Interactive Timeline

  • 1851 - 1860
  • 1861 - 1863
  • 1864 - 1865
  • 1866 -1867
  • 1868 - 1869
  • 1870 - 1873
  • 1875 - 1878
  • 1881 - 1882
  • 1884 - 1887
  • 1888 - 1890
  • 1891 - 1898
  • 1899 - 1900
  • 1901 - 1903
  • 1908 - 1920
  • 1921 - 1930
  • 1931 - 1940
  • 1952
  • 1956 - 1958
  • 1978 - 1979
  • 1985
  • 2001 - 2004
  • 2010
  • 2013
  • 2014
  • 2017
  • 2022
  • 1851 – 1860


    Prestwick Golf Club is founded on 2nd July at a meeting of 57 gentlemen in the Red Lion Inn with the 13th Earl of Eglinton elected as its first Captain. Tom Morris is recruited by James Ogilvy Fairlie to be Keeper of the Green, Ball and Clubmaker. He serves Prestwick until 1864 when he returns to his native St. Andrews.


    Prestwick organises and hosts a competition for Professional golfers on 17th October. So began golf’s most famous event, the Open Championship, with its original prize of a Challenge Belt being won by Willie Park with a score of 174 for three rounds of 12-holes.

  • 1861 – 1863


    The evening before the 1861 event the Committee agrees the event should be open to all the world. Amateurs are admitted into the event, making it truly open. Tom Morris wins with a score of 163 with Willie Park runner-up 4 strokes behind.


    Tom Morris defends his title with a score of 163 – 13 strokes ahead of Willie Park who, once again, is runner-up.


    Prize money was introduced for the first time – £5 for the runner up, £3 for third place, and £2 for fourth (but no prize money to the winning professional!). Thirteen professionals competed. Once again it was a Morris/Park duel, with Park triumphing this time from his rival. His score was 168.

  • 1864 – 1865


    Tom Morris leaves Prestwick to return to St Andrews. His place as Keeper of the Green is taken by Charlie Hunter.


    This year there was a cash prize of £6 for the winner, in addition to the honour of holding the Challenge Belt. Tom Morris scored his third victory to become the first winner to receive a cash prize. Morris scored 167, to win by two strokes from Andrew Strath, with Park in fourth place.


    Official scorecards were used in the Open for the first time, and the Park/Morris monopoly was broken. Andrew Strath of St Andrews, who was to die three years later, aged 32, scored 162, beating Morris’ record aggregate by one stroke and finished two strokes in front of Park. Tom Morris Jnr played his first Championship aged 14 but withdrew from the third round having scored 60 and 57. His father scored 57 and 61 over the same two rounds.

  • 1866 -1867


    Willie Park wins his third Open and equals Tom Morris’ achievement of three victories with a score of 169. Another Park from Musselburgh, David, took second place, two strokes behind – the first time that first and second place had been taken by players from the same course.


    Tom Morris, now returned to his hometown of St Andrews, won for the fourth and last time. Once again, Park took second place, two strokes behind Morris’ total of 170, with the only other ex-champion in the field, Andrew Strath, third. This ended the Tom Morris/Willie Park period. Aged 46 Old Tom remains the oldest Open Championship winner.

  • 1868 – 1869


    A clubhouse is built at a cost of £758 in Links Road beside the course. Harry Hart is appointed Secretary of the Club, a post he holds until retiring in 1903. Charlie Hunter returns to the Club as Custodian of the Green, serving the Club for the next 53 years until his death in 1921.

    The first victory of Tom Morris Jnr at the age of 17 with a score of 154 – three strokes ahead of his father. Young Tom remains the youngest ever winner of a major golfing championship.


    Tom Morris Jnr defends his title with a score of 157 – eleven strokes better than the runner up, Bob Kirk, with 168. He began with a first round of 51, including the first Championship hole in one at the 8th, the Station hole. In the third round he established a new record of 49 for the course. He returned a new record low aggregate of 154, the previous best being 162 by Andrew Strath in 1865. His father finished runner up three strokes behind.

  • 1870 – 1873


    Young Tom Morris wins his third consecutive Open and becomes the permanent holder of the Challenge Belt. He began his first round with a 3 at the 578 yards first hole, and completed his round in 47 (one under 4s) – a new record. He then added two rounds of 51 for yet another record aggregate of 149, and won by a margin of 12 strokes.


