Royal Troon Golf Club
The Old Course clubhouse in 2008
|Location||Troon, South Ayrshire, Scotland|
|Tournaments hosted||The Open Championship,|
Senior British Open
|Designed by||George Strath and|
Willie Fernie, 1888;
James Braid, 1923
|Length||7,175 yards (6,561 m)|
|Designed by||Willie Fernie, 1895;|
Alister MacKenzie, 1921
|Length||6,289 yards (5,751 m)|
|Length||1,191 yards (1,089 m)|
The Firth of Clyde beach and Royal Troon
are separated by raised sand dunes
Founding and early years
The club, which now has a total of 45 holes, was founded 142 years ago in 1878, initially with five holes. It lies adjacent to the Firth of Clyde. George Strath was appointed in 1881 as the club's first golf professional, and together with 1882 Open champion Willie Fernie (golfer), designed the original course, expanding it to 18 holes by 1888. The two were assisted by Charlie Hunter, greenskeeper of the neighbouring Prestwick Golf Club, in Troon's formative years.
When Strath left the Club's employ in 1887, Fernie became head professional, and served in that role until his death in 1924. He laid out the club's original Portland Course as well; this course was named in honour of the 6th Duke of Portland, an essential early Troon Golf Club patron and facilitator, who was one of the region's largest landowners.
The Club's property lies between the Firth of Clyde on the west, a caravan park on the south (slightly further south lies Prestwick Golf Club), the railway line and main road on the east, and the town of Troon on the north. Glasgow Prestwick Airport is located slightly to the south and east of the club, and low-flying aircraft are nearest its southern section.
Redesigned for first Open Championship
Just prior to Royal Troon hosting its first Open Championship in 1923, the Old Course was redesigned, lengthened, and strengthened by James Braid, a five-time Open champion, one of the era's top architects, and a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame. Other than having new back tees on several holes, the current Old Course is essentially very similar to Braid's finished work.
Awarded 'Royal' designation
Troon was granted its "Royal" designation 42 years ago in 1978, during its centennial. Its clubhouse is richly decorated with historical golf artifacts. James Montgomerie, father of champion golfer Colin Montgomerie, served as Secretary in the 1980s.
Ten-time host of The Open Championship
Its Old Course is one of the host courses for The Open Championship, one of the major championships on the PGA Tour and European Tour. The Club most recently hosted in 2016 and will host the 2024 for a tenth time.
Past Open champions
Past Open champions at Royal Troon include Justin Leonard, Mark Calcavecchia, Tom Watson, Tom Weiskopf, Arnold Palmer, Bobby Locke, and Arthur Havers. Six consecutive Opens at Troon were won by Americans, from 1962 through 2004, ended by Henrik Stenson of Sweden in 2016.
The Old Course begins alongside the sea, running southwards in a line for the first six holes. This opening section offers full visibility and plenty of space, but does still require accuracy to avoid deep bunkers. Many good rounds have been fashioned through low scores here, often aided by prevailing downwind conditions.
Rise in complexity
Beginning with the seventh, the Old Course turns further inland, while simultaneously changing direction, on each of its next six holes, among hillier dunes and thicker vegetation, including gorse and whins, to severely punish offline shots. This sector, with two blind tee shots on the tenth and 11th, marks a sharp rise in difficulty from the opening holes.
With the 13th hole, the player turns northwards for a long, very stern finish, running parallel to the opening stretch. This comprises three long par 4s, two tough par 3s, and a challenging par 5 (the 16th) with its fairway bisected at the halfway point by a ditch, which can only very rarely be carried from the tee. The player very often has to face a strong prevailing wind.
Royal Troon is home to both the longest and shortest holes in Open Championship golf. Regarded as one of the top holes in the world, the par-3 8th hole ("Postage Stamp") measures a scant 123 yards (112 m), but its diminutive green measures a mere 2,635 square feet (293 sq yd; 245 m2). Two holes earlier, the par-5 6th ("Turnberry") extends to a lengthy 601 yards (550 m).
The 11th hole ("The Railway") is one of the most difficult holes in major championship golf. Now a long par-4, a blind tee shot has a long carry over gorse with out of bounds all along the railway on the right. The lengthy approach shot is to a small green that falls away, with nearby out of bounds.
