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Thomas Dai

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Royal Troon, The Open 2016
« on: June 25, 2016, 12:50:23 PM »
The Open at Royal Troon is coming up soon although it's a course that seems to have relatively little about it herein.

The course gets a 7-8-7-7 Doak Scale rating in the most recent Confidential Guide but is it a course for which there is little love?

I did come across this video - https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=C93KPmIuFd0 - which mentions changes to some of the holes particularly the 15th.

What are contributors thoughts on the course?

Photos very welcome.

Atb



Adam Lawrence

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Re: Royal Troon, The Open 2016
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2016, 01:44:28 PM »
I didn't really know Troon when I went there with Martin Ebert a couple of winters ago to see the works they'd been doing. I must say I was impressed. I know it isn't spectacular, but I think it's a very, very good golf course with a lot to like. The opening holes get called dull, but they're closer to the sea than virtually anything else on the Open rota and the run for home is extremely strong.


The restoration of Dr MacKenzie's bunker on the tenth won't affect the play in the Open, but it looks great and it's symbolically important, given I believe it is the only thing he ever did on a Rota course. The changes to the fifteenth are pretty remarkable actually -- they moved the fairway about forty yards left, away from the internal road and back to where it used to be pre-war. Contractors Marcus Terry and Mike Smith have invented a machine for translocation of rough slabs that they call the pizza cutter, and it was amazing; I saw the work in the dead of winter, about six weeks after it had been done, and you would never have known it. Fabulous construction work. The same crew worked at Portrush for Martin, and again has done a great job.
Adam Lawrence

Editor, Golf Course Architecture
www.golfcoursearchitecture.net

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Phil McDade

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Re: Royal Troon, The Open 2016
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2016, 03:51:26 PM »
I'm not sure there's a course out there that's disappointed more belt-notchers.

Tim_Weiman

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Re: Royal Troon, The Open 2016
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2016, 04:27:52 PM »
For as long as I have been at this site, I can't remember Troon having much support, if any. But, without any intent to be contrarian, I will say that I really like the course. There is a naturalness about it that impresses me: Troon is the course that doesn't try too hard to be great. That's what makes it great to me.
Tim Weiman

Jon Wiggett

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Re: Royal Troon, The Open 2016
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2016, 05:35:14 PM »
Adam,


I hear that quite often about the first 6 holes though I have to say I found them to be very good when I played there. Indeed, though the course lacks the drama of some other Open courses Troon is a very good course that I suspect most of low handicappers will like.


Jon
« Last Edit: June 26, 2016, 01:57:26 AM by Jon Wiggett »

Keith Phillips

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Re: Royal Troon, The Open 2016
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2016, 06:25:25 PM »
I think Troon is fantastic and especially like the fairway bunkering.  The undulating fairway on 15 looks terrific in that video posted by Thomas.

David_Tepper

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Re: Royal Troon, The Open 2016
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2016, 08:23:58 PM »
Thomas D. -

Thanks for the link to the video.

DT

Niall C

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Re: Royal Troon, The Open 2016
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2016, 08:26:21 AM »
I'm not sure there's a course out there that's disappointed more belt-notchers.

Phil

Judging by comments on here, I suspect that very well might be true. It's not a course that is big on aesthetics although if you are into that sort of thing the views from the 7th tee, 8th tee and 10th tee provide some great panoramic views. I suspect the supposed plainness of the opening holes accounts for the ambivalence of most first timers. In that respect it's probably similar to Nairn.

Niall

Niall C

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Re: Royal Troon, The Open 2016
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2016, 08:38:38 AM »
Atb

I'm probably biased in that I'm from the west of Scotland, Troon was the first Open rota course I played and that I am fortunate to have played it numerous times over the years as I have friends who are members, so I'd suggest it's a much better course than many of the belt-notchers and indeed the CG authors give it credit for.

I'm also clearly not nearly as fussed about aesthetics as many on here. I've said before if they reversed the routing in some way so that the closing holes played along the coast line with the views over to Arran then I'm sure it would get rated higher for that alone.

One other thing about it and that is in its every day gear it's a very playable golf course. All the chat in the lead up to the Open is about how difficult the back nine is, and so it is to par, and if you are playing into the wind and off the back tees. Off the members tees it's a very good test but also good fun.

Niall

Tyler Page

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Re: Royal Troon, The Open 2016
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2016, 10:23:34 AM »
Troon is really underrated IMHO.  My sense is that the stuffiness of some of the members (relative to a lot of other big time courses in Scotland, and in particular contrast to Prestwick just down the street) has put off some visiting golfers in the past.

