Prestwick Country Club is celebrating its 30th birthday this year, a milestone for a course that has evolved along with the market. When the Pete and P.B. Dye design opened its fairways in 1989, it was a private club before transitioning to a semi-private and eventually a completely public course. Prestwick’s inaccessibility in its early years may have contributed to the fact the course remains among the area’s most underrated. With that in mind, we asked long-time head golf professional Jay Smith to walk us through two holes players love at Prestwick and one they just hope to survive.
No. 5, 164 yards (all distances are from white tees), par 3: Water runs up the left side, infringing on the front of a two-tiered green that is among the course’s most severe (“I think there is an elephant in the green,” Smith said). There is room to miss right and as long as you aren’t putting from the wrong shelf, the fifth hole shouldn’t be the site of a big number. It’s visually appealing and, with a hint of danger, fun to play.
No. 9, 486 yards, par 5: A lake the runs from the tee to the base of the clubhouse, providing an intimidating, but beautiful, visual. You will want to stay to the right off tee, but mounds lurk just off the fairway, so finding the short grass is vital. The green is well-protected, making it difficult to reach in two, so layup to a comfortable yardage and make sure you don’t find the deep bunkers on the back side of the putting surface on your approach. “It’s a wonderful hole; really pretty,” Smith said. “It can be birdied.”
No. 17, 499 yards, par 5: Prestwick’s penultimate hole is, without question, the course’s most feared. A creek runs up the left side of a fairway that tightens before crossing in front of the green. There isn’t a risk-free shot on the hole, and that includes an undulating green. “Just make 5 or 6 and go onto the next hole,” Smith said of No. 17. “Take your medicine and don’t try to get cute.”
What are your favorite holes at Prestwick?
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