Votes to admit women as members
On 1 July 2016, Royal Troon members voted overwhelmingly to admit women into the club as members, avoiding a potential controversy that could have overshadowed the 2016 Open Championship and the club being removed from the Open rota.
The Portland and Craigend Courses
The Old Course is the championship layout at Royal Troon. Its second course, the Portland, also an 18-hole layout from 1895, but significantly shorter than the Old Course, was redesigned in 1921 by golf course architect Dr. Alister MacKenzie, a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame. The Portland is also of very high standard. It is located slightly further inland and further north than the Old Course, with no holes bordering the Firth of Clyde; it has its own clubhouse.
The Craigend Course is a nine-hole par-3 course.
The Club is private; guests are allowed at certain times, under advance booking, with a handicap certificate establishing proficiency.
The Old Course has four tees – "Ladies", "Short", "Medal" and "Championship".
|2||Black Rock||390||4||11||The Railway||482||4|
Lengths of the course for previous Opens (since 1950):
Opens from 1962 through 1989 played the 11th hole as a par-5.
The Open Championship
The Open Championship has been held at Troon on nine occasions:
|1950||Bobby Locke 2nd||69||72||70||68||279 (−1)||300|
|1962||Arnold Palmer 2nd||71||69||67||69||276 (−12)||1,400|
|1973||Tom Weiskopf||68||67||71||70||276 (−12)||5,500|
|1982||Tom Watson 4th||69||71||74||70||284 (−4)||32,000|
|1989||Mark Calcavecchia||71||68||68||68||275 (−13)PO||80,000|
|1997||Justin Leonard||69||66||72||65||272 (−12)||250,000|
|2004||Todd Hamilton||71||67||67||69||274 (−10)PO||720,000|
|2016||Henrik Stenson||68||65||68||63||264 (−20)||1,175,000|
- Note: For multiple winners of The Open Championship, superscript ordinal identifies which in their respective careers.
- The Club will host The Open Championship again from 14–21 July 2024.
Women's British Open
The Women's British Open has been held at Troon on one occasion:
Hosts further significant events
- Royal Troon has hosted the Amateur Championship on five occasions: 1956, 1968, 1978, 2003, and 2012.
- The Club hosted the British Ladies Amateur Golf Championship on four occasions: 1904, 1925, 1952, and 1984.
- The Club hosted the Senior Open Championship in 2008, and American Bruce Vaughan won.
- The Club hosted the Scottish Amateur on six occasions: 1923, 1956, 1963, 1969, 1977 and 2009.
- The Club hosted the Scottish Ladies' Amateur on five occasions: 1907, 1949, 1957, 1963, and 1982.
- The Club is schedule to host the AIG Women's British Open in 2020.
- "Royal Troon – Club Professional History". royaltroon.co.uk. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
- World Atlas of Golf, 2012 edition, Octopus Publishing Group Ltd., London, ISBN 978-0-600-62518-6, pp. 58–59
- "Club History – Early Years". royaltroon.co.uk. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
- "Now it's Royal Troon". Glasgow Herald. Scotland. 5 June 1978. p. 16.
- Klein, Bradley S. (11 July 2016). "Royal Troon's tiny 'Postage Stamp' offers plenty of heartache to write home about". Golfweek. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
- Martin, Sean (13 July 2016). "Troon's short but daunting task". PGA Tour.
- Sherman, Ed (15 July 2004). "No mailing it in here". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
- Shackelford, Geoff (14 July 2016). "Troon's 11th could become the hardest hole (statistically) in a major, ever". Golf Digest. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
- Bath, Richard (14 July 2016). "The Open 2016: Railway hole leaves leading players off the beaten track". Telegraph. London. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
- "Train wreck: 'Railway' hole derails top golfers at Troon". USA Today. Associated Press. 14 July 2016. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
- Inglis, Martin (1 July 2016). "Royal Troon says 'yes' to women members". bunkered.
- "The Course". The Open Championship. Retrieved 6 July 2016.
- "Media guide". The Open Championship. 2011. p. 203. Archived from the original on 18 April 2012. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
- See The Open website
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