When I played there in 2014, I was prepared for an unfriendly reception based on numerous reports that I had heard, but all the members and staff I met could not have been nicer.  Either they have changed the way they treat visiting golfers, or the people I had spoken to were just wrong or too sensitive.

As for the course itself, I thought it was much better than Turnberry.  It will be interesting to see how the bombers attack it. I would think that someone who can really control a hybrid or driving iron will be at a huge advantage.

Thomas Dai

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Re: Royal Troon, The Open 2016
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2016, 02:52:09 PM »
Thanks all for your thoughts.


With regard to the famous par-3 Postage Stamp 8th hole, does a very short par-3, where most shots are likely landing from a significant height thus resulting in pitch marks or at least indentations and blemishes, have implications for the trueness of the putting surface?


In addition, would it be correct to presume that when a green is this small there are also potential issues with regards to 'fresh' pin positions, not just during The Open but also for general play, the more so maybe in general play, given that the hole in question is both famous and photogenic and thus may have quite a few 'second balls' hit from the tee (especially by visitors with cameras!).


Atb

Niall C

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Re: Royal Troon, The Open 2016
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2016, 04:51:34 AM »
I doubt that the Postage Stamp gets any more dimples than any of the other holes where balls are landing on greens, particularly as longer iron shots might actually do more damage. In any case, they use an alternative green during the winter which is a fun challenging hole in its own right.


Niall

Thomas Dai

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Re: Royal Troon, The Open 2016
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2016, 11:45:36 AM »
Alternative 8th green for the winter, that's an interesting aspect, thanks for the info Niall - the one in the bottom left corner of this satmap link I presume - https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@55.5197415,-4.6266841,19z/data=!3m1!1e3.


Not sure I agree about the frequency and damade caused by long and short irons hitting par-3 greens though.



Atb

Tim Fenchel

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Re: Royal Troon, The Open 2016
« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2016, 01:22:27 PM »
Never played it. But below is my father's review from 2 summers ago.


"Troon felt like I played the same hole over and over again.  And the staff was the "stuffiest" in all the U.K."


For what's its worth. Maybe .02 cents.


Jon Wiggett

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Re: Royal Troon, The Open 2016
« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2016, 01:23:56 PM »
Thomas,


my experience is that Niall is correct. This is mainly due to the ball travelling fast when it hits the ground with the long iron coupled with the shallower angle of the mark making which is more likely to tear the grass and is harder to repair. Having said that, a green on a par three is more likely to be hit with a short iron so short par threes will have more instances of damage as you alluded to so I guess I am agreeing with both of you :)


Interesting that the winter green is even smaller than the main one.


Jon

Sean_A

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Re: Royal Troon, The Open 2016
« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2016, 08:10:15 PM »
My main issue with Troon...a ton of holes between 340 and 380 yards...simply not enough variety.


Second issue, the greens are nothing to note.  Good quality in terms of roll, but not terribly interesting. 


Third issue, basically an out n' back routing makes for too many holes on the trot with the same basic wind...again reducing variety. 


Sure, good course, but other than the 8th, not much charm.  I give it a mercy 6  8)


Ciao
New plays planned for 2023: Clyne

Niall C

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Re: Royal Troon, The Open 2016
« Reply #16 on: June 28, 2016, 04:54:06 AM »
Jon

The winter green sits in a hollow so the ball gathers in whereas the main green its the opposite.

Sean

I suspect we've had the discussion before about wind on links but for what it's worth I think the issue of variance of hole direction in respect of "prevailing" wind is way over stated. In fact I'd go as far as to say it's an irrelevance. In the course of a 3 to 4.5 hour round the wind is going to change in respect of strength and direction any number of times, particularly if you are playing about mid day when the tide turns. It's not unknown for the wind to switch around 180 degrees and back again.

To judge a links course therefore on purely hole length and direction when a 340 yard hole can be a drive and a wedge and then a similar length hole a drive and a 3 wood seems bogus to me. Even a switch in direction of a fairly light wind can result in a change of 2 or 3 clubs.

Niall

Matt MacIver

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Re: Royal Troon, The Open 2016
« Reply #17 on: June 28, 2016, 07:28:03 AM »
I thought the most interesting thing about several of the early holes was the positioning of the tee box relative to the fairway - very much on a diagonal, so while there appeared to be plenty of fairway to hit if your room a conservative line away from the bunkers your ball would run thru the fairway send into the light rough, making the approach very challenging given the angle you now had to come into. I'd never before (or since?) seen that design aspect before. I'm think holes 2-3-4.


Separately certainly 6-10 are strong and 17-18 were notable.

Sean_A

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Re: Royal Troon, The Open 2016
« Reply #18 on: June 28, 2016, 09:41:38 AM »
Jon

The winter green sits in a hollow so the ball gathers in whereas the main green its the opposite.