    No Open is held in 1871 but in 1872 Prestwick is joined by the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews and the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers in hosting the Open and sharing the cost of a new Golf Champion Trophy, a silver claret jug, which is again won by Young Tom Morris with a score of 166. His good friend, David Strath of St Andrews, is runner-up on 169. Unfortunately, the trophy is not ready to present to the winner who receives a gold medal instead.


    The Open is played at St Andrews – the first time it has been held away from the Prestwick links. It is won by Tom Kidd who was the first player to be presented with the Claret Jug – his was not the first name on it however. That honour went to Young Tom Morris who had won the previous year although was the trophy was not completed in time for that event.

  • 1875 – 1878


    This was the fourth and last victory for Willie Park, 15 years after his first in the inaugural championship. His aggregate was 166 and he won by two strokes from Bob Martin of St Andrews, who was to win the following year, and by five strokes from his younger brother Mungo, who was the defending champion.


    This was the second of three wins in a row by Jamie Anderson of St Andrews. He gained his victory with a spectacular finish. Believing he needed 4-4-3-5 to win, he finished 3-4-1-5, holing a full iron shot at the 9th, an across-the-green putt at the 10th, and his tee shot at the 11th, yet only won by two strokes.

  • 1881 – 1882


    Bob Ferguson, a one-time Caddie from Musselburgh scored the second of three victories in a row, winning by three strokes with an aggregate of 170. The high score and the low entry of only 8 players was entirely due to the weather, as the Championship was played on the day of the Great Storm, which caused the lives of 180 fishermen round the coasts of Scotland. Ferguson, incidentally, came close to equalling the four-in-a-row record of Tom Morris Jnr, losing the 1883 play-off by one stroke to Willie Fernie when he finished with a 4 to Fernie’s 2.


    The 12-hole course is extended to 18 holes, retaining six of the greens and three holes from the original course. Two years later, Jack Simpson wins the first Open to be played on this longer course.

  • 1884 – 1887


    For the first time a player from Carnoustie, Jack Simpson, an exceptionally long hitter, won the championship to end the monopoly enjoyed by players from Prestwick, St Andrews and Musselburgh. With a total of 160 he won by four strokes from the holder, Willie Fernie. This was the first Open played at Prestwick over the 18 hole course.


    Willie Park Jnr of Musselburgh follows in his father’s footsteps by winning an Open at Prestwick. His score was 161.

  • 1888 – 1890


    Prestwick hosts its first Amateur Championship, one of eleven to be held at the Club. The first winner is John Ball Jnr who defeated J E Laidlay by 5&4 in the final.


    This championship was the last to be played at Prestwick over 36 holes. It was also the occasion of the first victory by an amateur and also the first victory by an Englishman, John Ball Jnr of the Royal Liverpool Golf Club. Ball took the title with a score of 164 strokes, four months after winning the Amateur Championship for the second (out of eight) times.

  • 1891 – 1898


    The Amateur Championship is again held at Prestwick and is won by P C Anderson of St Andrews who is a 2 hole winner against the luckless J E Laidlay.

    This championship, the second to be played over 72 holes, was the one in which Harry Vardon and J H Taylor made their debut. It was won by Willie Auchterlonie, a St Andrews clubmaker, the last home-based Scot to take the title (until Paul Lawrie in 1999). Following several days of assiduous practice, Auchterlonie won by two strokes from amateur J E Laidlay, with a score of 322.


    A close fought contest between Willie Park Jnr, winner in 1887 and 1889, and Harry Vardon of Ganton, winner in 1896, was decided at the final hole when Park, with the reputation of being “dead” from six feet, missed from three feet for a tie after Vardon had got down with a difficult pitch and a putt of eight feet for his par. This was Vardon’s second Open win and the first of three that he achieved at Prestwick. New conditions were introduced to exclude all players who were 20 strokes or more behind the leader after two rounds, an exception being made, if the case arose, to allow a minimum of 32 professionals to compete in the final two rounds.

