Royal Troon Golf Club - Hole by Hole
Following is a brief description, photograph and layout of each hole at Oakmont Country Club - host of the 116th US Open Championship:
No 1 ‘Seal’: Par 4, 370 yards
The Chain of Rocks named Seal lie only a few yards from the high water mark of the Spring Tides. It is not unusual some 100 years after the hole being given this name to view seals basking on the reef.
A fairly straightforward opening hole. The drive should be straight or slightly to the right to avoid the bunkers that guard the left side of the fairway. The second shot is played with a lofted iron to a very slightly elevated green protected by bunkers on the left and right.
No 2 ‘Black Rock’: Par 4, 391 yards
Given this name after the reef lying offshore between the second and third tees.
The second hole requires an accurate drive to avoid the fairway bunkers. A hooked tee-shot will find trouble in the bunker to the left, which gathers a right to left shot. The second shot is played with a short to mid-iron to a well-guarded green.
No 3 ‘Gyaws’: Par 4, 379 yards
This is an old Scot's word meaning furrow or a drain. The burn, which traverses the 16th and 3rd fairways, is so called.
An accurate tee shot is essential and would be played with a two iron or three wood for the longer hitter, to finish short of the burn which crosses the narrow fairway. The tee-shot should be played down the right-hand side of the fairway to avoid the penalising bunkers on the left. The green slopes away from the player so the second should be firm with plenty of bite.
No 4 ‘Dunure’: Par 5, 555 yards
The village of Dunure and its ruined Castle sits proudly overlooking the sea south of Ayr.
The first of the par fives, the long fourth is a dog-leg to the right. A deep bunker positioned right, in the neck of the dog-leg, adds danger with any attempt to cut the corner too close. The second shot should be played into position to give the best line for a short iron shot into the two-tiered green.
No 5 ‘Greenan’: Par 3, 210 yards
The old Kennedy Castle ruin just south of Ayr lends its name to the short fifth hole.
A fine short hole requiring a well struck long iron shot to carry into the heart of the green. The green has dangerous bunkers to the left, front and right. A difficult hole, which has the prevailing wind blowing off the beach.
No 6 ‘Turnberry’: Par 5, 601 yards
The point at Turnberry can be seen from Troon. The lighthouse marks the site of Turnberry Castle childhood home of the Bruce.
Troon has the longest and the shortest holes in Open Championship golf and at 601 yards, the sixth is the longest. An arrow straight tee-shot is required to finish between the fairway bunkers to the left and right. The second shot with a fairway wood should be aimed slightly left to avoid the bunker on the right, which will put you in perfect position for a soft pitch to a long and narrow green beautifully framed by sand dunes on both sides.
No 7 ‘Tel-El’Kebir’: Par 4, 405 yards
Named after a battle fought in 1882 just before the hole was created.
The seventh is a magnificent golfing hole and is played from an elevated tee perched on top of the dunes. The fairway dog-legs sharply to the right with a sandhill and bunker set into the angle of the dog-leg. Any tendency to hook a drive will be penalised by the bunkers on the left. A lofted iron will send the ball over a slight gully to a well trapped green set between two imposing sandhills.
No 8 ‘Postage Stamp’: Par 3, 123 yards
Originally called "Ailsa" because there is a perfect view of the rocky islet of that name, from the tee. The smallness of the putting surface accounted for the current name when William Park writing in "Golf Illustrated" said, " A pitching surface skimmed down to the size of a Postage Stamp".
Much has been written about the famous eighth hole at Royal Troon, aptly named the "Postage Stamp". The tee is on high ground and a dropping shot is played over a gully to a long but extremely narrow green set into the side of a large sandhill. Two bunkers protect the left side of the green while a large crater bunker shields the approach. Any mistake on the right will find one of the two deep bunkers with near vertical faces. There is no safe way to play this hole, the ball must find the green with the tee-shot. Many top players have come to grief at this the shortest hole in Open Championship golf.
