another huge hummock of grass with the sahara bunker waiting for your underclubbed shot). As far as price goes, it's a much better deal than nearby Royal Troon (210 pounds, you've gotta play both courses). This was the gem on my Scotland tour (includes Troon, Carnoustie, St Andrews New, Dalmahoy and Nairn). If you're close by, spend the morning on the links, afternoon in Culzean Castle and back to town for a little pint with the locals watching football. Whatever you do, don't leave the course before looking around the clubhouse and absorbing the history. Maybe the secretary will take you on a private tour of the truly historic memorabliia hidden in a room off the main entrance. All said, it's a winner and no trip to Scotland is complete with a visit!
September 23, 2006
10 / 10
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Martin Moseling
I was lucky enough to play Prestwick in a match against the Club and so was able to judge the course without having to take into account the cost of a green fee which I always think couours the attitude. As this was my first experience, I took a caddy with me and, in my view, for first timers, this is essential. I loved every aspect of the course, risk and reward shots and even the blind tee shot at the 5th. Our opponents were suitably hospitable permitting us to win by a largish margin. Food was excellent. Top tip ? Get Billy on your bag - he's worth a dozen shots a round!
June 09, 2006
10 / 10
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Lee Abbey
Although this is still a good course it certainly relies on its history rather than its quality in today's golfing terms. ALthough not the clubs fault the popularity of Ryanair and Prestwick airport does mean you are regularly buzzed by jets for which the smell is worse than the noise. The views are also poor but look past that and there is still some good golfing holes especially on the back nine. I certainly wouldn't pay the extravagent green fees to come back here and if you have to leave a course out on a tour here I think it would be this or Dundonald.
April 11, 2006
6 / 10
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Andy Newmarch
Stayed in a lovely b&b near to the course which was handy. Got a round here on a fairly quiet Sunday and had been agonising over the tee shot at the first for a few weeks (railway on the right and gorse on the left) – guess what? Duffed my tee shot 60 yards, ouch! The course was very enjoyable, probably for the experience rather than real course quality though. It is worth a play but maybe just the once – best holes 1st, 3rd (watch for the Cardinal bunker), 14th and 17th. Played to 5 over handicap which was my fault and not due to course difficulty.
April 10, 2006
6 / 10
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Billy
Prestwick is one of those courses that simply must be played. As one of the previous reviewers said, it's interesting. The start is good and the finish is excellent but the holes in middle are fairly average. If the wind is in the wrong direction (as it was when we played) there's a constant smell of aviation fuel from Prestwick airport, which is a bit nauseous. Nevertheless it's a course well worth playing and it's a real golfing step back in time which doesn’t beat you up too badly.
April 08, 2006
6 / 10
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Darren
Interesting. That’s how I would phase Prestwick. I really enjoyed my day here, but in a completely different way to Dundonald and Turnberry. It IS like stepping back in time. The pick of the holes for me was 15; a blind narrow tee shot, and a blind approach to a green that runs away from you. 17 is the most bizarre hole I have ever played, confusing in some ways. You need to come here with a different attitude, and accept the course for what it is, a trip into the history of golf. The greens were fast and true (in March!), the clubhouse very friendly, the course empty (other than our fourball, only two more members ventured the course the whole day). Highly recommended.
March 31, 2006
8 / 10
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Leighton Maurice
I find it hard to believe that I played the same course as some of the other reviews. Course was vastly over priced, if I had paid £60 then I would have put it down to experience but at £120, I'm sorry, but expect something special. Rely entirely on the history, other than the 1st and 3rd which are enjoyable, course is boring and over rated, doesn't rank in my top 100.
January 23, 2006
2 / 10
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