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Founded in 1878 by a few enthusiasts, Royal Troon Golf Club soon outgrew its purely local reputation. The Old Course today represents a stern golfing examination and in particular the inward half of Royal Troon is widely accepted as the most demanding of any Course on the Championship rota. Royal Troon Golf Club proudly hosted The 145th Open Championship in July of 2016. It was the ninth occasion The Open had been held at Troon. 2024 will mark the 10th time that The Open Championship comes to Royal Troon, as it will host the 152nd Open Championship between 14 – 21 July 2024. Images courtesy of Royal Troon Golf Club.
Considering the Club’s humble beginning in 1878, the journey has been remarkable with great credit due to some forward-thinking members during the Club’s early years. Troon Golf Club was awarded Royal status in 1978 to celebrate its Centenary and has since been known as Royal Troon Golf Club. Other renowned clubs in the area are Turnberry’s Ailsa Course, Dundonald Links, Western Gailes, Gailes Links & Turnberry’s King Robert The Bruce Course.
One of the great links courses in Scotland, the Old Course is a challenging test of golfing ability. With the wind to contend with, and deep rough interspersed with gorse and broom, accurate shot making is essential. Players should make their scores on the outward nine, as the prevailing north-westerly wind can make the back nine extremely difficult. This course represents one of the definitive challenges of golfing ability and skill. With the wind to contend with, deep rough, plus extensive gorse and broom, you get severely punished for inaccuracy. Aiming to build up your score on the front nine is a good strategy, as the powerful prevailing north-westerly wind can make the back holes extremely tough – so much so that the course has won a reputation as the most demanding on the Championship circuit.
Troon Golf Scotland is home to hole 8 with magnificent views of the islet of Ailsa Craig. Its putting surface is absolutely tiny, which is why the hole is colloquially known as “the postage stamp”. You tee off on high ground and need to play a clever little dropping shot over a gully to a long and surprisingly narrow green, itself set into a hill. A couple of bunkers protect the left hand of the green, but a big crater obscures the approach. All of which means getting it wrong lands you in a bunker with almost vertical sides. The hole is impossible to play safe – you’re in no man’s land, unless you find the green with your tee shot.
Royal Troon golf club is also famous for its brutal 11th hole, an incredibly tricky 448-metre par four that wreaked havoc in the 1997 Open. It became further notorious at the 2004 Open Championship, where Ernie Els missed a crucial 10’ putt during the play-off for the Claret Jug on the 72nd hole, and consequently lost to Todd Hamilton. For this reason alone, Troon Golf course has proven a particular draw for golfers of every handicap. The chance to play in Els’ and many other golfing great’s footsteps, at a place where even they have faltered, proves too tempting to pass up.
The Clubhouse of today is vastly different from that which was in place in the late 1870s. At that time, it was a wooden structure, little more than 300 square feet in area, but it was an improvement on the Club’s first home which was a converted railway carriage. As the popularity of the game increased, it was considered fitting to erect a stone-built property and in 1886 the first stage of the present Clubhouse was completed. Two major extensions were completed before 1900 incorporating the Smoke Room and the magnificent Dining Room, both of which to this day contain many of the original features. As the game of golf evolved, gentle and subtle changes have been made to accommodate the golfer of the present generation.
In the early part of 1970s the Ailsa Room was erected and most recently (2006) the Clubhouse was redeveloped to provide an extended Ailsa Room, an integral Professional Shop, new offices, and in general a fully upgraded and newly furnished Clubhouse. This provides a place of warmth and charm, where the golfer may relax in comfortable surroundings. A visitor to Royal Troon will enjoy the ambience which pervades within and will delight in the many artefacts which decorate the Main Corridor and Reception Lobby.