Prestwick Golf Club was founded in 1851 by a group of 57 members who met at the Red Lion Inn, Prestwick. Its first Captain was The Earl of Eglinton, who presented a gold medal for annual competition; the Eglinton gold medal is still played for to this day. Colonel Fairlie of Coodham brought Tom Morris (left) with his wife Agnes and son young Tommy to Prestwick from St. Andrews, to be the Keeper of the Green, Ball and Club Maker.
The members purchased two cottages opposite the Red Lion Inn- One for Tom, and the other as a clubhouse; both buildings are still standing intact today albeit reconstructed. Tom returned to St Andrews in 1864 and his house was auctioned in 1866 for £170. This allowed the club to build a new Clubhouse on the present site for a cost of £758 in 1868. In 1877, extensions were carried out at a cost of £700 and in 1882, 90 lockers, which are still in use, were installed at a cost of £350. A major re-development was completed in 1999.
Prestwick staged the first Open Championship in 1860. It was organised by the members who subscribed £25 to purchase a red morocco leather belt with silver clasps, which was won by Willie Park of Musselburgh with a score of 174 over 36 holes.
Read more about The Open Championship per separate section on Championships.
Prestwick Golf Club commemorated the 150th anniversary of the Open Championship by commissioning a remake of the prize presented to Willie Park in 1860: a red Moroccan leather belt with an ornamental silver buckle.
Captain Brian Morrison handed over the replica belt to Open winner Louis Oosthuizen at the official prize-giving event at St Andrews in 2010.
Apart from the 1860 Challenge Belt, the creation of the 2010 belt marks only the second time the original design has been copied.
The first was in 1985 to mark the 125th anniversary of the first Open Championship held at Prestwick. Captain Donald MacLellan presented this belt to Sandy Lyle, the winner at Royal St George’s. A replica is on display in the Prestwick clubhouse along with a duplicate of the 2010 replica.
The 2010 champion can also be sure of having a perfect match with the original because the club proudly retains a copy of the intricate design instructions issued to the silversmiths of the 1860 belt which cost £25.
This original Belt was presented outright to Young Tom Morris on the occasion of his third win in 1870 and was gifted by the Morris family to the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews in 1908.
In the run-up to the Open Championship of 2010, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews itself commissioned a fitting replica to recognise Prestwick’s contribution to the game of golf, the treasured item being the iconic Claret Jug.
Its Captain Colin Brown, (himself a former Captain of Prestwick Golf Club), presented Brian Morrison with the distinctive piece of silverware which is doubly special.
The trophy is etched with the names of the winners of the world’s oldest professional golf tournament from 1872 (when the new prize was introduced) to 1925, being the last occasion (and 24th in all) when the Open was staged over the links at Prestwick.
The presentation took place at a dinner hosted by Prestwick Golf Club to celebrate the Open’s 150th anniversary. Among the guests were five former Open Champions: Peter Thomson, Bob Charles, Lee Trevino, Tony Jacklin and Sandy Lyle.
The Amateur Championship has been held at Prestwick on eleven occasions from 1888 to 2001, when Michael Hoey was the Champion.
Read more about The Amateur Championship per separate section on Championships.
A stone cairn to the west of the Clubhouse, marks the first tee of the original 12 hole course, on which the first Open was played. The 1st hole measured 578 yards to what is now the 16th green, where in 1870 Tom Morris Jr holed out in three strokes using hickory shafts and a gutty golf ball. Six of the original greens are still played on today.
The Cardinal Bunker is named after "The Cardinal's Nob (or nose) 'in memory of' a monk of Crossraguel Abbey (now a ruin near Turnberry) who played a match to settle a deadly feud against a Lord of Culzean - the wager, his nose. Willie Campbell's grave is a bunker on the current 16th hole where Willie, leading in the Open of 1887, took four shots to escape, and in doing so, lost the Championship to Willie Park Jr.
The Elysian Fields comprise the fairway to the east of the Pow burn and to the north of the Dow burn. The Zareba is the hollow near the Cardinal bunker under the shoulder of the 16th green. The Hartz Mountains constitute the rolling 13th fairway, named after Harry Hart the Secretary, who was so short he would periodically appear 'invisible' on the 13th.
When Tom Morris Snr left the Club for St. Andrews in 1864, Charlie Hunter (right) then took his place, but left soon after for Blackheath in 1865. On his departure, Andrew Strath of St Andrews took the post of Keeper of the Links in 1865, the same year he won the Challenge Belt. Strath died tragically in 1868 of tuberculosis at the age of 32. Charlie Hunter then returned from Blackheath to become Custodian of the Links. Hunter, competed in, or was the official starter at every Open Championship at Prestwick until his death in 1921 with 53 continious years service to the Club. A portrait of Hunter hangs in the Dining room.
James McDowall then became the club professional for a term of 6 years resigning in 1927 when Robert McInnes was appointed. McInnes became an Honorary Member in 1957 and died in 1962. Frank Rennie (left) was appointed in 1962 and remained in post for 42 years until he retired in 2004. Frank was made an Honorary Life Member in 1988.
David Fleming (right) succeeded Frank and was appointed Professional in October 2004. David trained at Turnberry and became Head Professional. He then became Director of Golf at Carton House, Dublin prior to his appointment at Prestwick.