As usual I donít follow exactly what you mean.
As far as Old Tomís design credentials, he worked under and was taught by Alan Robertson from his teens. Alan is regarded by many as the first true golf professional. Old Tom had the best possible start by serving a four year apprentice to Alan before working with him for another 5 years as his assistant learning the skills of course design. How many other early designers could match that? None.
The majority of Old Tomís courses were designed with the average golfer in mind, starting fairly easy into the round with the first few holes (with a few exceptions i.e. Prestwick & Machrihanish spring to mind). If I understand you correctly then NO, Old Tom was not the founder of the ball busting school of architecture.
As for Prestwick, there is a map on one of the earlier posts, showing I believe Old Tomís 12 hole course in white, overlaid on todayís current course. Yes the original was 578 yards long. Last year on my visit to Prestwick, I was told that a stone monument near the clubhouse and parking area marks the original Tee. And that the current 16th is the original 1st Green. I may have a copy of the map, if I can find it Iíll e-mail you a copy.
Just for your information Young Tom scored a 3 on this hole in 1870 Open.
Hickory/Gutty equipment, I wonder how many of todayís top Proís can sink
a 3 using Young Tomís clubs/balls or for that matter, even using modern equipment.