Prestwick to reinstate original 12-hole Open course for two weeks

Prestwick to reinstate original 12-hole Open course for two weeks
Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson

Scotland’s Prestwick Golf Club is to mark the 150th Open Championship by recreating the original 12-hole course that hosted the first edition of the event in 1860.

The layout, which will be playable for two weeks in October 2022, is being restored with the help of historical records and detailed maps. The club has reinstated five greens and created teeing areas to replicate the routing originally designed by Old Tom Morris. The club has tempered some areas of long grass to facilitate play and commissioned wicker flag poles like those originally used when it first opened in 1851.

The club says the layout offers blind tee shots, double greens, crossing fairways and undulations that combine to create a course “quite unlike anything that would be permitted today”.

“The club is extremely proud of its association with the Open,” said Ken Goodwin, secretary of Prestwick Golf Club. “This is where the magic of the Open began one fateful October day in 1860. There had to be a first, and it happened here at Prestwick. To commemorate this historic milestone, it was decided the club should bring back the original routing for a limited time.”

Prestwick has hosted the tournament 24 times and has previously reinstated the inaugural Open course for special occasions, but the 2022 restoration is the most comprehensive and extensive to date.

“Part of the Prestwick experience is walking through history,” said Goodwin. “In the past, the club has endeavoured to bring back the original on only a handful of occasions. This year, however, to mark the 150th, the club was fortunate to have the necessary equipment required to deliver the 12-hole course to a much higher degree of accuracy than ever before. Together with the wicker basket flags, this has been the most thorough revisit and certainly the most eagerly anticipated.”

Golf course photographer Mark Alexander has been commissioned to create a gallery of images showcasing the historic course.

“I have photographed Prestwick before, but this was completely different,” noted Alexander. “Although I was working on the same stretch of Ayrshire coastline in that amazing west coast light, it might as well have been an entirely new course. For instance, working out the green positions and the direction from which each would be played was tricky, but it also opened up new angles that just aren’t relevant on the current layout. It was exhilarating and demanding all at the same time.”