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.