Prestwick: Home of The Open
By Anita Draycott
Prestwick’s twelve-hole design by Old Tom Morris in 1851 was birthplace to the Open. It’s now an eighteen-hole track but happily little has changed on the course or inside the clubhouse.
I watched as a gray-haired chap nattily attired in necktie and V-neck sweater struck his ball from the first tee. His black Labrador dutifully waited until the Titleist was in the air and then went bounding off to find it in the gorse. “The dog’s trained to the gun,” explained Stan, the caddy master. The more I play links courses the more I think that a “seeing ball” dog is just what I need.
That first narrow fairway is a bit baffling. The right hand side is bounded by a stone wall separating the course from the railway. A story is told about a lady who sliced her shot, hit the train and her ball bounced back onto the fairway. Leaning out of his cab, the engine driver called out, “If it will be of any help to you, I’ll be here at the same time tomorrow.”
The Alps (number seventeen), unchanged since 1860, requires flying your ball over a mountain of heather to a green guarded by the Sahara bunker. Booking a caddy in advance on this quirky “outdoor museum” is highly recommended.
Gentlemen, if you bring along a shirt and tie, you may join fellow golfers at the communal table in the Dining Room where Baron of Beef highlights the menu. Otherwise, ladies and chaps wishing only to change their shoes can enjoy lighter fare in the Cardinal Room where a red Morocco belt, the original prize for the Open won by Old Tom Morris, is on display.