Sean

I suspect we've had the discussion before about wind on links but for what it's worth I think the issue of variance of hole direction in respect of "prevailing" wind is way over stated. In fact I'd go as far as to say it's an irrelevance. In the course of a 3 to 4.5 hour round the wind is going to change in respect of strength and direction any number of times, particularly if you are playing about mid day when the tide turns. It's not unknown for the wind to switch around 180 degrees and back again.

To judge a links course therefore on purely hole length and direction when a 340 yard hole can be a drive and a wedge and then a similar length hole a drive and a 3 wood seems bogus to me. Even a switch in direction of a fairly light wind can result in a change of 2 or 3 clubs.

Niall


Niall


In my experience I rarely get significant wind variation in a round.  Consequently, an out n' back design is on many more days than not just that, out back in design with the wind in two major directions.  Its no secret that its better to move holes around the property in all directions if possible.  If you don't agree, well, in the words of Sheehy, thats wrong  8)


Wind or no wind...there are a ton of holes in a narrow yardage band at Troon.  Sometimes the holes themselves are full of character over interesting terrain which then makes it okay.  In the case of Troon...well...not great design. 


Ciao
New plays planned for 2023: Clyne

Thomas Dai

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Re: Royal Troon, The Open 2016
« Reply #19 on: June 28, 2016, 11:46:37 AM »
What's the famous long par-4 11th like to play, the hole alongside the railway line? - http://www.royaltroon.com/courses/old-course/11
It looks pretty brutal, especially if played with the carry from the right hand tees, the more so into the wind.

Atb

Matt Dawson

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Re: Royal Troon, The Open 2016
« Reply #20 on: June 28, 2016, 12:17:39 PM »
Thomas

The 11th is a REALLY hard hole. It's a while since I played there, and I don't think we played from the tees hard against the wall, but I remember my par there felt like a birdie. It's a bit like a long version of the 1st at Prestwick.

To be honest, starting at the 10th with a huge drop off to the right of the green, it is a very tough slog home into prevailing wind. A different proposition from the outward nine

And there's the obligatory caravan site right behind the 9th green/10th tee...

Niall C

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Re: Royal Troon, The Open 2016
« Reply #21 on: June 28, 2016, 01:26:25 PM »
Sean,

I can only presume that you are referring to inland golf when you say you rarely get any significant wind variation. Thatís certainly not true about links. Even Sheehy canít argue his way out of that one.

And once you have that variation in wind then it doesnít really matter what the yardage is on the card, itís how the course plays and there is plenty of variety out there. Sticking slavishly to the numbers isÖ..well, itís like rating a course before youíve played it, all on the basis of a plan and a scorecard, and that is wrong.


Niall

Niall C

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Re: Royal Troon, The Open 2016
« Reply #22 on: June 28, 2016, 01:30:06 PM »
What's the famous long par-4 11th like to play, the hole alongside the railway line? - http://www.royaltroon.com/courses/old-course/11
It looks pretty brutal, especially if played with the carry from the right hand tees, the more so into the wind.

Atb


As Matt suggests, a par is had earned. It's one of those holes with no real bail out, you just have to commit, whereas other holes give you a bit of leeway. For me the approach with the wall hard up against the green on the right hand side makes the hole.


Niall

Sean_A

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Re: Royal Troon, The Open 2016
« Reply #23 on: June 28, 2016, 02:06:25 PM »
Sean,

I can only presume that you are referring to inland golf when you say you rarely get any significant wind variation. Thatís certainly not true about links. Even Sheehy canít argue his way out of that one.

And once you have that variation in wind then it doesnít really matter what the yardage is on the card, itís how the course plays and there is plenty of variety out there. Sticking slavishly to the numbers isÖ..well, itís like rating a course before youíve played it, all on the basis of a plan and a scorecard, and that is wrong.


Niall


Niall


Rubbish.  I have played plenty of links to know that wind rarely changes significantly during a round.  I can count on one hand how many times the wind has shifted so that it was against or in favour for the entire 18 (or nearly) on an out n' back links.  How can it be that your experience is so different from mine?  I think you exaggerate my friend. In any case, I am not buying your product.  You are using the rarity to generalize.


Ciao 
New plays planned for 2023: Clyne

Thomas Dai

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Re: Royal Troon, The Open 2016
« Reply #24 on: June 28, 2016, 02:59:17 PM »
Are the dunes at Troon sufficiently high that the wind is likely to funnel or change direction as it blows between and over them?

As a general point, I have heard it said (particularly about the heavily grandstanded Open) that the positioning of the spectator grandstands can have an appreciable effect on wind flow, air turbulence, etc. And wind direction, air turbulence and speed changes with height/altitude.

Atb

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