  • 1899 – 1900


    John Ball Jnr again wins the Amateur Championship defeating Freddie Tait at the 37th hole. The match was notable for the shots played by the players from a flooded Sahara bunker at the 17th hole. Tait had won the championship in 1896 and 1898 – he lost his life the following year during the Second Boer War.

  • 1901 – 1903


    Prestwick hosts the first International professional golf match, played between Scotland and England.

    Vardon competed in The Open against his doctor’s advice – it was 72 holes in two days – and, despite being overtaken by fatigue and exhaustion over the final nine holes, he won by six strokes from his brother, Tom, with a record low aggregate (by five strokes) of 300. Within months of this fourth success he was a patient in a sanitorium.

  • 1908 – 1920


    James Braid achieved the fourth of his five victories with a magnificent display of golf. His total 291 beat the previous best-winning aggregate by five strokes, and he won by eight strokes from Tom Ball, with rounds of 70, 72, 77 (including an 8 at the Cardinal) and 72. Vardon and J H Taylor never challenged.


    In this championship, it became Taylor versus Vardon (both five-time champions), with Taylor leading by two strokes after 56 holes. Then a clicking camera upset Taylor at the third hole of the final round and, on his own admission, his nerve went. He played from a bunker to the Pow Burn at the fourth, took four putts at the 5th, and so Vardon won for the sixth time.

  • 1921 – 1930


    Prestwick’s last Open championship. MacDonald Smith, a Scot from America, led by five strokes after 54 holes. But 15,000 jostling spectators, eager for a Scottish victory, caused Smith’s temperament to crumble. Needing 78 to win, he took 82 to finish fourth, leaving Jim Barnes, a Cornishman from the US the winner.

  • 1931 – 1940


    W Lawson Little Jnr of the US won the Amateur Championship by a margin of 14 &13 against James Wallace of Troon Portland. Little completed the morning round in 66 strokes to stand 12 up. After lunch, he started 3-3-4-3-3 to run out the winner. For the 23 holes played he was ten under fours.


    J M (Morty) Dykes represents Great Britain and Ireland in the Walker Cup match against the USA. Twenty-three years later, another Prestwick member (and likewise Scottish Amateur Champion), W D (Dick) Smith is also chosen for the Walker Cup and plays Jack Nicklaus in his singles match.

  • 1952


    Harvie Ward of the US defeated Frank Stranahan, also of the US by 6 & 5 in the final of the Amateur Championship.

  • 1956 – 1958


    The Club host the Dunlop Masters Tournament which is won by Irishman, Christy O’Connor, with a score of 277.


    The Penfold-Swallow Tournament sees a tie between Harry Weetman and Harry Bradshaw on 289. Weetman wins the 18 hole play-off.

  • 1978 – 1979


    Prestwick hosts the Scottish Ladies Amateur Championship which is won by Belle Robertson of Dunaverty. The event returned to Prestwick in 2004 & 2014.


    Keith Macintosh of Cardross won the Scottish Amateur Championship at Prestwick by defeating Paul McKellar of East Refrewshire by 5&4. Macintosh went on to Captain the R&A in 2017 and Prestwick Golf Club in 2018.

  • 1985


    Prestwick Golf Club commission a replica Championship Belt to present to the winner of the 125th anniversary Open played at Royal St Georges. The winner is Sandy Lyle of Scotland with a score of 282 strokes.

  • 2001 – 2004


    A major refurbishment and extension of the clubhouse is opened in the year the Club celebrated its Sesquicentennial.


    Anne Laing of Vale of Leven Golf Club wins the Centenary Scottish Ladies Amateur Championship defeating Clare Queen of Drumpellier by 2 holes in the final.

  • 2010


    Five Open Champions attend Prestwick’s 150th-anniversary celebrations of the inaugural Open. The R&A honours Prestwick’s contribution to golf by gifting a replica Claret Jug engraved with the names of Open winners from 1872 to 1925. Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen is presented with a replica of the Championship Belt by Club Captain, Brian Morrison.

  • 2013


    The British Ladies’ Open Amateur Strokeplay Championship is held at Prestwick for the first time and was won by 17-year-old Jing Yan of China with a 14-under-par score of 292. The runner-up was Gemma Dryburgh of Scotland – both players are now enjoying success on the LPGA tour.

