Prestwick Golf Course Review

18 holes, 71 par, 6668 yards. Links.

Prestwick Golf Club was the first course to stage The Open Championship, and it did so 25 times. It is a par 71, measuring 6,908 yards and, boy, has it stood the test of time. The club was established in 1851 and the first pro was Old Tom Morris. It hosted the first Open 10 years after its formation and staged it for the final time in 1925.

From the championship tees, the third is 533 yards long with out of bounds and a stream running down the right side, as well as the vast Cardinal Bunker lying in wait some 230 yards from the tee. Avoid that and go as far right as you dare; it then shortens the hole and brings the green into reach in two shots. Good birdie chance.  

The ninth is a wonderful par four, measuring 462 yards. Three bunkers lie in wait on the left, with a further trap on the right and plenty of gorse. The green is protected by no fewer than six bunkers and slopes from left to right.  

The 12th is another great par five, running to 540 yards. The fairway slopes from right to left, and guess what? There is a row of five bunkers - all on the left side of said fairway. Keep out of those and the approach is played to a sloping green with five further bunkers.

The 17th hole is 394 yards long and hasn't changed since 1851 - it is the oldest hole in championship golf. It’s called Alps and you’ll soon realise why; as you navigate the humps and hollows on the fairway. The fairway is narrow and the second shot is blind - fall short and you will find yourself in something called the Sahara bunker, which contains a LOT of sand.

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Derek Clements

Author, Derek Clements

Derek Clements is a golf journalist - he has covered many Open Championships and European Tour events, as well as The Masters. Born in Glasgow, he writes for The Sunday Times and Golfshake, and has also written for Today's Golfer, the Daily Mail, Swing by Swing and many other golf websites, magazines and newspapers. He has played golf all over the world and numbers Gleneagles, Kingsbarns and Aldeburgh as his three favourite golf courses in the United Kingdom. He lives in Suffolk, is a member of Waldringfield Golf Club and has a handicap of nine. He had lessons from the late Bob Torrance and has worked with Jean-Jacques Rivet, one of the world's leading golf biomechanists.