No 9 ‘The Monk’: Par 4, 422 yards
Faces towards the village of Monkton.
The last hole on the outward half, the Ninth is a stiff two shotter. The tee-shot at this hole is straightforward and should be played short of the two bunkers on the left-hand side of the dog-leg onto a narrow undulating fairway with heavy rough on either side. A mid-iron approach is needed to reach an elevated two-tiered green.
No 10 ‘Sandhills’: Par 4, 452 yards
Large sandhills face the tee shot from the Championship Tee.
The first hole on the homeward stretch, a difficult tee-shot into the prevailing wind, with an errant shot punished by gorse on the right and a large gully on the left. To reach this green in two shots you must hit a searching iron to a plateau green set into the side of a hill with a sharp drop on the right.
No 11 ‘The Railway’: Par 4, 483 yards
Named after the railway line, which runs alongside the 11th hole.
Walking to the tee you have time to ponder over the difficulties of this long and dangerous hole. The railway runs parallel to the hole on the right for its entire length, with a hooked drive almost certainly lost in thick gorse. A long second shot waits, with the railway just a few yards off the green to the right. The eleventh was rated the most difficult hole in the 1997 Open Championship.
No 12 ‘The Fox’: Par 4, 429 yards
At one time a wooded area inhabited by a number of foxes. However, the woods have mostly gone and only the occasional fox remains.
The twelfth is a slight dog-leg with the drive played over a rise into the narrow neck of the fairway. The tee-shot should be played left of centre to avoid the ridge of rough and gorse on the right. The second shot is played to a slightly raised two-tiered green falling off down a bank to the left and guarded by a bunker on the right.
No 13 ‘Burmah’: Par 4, 472 yards
The Club's founding Captain, James Dickie had trading connections with Burmah, now Myanmar, and it is thought this is the reason for the name of the hole.
The drive at the thirteenth is hit to an undulating fairway, the feature of the hole being the second shot played towards an elevated green. It is advisable to take one club more for your approach. This is the first of a straight run of six homeward bound holes.
No 14 ‘Alton’: Par 3, 178 yards
Named after part of the Fullarton estate, to the north side of the railway.
Bunkers to the left and right make a narrow entrance to the green, so it is essential to play a strong shot, which carries into the centre of the green.
No 15 ‘Crosbie’: Par 4, 502 yards
The name given to a small fortification near Alton, which was the home of the Fullarton Family for centuries.
The first of the very demanding four finishing holes, the fifteenth, is a long two shotter. The drive should favour the left half of the fairway to open up the second shot to a flat green which rests in a hollow. This hole is well bunkered on the approach and the emphasis is on an accurate second shot.
No 16 ‘Well’: Par 5, 553 yards
A fresh water well was situated not far from the house of the Course Manager.
The longest hole on the inward nine, the tee-shot is played to a flat fairway laying-up short of the burn. The line for the second shot favours the left to be in the best position for the shot to the green, which is well protected by bunkers.
No 17 ‘Rabbit’: Par 3, 218 yards
A popular location for members of the Leporidae family. Clearly the passing of one hundred years has not diminished the rabbit's enthusiasm for the Links.
The last and most difficult of the short holes. The tee-shot can be as much as a driver, depending upon the wind. The plateau green falls away sharply on both sides and is well guarded by bunkers, short and on the right and left hand sides. A challenging hole if you have pencil and card in your hand.
No 18 ‘Craigend’: Par 4, 464 yards
The name of the old farm demolished at the turn of the century has given its name in perpetuity to the closing hole. The Old Course and the Portland Course are formed on the Craigend grazings.
The ideal drive at the eighteenth is straight down the centre to avoid the bunkers on either side of the fairway. Bunkers short of the green will catch a mishit second shot and the green itself, which lies right in front of the clubhouse, is protected by a bunker to the left and two more to the right. An overhit approach shot could finish on the path at the rear of the green, which is out of bounds.