A look at the birthplace of The Open: Prestwick Golf Club in Scotland

PRESTWICK, South Ayshire, Scotland -- While the Old Course at St. Andrews at St. Andrews is the birthplace of golf, the birthplace of The Open is Prestwick Golf Club, which conducted the first championship in 1860. In fact, Old Tom Morris, who designed the course, was the greenkeeper, and Young Tom Morris spent his formative years at Prestwick during those years.

The course has a changed a little since then, but many of the original 12 holes (1851) remain, like par-4 "Alps" 17th hole, considered the oldest hole in championship golf. There's an indicator on the tee for pin positions to a hidden green that's protected by the massive Sahara bunkers. Aiming markers at the top of the hill help players line up their approach shots.

The course expanded to 18 holes in 1882. At 6,908 yards, this par 71 is still an excellent test of golf, though it's no longer in the Open rotation.

The intrigue continues inside the clubhouse, where you can see much of the history of Prestwick and golf, for that matter. Inside are letters and artifacts from the greats of the game, as well as portraits of past captains. On Wednesdays and Friday mornings, visitors can also take in the "Prestwick Experience," which affords the opportunity to play the championship course and enjoy lunch in the Dining Room at a special rate.

Jul 17, 2017

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Mike Bailey

Senior Staff Writer

Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in Houston. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America with an occasional trip to Europe and beyond, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 25 years in the golf industry. Before accepting his current position in 2008, he was on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeBaileyGA and Instagram at @MikeStefanBailey.