As golfers start The Open (formerly known as The British Open), they will be participating in the oldest of the four major championships in professional golf. The 146th Open will be played at the Royal Birkdale, and it is sure to continue its long custom of quality, exciting golf.
According to The Open website the golf championship has over 150 years of historic golf, and many traditions have grown during that century and a half. For example, the championship is always played in the United Kingdom, but the venue changes from year to year. So far, 14 different golf courses have played host to The Open, but St. Andrews Old Course has hosted the tournament 29 times, more than any other venue.
The Claret Jug Developed Over Time
Perhaps the most iconic tradition of The Open is awarding The Golf Champion Trophy, otherwise known as the Claret Jug. The prestigious trophy has been awarded over a dozen decades now to a variety of champion golfers, but most people do not realize that the Claret Jug is not the original trophy for The Open. In 1860, the first Open took place at Prestwick Golf Club, and the winner received the Challenge Belt. This Belt was to be returned to the treasurer of Prestwick Golf Club each year before the tournament began. However, if a player won the tournament three consecutive years, the player received the Belt as his permanent property. Made of rich Moroccan leather and embellished with a silver buckle, this Belt was used from 1860 until 1870 when Tom Morris Junior won The Open for the third consecutive time and became the owner of the belt. No Open was held in 1871.
In 1872, three clubs (Prestwick, the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, and The Royal and Ancient Golf Club) agreed to revive and host The Open, so those clubs commissioned the creation of The Golf Champion Trophy (aka the Claret Jug). The Open was played in 1972, but the trophy was not finished yet, so the winner (Tom Morris Junior) was given a gold medal. As a result, every champion of The Open ever since receives a gold medal with the inscription ‘Golf Champion Trophy’ which they keep.
The Golf Champion Trophy was made by Mackay Cunningham & Company of Edinburgh and was first awarded in 1873. The first Open Champion to receive the new trophy was Tom Kidd, but Tom Morris Junior’s name was the first to be engraved on it as the 1872 winner. For the next 50 years, the Claret Jug was presented to the winner of The Open. A total of 28 different players hoisted the Golf Champion Trophy over their heads in victory. During that time, Harry Vardon accepted the Claret Jug a record six times. However, in 1927, the club’s Championship Committee decided to keep the original Claret Jug on display, and a Claret Jug replica was presented to the winner.
Hit Trophy Has Gorgeous Golf Trophies
You may never receive a Claret Jug for winning The Open, but you could present one of our many Claret Jug replicas to the winner of your local golf tournament. Hit Trophy sells two similar trophies, our Swatkins Hand Chased Claret Jug (item #CMC957) and our Swatkins Claret Jug (item #CMC959). Based in Walsall, England, this manufacturer of exquisite awards has been in business since 1898. These two handcrafted trophies have silver nickel plating that will last for decades. With the ebony bases which anchor the jugs firmly in place, both of these facsimiles stand over a foot tall (6” x 16”) and weigh more than three pounds. The Hand Chased Claret Jug has been decorated by one of Swatkins master crafters while our other Swatkins Claret Jug has a smooth nickel plated skin. Either trophy makes a fantastic award for a golf competition.
If your golf association is working on a tight budget, we also offer two other Claret Jug reproductions. Our Silver Claret Jug award is a sleek silver plated trophy that comes in three sizes: item #GC180 measures 4″ x 10″, item #GC185 has the dimensions of 5″ x 12.5″ while item #GC190 stands 6″ x 14.25″. The trophy comes mounted on a glossy rosewood base, and we offer free shipping on the two bigger trophies. Our other moderately priced award, our Claret Jug Trophy, has a silver nickel plated body with an ornate handle. It comes in three sizes: item #GC120 measures 4.5″ x 8.75″, item #GC125 has the dimensions of 5.5″ x 10″ while item #GC130 stands 6″ x 12.5″. We offer free shipping on the two bigger trophies. All of our trophies come with free engraving. Our graphic artists use the latest in laser technology to place your words of congratulations on the engraving plates attached to the bases of all of our trophies and awards.
Traditions Start at Hit Trophy!
Start a new tradition at your local golf course! Present one of our fine Claret Jug duplicates to the winner of your local golf championship, charity event, or tournament. Don’t forget to browse our entire catalogue of 60 different golf awards and place your order via our website, HitTrophy.com or phone us at 419.445.5356.