  • 2014


    The 100th Scottish Ladies Amateur Championship was won by Gabrielle Macdonald of Craigielaw Golf Club who defeated Connie Jaffray of the Ladies Club, Troon at the 19th hole.

    The Boys’ Amateur Championship was won by Oskar Bergqvist of Sweden who beat Ireland’s Rowan Lester by one hole in the 36-hole final.

  • 2017


    The Scottish Amateur Championship is won by Sam Locke of Banchory who is a 9&8 winner against Ryan Lumsden in the final.

  • 2022


    Cameron Smith, the winner of the 150th Open is presented with a replica belt by Club Captain, Peter Graham.

    The Club celebrates the 150th playing of the Open Championship by recreating Tom Morris’ original 12 hole course

The Open Spectators

Our History

The history of Prestwick Golf Club stretches back over 160 years to a time when golf was in its infancy. In 1851, a group of 57 enthusiastic members, who met regularly at the Red Lion Inn, made the momentous decision to form a golf club purchasing two cottages opposite the tavern.

The first cottage would become the members’ clubhouse whilst the other was gifted to the Club’s Keeper of the Green, ball and clubmaker – Old Tom Morris. Together with a gold medal presented by the Club’s first captain (the Earl of Eglinton) for an annual competition still played for today, the legend of Prestwick was born.

Old Tom had uprooted his wife Agnes and young son Tommy from St Andrews to lay out the 12-hole course over the links. His unique design proved popular, and the Club enjoyed a meteoric rise hosting the first Open Championship within 10 years of its formation. The last and 24th Open Championship at Prestwick was held 65 years later in 1925.

In 1864, Old Tom returned to St Andrews. His house was auctioned with the proceeds used to part fund the construction of a new clubhouse on the present site in 1868. It cost £758.

The clubhouse was extended in 1877 and 90 lockers, which are still in use today, were added in 1882. A major redevelopment was completed in 1999 consolidating the clubhouse’s prominent position overlooking the first tee and 18th green.

With its unrivalled history, charismatic course and warm welcome, there are few places like it in the world of golf.

The Open Prestwick


Prestwick presided over the first 12 Open Championships, which was then held jointly with The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews and The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers.


The Morris Family at Prestwick Golf Club

The Morris family name will be forever linked with the history and evolution of the game of golf. It has also played a huge part in establishing Prestwick as one of the world’s most iconic golfing venues and a must-play course.

It all began in St Andrews where Tom Morris was born and where he undertook an apprenticeship with Allan Robertson who educated him in golf ball design and construction. By the time he was 30, Old Tom had a flourishing reputation and was appointed Prestwick Golf Club’s first Keeper of the Green, Ball and Club Maker at the request of Major James Ogilvy Fairlie of Coodham.

His son Tommy was just two months old when in 1851 the family moved from St Andrews to Prestwick and the cottage bought for them by the Club. Old Tom laid out a 12-hole course for the newly formed Club and also represented Prestwick in Challenge Matches either individually or in partnership, often with his mentor Major Fairlie.

Although Old Tom’s on-course work created an epic links layout (six of the original greens are still used today), the Morrises are probably best remembered for their triumphs in competition.

Father and son won the Open Championship four times each, dominating the event from 1867 to 1872. In 1870, Tommy was presented with the Championship Belt for three consecutive wins and then won the event in 1872 when the Claret Jug was first introduced.

Tommy played in his first Open at the age of 14 and holds the record as the youngest winner, aged 17, while Tom has the distinction of being the oldest at 46. There is little doubt that Tommy was the best golfer but the tragic death of his wife had a massive effect on him. He survived her by only a few months and died on 25th December 1875.

Although Tom and his family returned to St Andrews in 1864, they visited Prestwick regularly to take part in Open Championships and visit their close friends; the Hunter family. Tom’s daughter Lizzie, who was born in the town, married James Hunter in 1875. Charlie Hunter, a cousin of James, succeeded Tom as Prestwick’s Keeper of Green in 1864 and, after a short spell at Blackheath, served Prestwick from 1868 to 1921.

Tom Morris Reid

Tom Morris – by kind permission of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.


Club Professionals

Since 1851, the Club has only had 8 professionals.