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Royal Troon Golf Club

Coordinates: 55°31′55″N 4°39′00″W / 55.532°N 4.65°W / 55.532; -4.65
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Royal Troon Golf Club

The Old Course clubhouse in 2009
Club information
Royal Troon Golf Club is located in Scotland
Royal Troon Golf Club
Location in Scotland
Royal Troon Golf Club is located in South Ayrshire
Royal Troon Golf Club
Location in South Ayrshire, Scotland
Coordinates55°31′55″N 4°39′00″W / 55.532°N 4.65°W / 55.532; -4.65
LocationTroon, South Ayrshire, Scotland
Established1878; 146 years ago (1878)
Total holes45
Events hostedThe Open Championship,
The Amateur Championship,
The Senior Open Championship
The Women's Open Championship
Old Course
Designed byGeorge Strath and
Willie Fernie, 1888;
James Braid, 1923
Length7,175 yards (6,561 m)
Course rating75
Portland Course
Designed byWillie Fernie, 1895;
Alister MacKenzie, 1921
Length6,289 yards (5,751 m)
Course rating71
Craigend Course
Length1,191 yards (1,089 m)
The Firth of Clyde beach and Royal Troon
are separated by raised sand dunes

Royal Troon Golf Club is a links golf course in Scotland, located in Troon, South Ayrshire.


The club, which now has a total of 45 holes, was founded 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,[1] and together with 1882 Open champion Willie Fernie, designed the original course, expanding it to 18 holes by 1888.[2] The two were assisted by Charlie Hunter, greenskeeper of the neighbouring Prestwick Golf Club, in Troon's formative years.[3]

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 Relief course, on the site of what would become Troon's New course, designed by Alister MacKenzie; Shortly after opening the New course was renamed 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.[3]

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.

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, six completely re-sited greens, much narrower fairways, (when not changed entirely for the re-positioned greens), and vastly different bunkering, the current Old Course is essentially very similar to Braid's finished work.[2]

Troon was granted its "Royal" designation in 1978, during its centenary.[4] Its clubhouse, designed by Henry Edward Clifford and built in 1886,[5] is richly decorated with historical golf artifacts. James Montgomerie, father of Colin Montgomerie, served as Secretary in the 1980s.

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 in 2024 for a tenth time. It also hosted The Women's Open Championship in 2020, a year when The R&A only organised an Open Championship for women but not for men.

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. German golfer Sophia Popov's win in the 2020 Women's Open was regarded as one of the greatest upsets in major championship golf.

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.[6]

Noteworthy characteristics[edit]

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.

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 the shortest hole in Open Championship golf. Described by Golf Monthly as one of the most famous 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).[7][8][9][10] Two holes earlier, the par-5 6th ("Turnberry") extends to a lengthy 601 yards (550 m) and until the championship at Royal Liverpool in 2023 was the longest hole in Open history.[11]

The 11th hole ("The Railway") is one of the most difficult holes in major championship golf.[12] Now[when?] 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.[13][14]

The Portland and Craigend Courses[edit]

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".


For 2020 Women's British Open:

Hole Name Yards Par Hole Name Yards Par
1 Seal 357 4 10 Sandhills 385 4
2 Black Rock 381 4 11 The Railway 421 4
3 Gyaws 371 4 12 The Fox 427 4
4 Dunure 522 5 13 Burmah 411 4
5 Greenan 194 3 14 Alton 175 3
6 Turnberry 544 5 15 Crosbie 436 4
7 Tel-el-Kebir 381 4 16 Well 533 5
8 Postage Stamp 123 3 17 Rabbit 210 3
9 The Monk 387 4 18 Craigend 374 4
Out 3,260 36 In 3,372 35
Source:[15][16] Total 6,632 71

Lengths of the course for previous Opens (since 1950):[17]

Opens from 1962 through 1989 played the 11th hole as a par-5.

The Open Championship[edit]

The Open Championship has been held at Troon on nine occasions:

Year Winner Score Winner's
share (£)
R1 R2 R3 R4 Total
1923 England Arthur Havers 73 73 73 76 295 75
1950 South Africa Bobby Locke 2nd 69 72 70 68 279 (−1) 300
1962 United States Arnold Palmer 2nd 71 69 67 69 276 (−12) 1,400
1973 United States Tom Weiskopf 68 67 71 70 276 (−12) 5,500
1982 United States Tom Watson 4th 69 71 74 70 284 (−4) 32,000
1989 United States Mark Calcavecchia 71 68 68 68 275 (−13)PO 80,000
1997 United States Justin Leonard 69 66 72 65 272 (−12) 250,000
2004 United States Todd Hamilton 71 67 67 69 274 (−10)PO 720,000
2016 Sweden 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.[18]

Women's Open[edit]

The Women's Open Championship has been held at Troon once:

Year Winner Score Winner's
share (US$)
R1 R2 R3 R4 Total
2020 Germany Sophia Popov 70 72 67 68 277 (−7) 675,000

Hosts further significant events[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Royal Troon – Club Professional History". royaltroon.co.uk. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d World Atlas of Golf, 2012 edition, Octopus Publishing Group Ltd., London, ISBN 978-0-600-62518-6, pp. 58–59
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Club History – Early Years". royaltroon.co.uk. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  4. ^ "Now it's Royal Troon". Glasgow Herald. Scotland. 5 June 1978. p. 16.
  5. ^ Henry Edward Clifford - Dictionary of Scottish Architects
  6. ^ Inglis, Martin (1 July 2016). "Royal Troon says 'yes' to women members". bunkered.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Martin, Sean (13 July 2016). "Troon's short but daunting task". PGA Tour.
  9. ^ Sherman, Ed (15 July 2004). "No mailing it in here". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  10. ^ Tremlett, Sam. "World's Most Famous Golf Holes". Golf Monthly. Retrieved 27 April 2024.
  11. ^ Treacy, Dan (20 July 2023). "Inside the 620-yard par-5 at Open Championship: Why No. 15 at Royal Liverpool is longest hole in Open history". Sporting News.
  12. ^ Shackelford, Geoff (14 July 2016). "Troon's 11th could become the hardest hole (statistically) in a major, ever". Golf Digest. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
  13. ^ Bath, Richard (14 July 2016). "The Open 2016: Railway hole leaves leading players off the beaten track". Telegraph. London. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  14. ^ "Train wreck: 'Railway' hole derails top golfers at Troon". USA Today. Associated Press. 14 July 2016. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
  15. ^ "AIG Women's Open: Course info". Ladies European Tour. 2020. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  16. ^ "AIG Women's Open: Course Guide". R&A Championships Limited. 2020. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  17. ^ "Media guide". The Open Championship. 2011. p. 203. Archived from the original on 18 April 2012. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
  18. ^ "152nd Open Royal Troon". www.theopen.com. The Open Championship. Retrieved 13 September 2022.

External links[edit]