Royal Troon Golf Club - The Old Course
|Blue M: 73.9/129||370||391||379||555||210||601||405||123||422||3456||452||483||429||473||178||502||553||218||464||3752||7208|
|White M: 72.1/121||357||381||371||522||194||544||381||123||387||3260||385||421||427||411||175||436||533||210||374||3372||6632|
|Yellow M: 69.7/119||348||369||366||476||183||518||354||114||375||3103||367||357||377||382||167||402||504||167||344||3067||6170|
|Red W: 74.7/127||346||365||360||476||134||508||348||118||370||3025||360||417||368||377||171||398||495||166||331||3083||6108|
Monday After The Open
I was lucky to have a 7:00 am tee time the day after Henrik Stenson won The Open in an epic duel with Phil Mickelson. I was anxious to not only play the course but walk in the footsteps of great winners at Troon. The experience did not dissapoint. This course offers a variety of holes. Yes, some are difficult as in holes 10 & 11 but there are holes you can score on. I can't say enough about the postage stamp par 3. It's refreshing to play a par 3 that is short but difficult. I missed my 15 foot birdie putt there. The clubhouse experience is not modern but why would you expect that at Royal Troon. This a great test of Scottish links that I would recommend if you have the opportunity.
Royal Troon: Home to two of the world's best holes
Royal Troon doesn't get the love of other Open venues, but it does have this going for it: Two of the best holes in the world. Not just Scotland, the world.
The "Postage Stamp" - the par-3 eighth hole - plays less than 130 yards, but the target is so darn small that nobody swings with confidence. Everybody fears failure when they step onto the tee box.
The par-4 11th is even scarier. When I played Royal Troon in 2013, all I saw was gorse lining a narrow passage through a sea of yellow. The recent redesign leading up to this tournament was supposed to clear out some gorse, but I'm curious to see how much and how players will react to the changes.
The rest of the holes are solid, if somewhat unspectacular. The dunes aren't that high and the sea views aren't as stunning as they are at Trump Turnberry down the road. Even so, don't let that deter you from scheduling this classic on any golf trip to Ayrshire.
Bring your A game
For some reason people refuse to take caddies when visiting Scotland, and sometimes you can get away with it, but this is not the course to play for the first time without a caddy to guide you around. It's not just club selection, you can take a wrong turn and miss 6 holes in a heartbeat. The course is relatively flat and featureless so you can`t just assume you`ll find your way around. Hard bouncing fairways and nasty, well positioned pot bunkers make this a challenging course. The people with me didn't take a caddy and they had a lost look in their eyes after a few holes. One guy even teed up his ball facing the wrong direction. Wouldn`t believe it when my caddy pointed him towards the correct fairway. Didn`t have my best round of golf but you have to love playing a course you know has seen the greats of golf, people who have cursed that same perfectly place (and hidden) bunker. On the Postage Stamp, I hit a good shot, and my caddy said ``great shot`` like he really meant it. The shot disappeared over the mound, reappeared rolling towards the pin, hit the stick and rolled away to 5 ft. I then proceeded to 3 put! Gotta love links golf and this place is a prime example. Top 10 definitely.
Beautiful, thick and unyielding native grasses anticipate a careless shot
Americans have a certain affinity for Royal Troon, if judged by their proficiency in Open Championships held there. The Open has been hosted by Royal Troon on eight occasions and won by Americans the last six times (Palmer, Weiskopf, Watson, Calcavecchia, Leonard and Hamilton). Traditional links are designed “out and back,” meaning that the farthest point from the clubhouse is the 9th green, then one battles their way “home.” Due to a predominantly northwesterly wind, never is that more true than at Troon. A manageable series of par 4 holes define your start. The par 3, 123 yard, 8th hole, known as the “postage stamp” is one of golf’s special joys (Gene Sarazen made an ace there in the 1973 Open at age 71, fifty-years after competing in Troon’s first Open in 1923). The back nine will test the resolve of even the most ardent as evidenced by the 490 yard, par 4, 11th hole where the railway on the right side of the hole awaits to derail your efforts. Beautiful, thick and unyielding native grasses anticipate a careless shot. In another interesting piece of trivia, Royal Troon, which was granted Royal patronage in 1978, is the first (and as yet, the only) course to be granted such under the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.
It's in the British Open rota...enough said
Royal Troon isn't known as one of the best courses on the British Open rota, but, to me, it's wildly underrated. It's solid. For starters, I love the layout - 9 holes straight out, 9 holes straight back. I've played there twice now with a member friend and really have come to appreciate the character of the course. Watch out for the Coffin Bunker on the par-3 eighth hole, which is called the Postage Stamp. If you find it, you'll be lucky to make 4. And, yes, since my last name is Coffin, I have a photo of me planted firmly in the middle of it.