Royal Troon Golf Club
Troon, Ayrshire, Scotland,
Designer: George Strath, Willie Fernie
Championship Length: 7,150 / 6,641 yards
PAR: 71 / 71
Consistently ranked as one of the best links golf courses in the world, Royal Troon was created by the hand of Willie Fernie, one of the great early British golfers in 1878. Today, the Old Course at Troon presents a stiff golfing examination and the inward half is recognised as the most demanding of any of the courses on the Open Championship rota. Frequent host to the British Open Championship, perhaps the most apt description of the course is provided by the club motto – “Tam Arte Quam Marte”, which means “as much by skill as by strength”.
Though a relative latecomer to the Open Championship circuit, Royal Troon has hosted the famous championship eight times, the most recent of which was in 2004. The aura of history at Troon is matched by its array of champions – Bobby Locke, Arnold Palmer, Tom Weiskopf, Tom Watson and Mark Calcavecchia – each one a legend and a worthy match for this superb venue.
There are two links golf courses at Troon – the Portland Course and the Old Course. And while the 6,289 yard, par 71 Portland Layout is excellent and ideal for a second round, it is undeniably the Old Course that is the jewel in the Troon golfing crown. A classic links in every respect; the golfer is eased into the challenge with each hole appearing to get progressively tougher. Narrow fairways lined with trouble make tee shots critical, while its bunkers are punishing and the small greens require touch and imagination. Running out and back along the coast, Troon often changes dramatically from front nine to back. As those who witnessed the fish floundering on the 4th green during the 1952 Home International will testify, when that prevailing wind blows, it blows!
The Old Course at Troon boasts many great holes, including the par four, 2nd, which requires an accurate drive to avoid the fairway bunkers; the doglegging 7th played from an elevated tee; the 11th where the railway runs along the entire right hand side; and the long par three 17th, with its plateau green. But there can be little argument about Royal Troon’s most famous hole and that is the 123-yard 8th, known as the “Postage Stamp”. Playing from an elevated tee to a long and narrow green protected by some savage bunkering, there is no safe way to play this hole. The advice is to hit the green! One of the shortest holes in golf has certainly notched up its share of victims. The green is conducive to the golfing equivalent of ping-pong and has witnessed an amazing 15 by an Open contender in 1950. Gene Sarazen did get his revenge though when he holed in one on the 50th anniversary of his first appearance in the Championship.
Dunbar (2 hrs, 25 min); Glasgow Gailes (25 min); Gullane (No 2 Course); Irvine Bogside (30 min); Kilmarnock Barassie (15 min); Kilspindie (2 hrs, 10 min); Ladybank (2 hrs, 25 min); Leven Links (2 hrs, 25 min); Machrie (by air); Machrihanish (by air); Muirfield (2 hrs, 20 min); North Berwick (2 hrs, 20 min); Prestwick (20 min); Western Gailes (25 min)
RECOMMENDED NEARBY ACCOMMODATION:
Enterkine House (30 min); Lochgreen House Hotel (5 min); One Devonshire Gardens (60 min); Piersland House Hotel (1 min); Westin Turnberry Resort (55 min)
Situated just off the B749 route, one mile south of Troon, less than ten miles north of Ayr and 32 miles southwest of Glasgow.