The Open is bornThe first Open Championship was played over a 12-hole course at Prestwick in 1860. It was open only to 'respected and known' players, which annoyed many good amateur players. The next year Prestwick announced that the tournament "shall be open to all the world." Young Tom Morris won the tournament three years in a row from 1868-70. Afer his third win, he was allowed to keep the trophy, an extravagant belt of red leather with silver mountings. The Prestwick Golf Club then invited the Royal and Ancient and the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers to join them in producing a new trophy. And so the famous Claret Jug was crafted.
The two clubs also agreed to stage the tournament on a rotating basis. No agreement could be reached in 1871, but the event reappeared the following year and has continued ever since, with the exception of the war years.
In the second half of the 19th century many new courses were built in Scotland and the rail network meant people could travel more. But it was the arrival of a new type of ball that saw the game explode in popularity. The gutta percha ball was cheaper, sturdier and easier to repair than the old feather ones which meant more people could play the game.
In 1766, Royal Blackheath Golf Club in England became the first club outside Scotland, followed by the Old Manchester Golf Club on Kersal Moor in 1818. Golf didn't really catch on in America but it was popular in Canada. The Royal Montreal Club was formed in 1873, the Quebec Golf Club in 1875 followed by a golf club at Toronto in 1876. It wasn't until 1888 that golf began to take off in the United States - although it was down to a Scot! John Reid built a three-hole course in Yonkers, New York and formed the St Andrews Club of Yonkers. From these humble beginnings, golf literally soared as a new national hobby in the United States.
Shinnecock Hills was founded in 1891 on Long Island and by the turn of the century, more than 1,000 golf clubs had opened in North America. Now the global game is run in partnership by The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews and the United States Golf Association.