Royal Troon, Old Course Review

18 holes, par 71, 6,632 yards. Links.

To be frank, Royal Troon, which was established in 1878, is not the most beautiful links in the world. In fact, it is not even the most beautiful, or the best, in Ayrshire, but no visit to this part of the world would be complete without tackling its 18 holes. 

It measures 7,208 yards from the championship tees and is a par 71. The most famous hole is The Postage Stamp, which is the shortest hole in championship golf at just 123 yards. The green is tiny - miss it and you will be up to your neck in sand, in one of a series of deep bunkers that give the hole its teeth.  

The par-four 10th measures 438 yards and requires a drive from the back tees that is blind and must be struck over large sand-hills. Miss the fairway and gorse awaits. The second shot is played to a plateau green set into the side of a hill, with a sharp fall on the right. There are no bunkers - it doesn't need them.   

The 15th is a brute of a par four at 485 yards. The ideal drive is to the left side of the fairway but, like so many other holes at Royal Troon, trouble awaits if you don’t find the fairway. There are two bunkers on the left and one on the right. The ideal approach should be struck over the bunker at the front right of the green, from where the ball will feed into the green, which is located in a hollow.   

The 18th is a glorious finishing hole, where only an arrow-straight tee shot will do - go right or left and you will finish in sand. Three further traps ensure that an accurate second shot is required to land on the green, but hit the ball too far and you will finish out of bounds - and that is NOT how you want to finish your round here.

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Derek Clements

Author, Derek Clements.

Derek Clements is a golf journalist - he has covered many Open Championships and European Tour events, as well as The Masters. Born in Glasgow, he writes for The Sunday Times and Golfshake, and has also written for Today's Golfer, the Daily Mail, Swing by Swing and many other golf websites, magazines and newspapers. He has played golf all over the world and numbers Gleneagles, Kingsbarns and Aldeburgh as his three favourite golf courses in the United Kingdom. He lives in Suffolk, is a member of Waldringfield Golf Club and has a handicap of nine. He had lessons from the late Bob Torrance and has worked with Jean-Jacques Rivet, one of the world's leading golf biomechanists.