The original course, built in 1851, consisted of 12 holes which played their way up and down across the linksland dunes. By modern standards the holes at Prestwick make up an unusual routing, with plenty of blind shots and unusual angles to test the unwary golfer. These playing characteristics were retained when, in 1882, the course was extended to 18 holes.
Though Prestwick’s eccentricity and relative lack of length mean that it no longer plays host to The Open, its record of having hosted the Championship 24 times is one that is bettered only by St Andrews. Between 1860 and 1925, the club witnessed all the greats of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including Old and Young Tom Morris, Willie Park and Willie Auchterlonie, while Harry Vardon won three of his six titles at the Ayrshire course.