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Royal Troon Old Course

Troon was founded in 1878 with just five holes on linksland. In its first decade it grew from five holes to six, then 12, and finally 18 holes. It became Royal Troon in 1978 on its 100th anniversary. Royal Troon’s reputation is based on its combination of rough and sandy hills, bunkers, and a severity of finish that has diminished the championship hopes of many.

The most successful players have relied on an equal blend of finesse and power.

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.

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.