Prestwick Golf Club
Designer: Old Tom Morris / James Braid
Length: 6,544 yards
In 1851, the newly formed club at Prestwick lured Old Tom Morris from his post at St. Andrews to become the golf professional and greenkeeper. His first task was to lay out a 12-hole course (18 holes had yet to become the standard) and it was here in 1860 the The Open Championship was born, won by Musselburgh’s Willie Park Sr. The championship would be played at Prestwick for the following 12 years before St. Andrews and Musselburgh began to take their turn. In total, Prestwick hosted The Open 24 times.
Typical of many of golf’s initial designs, Prestwick does not follow current conventions. This is evident as early as the first hole, a shortish par 4 played tight to a railway on the right and tightened in the driving area by a massive dune on the left. The par 3 fifth, Himalayas, plays over a 25 foot dune to a green flanked by 6 bunkers, and the par 4 seventeenth, Alps, features another dune to carry short of the green and a massive bunker called Sahara just short of the green; a truly original and heroic hole.
Even if one is not inclined to appreciate the historical significance of Prestwick, it is easily one of the most fun courses to play anywhere in the world and not to be missed.