The Takeaway: The quirks at Prestwick have long prevented it from being included in the modern Open rota with its last hosting being in 1925; the 24th in its history. The course is chuck full of old school links features like blind shots, shared fairways, driveable par fours, cavernous bunkers, and confounding green contours. Love the quirks or hate them, Prestwick will keep your attention from the opening tee to the final putt. Grade B+
Designer: Old Tom Morris in 1851
Phone Number: +44 (0) 1292 477404
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Prestwick Golf Club's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - 2-4 Links Rd, Prestwick, UK
Accolades: Ranked 13th in Scotland by Golf Course Gurus. Original host of the British Open. List of champions; 1860, 1863, 1866, and 1875 (Willie Park Sr.), 1861, 1862, 1864, and 1867 (Tom Morris Sr.), 1865 (Andrew Strath), 1868, 1869, 1870, and 1872 (Tom Morris Jr.), 1878 (Jamie Anderson), 1881 (Bob Ferguson), 1884 (Jack Simpson), 1887 (Willie Park Jr.), 1890 (John Ball), 1893 (William Auchterlonie), 1898, 1903, and 1914 (Harry Vardon), 1908 (James Braid), and 1925 (Jim Barnes).
What to Expect: The original host of the British Open, Prestwick rivals any course in the world in terms of history. After leaving St Andrews, Old Tom Morris came to Prestwick and designed, built, and maintained the course that opened in 1851. The first British Open was then held there nine years later with Old Tom striking the first shot ever in the event and won it the following year for the first of his four Open championships. The quirks at Prestwick are plentiful with blinds shots, wild greens, treacherous bunkers, and a confounding routing. The short opening hole is one of the most unique in golf with players teeing off only a handful of paces from the large glass window of the pro shop and a speed railway framing the right side of the hole with only an old wall separating the rail from the course. Without a driving range to warmup on, hitting driver here is highly discouraged since it brings some bunkering and dunes into play that you want nothing to do with let alone the possibility of slicing one into a train. From there on you face risk/reward opportunities on the reachable par five Cardinal hole, the blind par three 5th hole over the Himalayas dune, and on the driveable par fours featured on the closing stretch. A lot of holes have changed over the years at Prestwick with the only one staying untouched remaining its best; the original Alps hole (#17). The blind approach over the Alps dune and across the massive bunker fronting the green is simply one of the greatest shots in golf. The course sits next to the ocean but views are relatively limited with the best scenery being within the course rather than outside it. In the end, Prestwick has plenty of features that will keep you engaged throughout many, many rounds. While it ranks outside of Scotland top ten courses, the lumps in the fairway, the dunes shaping the landscape, and the contours in the greens will unveil something new every loop around the course.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 17th (Alps) Hole – 394 Yard Par 4
Best Par 3: 5th (Himalayas) Hole – 231 Yards
Best Par 4: 15th (Narrows) Hole – 353 Yards
Best Par 5: 3rd (Cardinal) Hole – 533 Yards
Birdie Time: 18th (Clock) Hole – 288 Yard Par 4
Bogey Beware: 10th (Arran) Hole – 453 Yard Par 4