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Scottish Links Golf

The Basics

Detailed information

AFSD - how to determine
the real length of a golf course

Helpful Websites

Aberdeen &
Grampian Highlands

Royal Aberdeen, Cruden Bay...

Kilmarnock "Barassie"
Glasgow Gailes
Irvine (Bogside)
Royal Troon
Western Gailes

Just east of Edinburgh
Scotland's Golf Coast
Muirfield, Gullane, North Berwick...

Northern Highlands
Royal Dornoch, Brora, Nairn...

St.Andrews area

Other golf courses
Machrihanish, Pitlochry..

Links Lite
Great links golf for everyone


What others way
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Prestwick Golf Club

Historic Prestwick Golf Club - home of the first Open Championship
Awesome bunkers, punishing rough, undulating fairways, fearsome greens, unpredictable weather (this sky is for real). Welcome to links golf in Scotland at the home of the very first Open Championship.

Prestick is Scottish links golf at its finest

About a half hour auto trip southwest of Glasgow lies a stretch of coastline that is the quintessence of Scottish links golf. Along this Ayrshire (pronounced air-sher) coast lie some of the world's finest examples of links golf, none of which is more historic than the wonderful links golf course of Prestwick

Prestwick Golf Club -- home of the very first Open Championship, played in 1860.

There have been 24 Open Championships played there since then. For my money, they could play it here every year and I wouldn't complain. At "only" 6,544 yards it doesn't seem long by today's standards, but with links golf, distance is not everything--take another look at the picture above if you're wondering why. And keep in mind that at a par of 71, the average fariway shot distance (see AFSD) is a very respectable 186 yards--that's 4 yards per fairway shot longer than St. Andrews and exactly the same relative length as Carnoustie. So forget about its being a "short" course, because no matter how long a hitter you are, unless you're also accurate, this course will strip you show you every flaw in your game.

Prestwick Golf Club, home of the 1st Open Championship
If you're not on the green, you are probably in trouble. Hitting out of this rough is...well, rough.

Unlike so many golf courses in the USA which are built in the countryside, Prestwick Golf Club, like so many other famous golf courses in Scotland, is situated in the city. You will be reminded of this on the first hole (a 346 yard par 4 named RAILROAD) when you see the entire right out-of-bounds is a railroad line with trains rattling by on a regular schedule. (In fact the story goes that once a year or so a golfer hits a ball that lands on a passing frieght train and carries 100 miles or so.) If you can manage to keep your drive straight you are in for a relatively easy par and a three to four hour treat because Prestwick is so challenging and so much fun to play.

Prestwick first tee First fairway at Prestwick is bordered by the railroad. Not to's part of the charm of this historic golf course. Prestwick first fairway, seen from railway station

Number 2, a short par 3 will further ease you into the day's play. All you have to do is hit the ball 167 over a deep bunker and two putt. What's so hard about that? Now that you're feeling so good about yourself--having parred the first two holes--have a go at THE CARDINAL, a 482 yard, dogleg right, par five. You have to see this monster to believe it. It's rated the number one handicap because of the strategic placement of gigantic sand areas and a creek running down the entire right side from tee to green. Plus, the second shot is filled with danger. Oh, you can go for the green in two but you'd better be long and accurate because the rough and the sand will cost you dearly if the creek doesn't gobble you up. Slicing today? Then you'll hate number 4 because it's another dogleg right with the same creek on your right all the way from tee to green again. Then it's on to holes with names like HIMALAYAS and ALPS. (Guess why?) Or how about a hole called NARROWS that has two humongous greenside bunkers and a fairway so narrow you feel you'r foresome has to walk through single file! Then there's the number 2 handicap hole, ARRAN. At 454 yards it is filled with bunkers and rough. As I said, Prestwick golf course is fun! If you can tame this golf course, go to Q School and get your card, because you're ready for the big time.

Prestwick Golf Club
Typical of the bunkers at Prestwick. Mean, ornery, and nasty. My advice -- just get the ball out even if you have to hit it backwards.

Prestwick Golf Club is open for play to everyone. The members, like all the Scottish golf clubs, are friendly and welcome visitors who respect the game as much as they do. It's situated right next to Royal Troon Golf Club, about 30 minutes from Glasgow (and only a few minutes drive from Barassie, Glasgow Gailes, Western Gailes, and Irving Bogside).

Golf Nook Scotland rating: BIRDIE

For Mary-Alice's suggestions of What to Do All Day, please refer to the Ayrshire page.