Background on Royal Troon, Host of the 2016 Open Championship

By Ann Marie Roberts
July 7, 2016


The British Open, known globally as The Open Championship, is just around the corner, but only in time as the location is being held over the pond at the Royal Troon Golf Club in Troon, South Ayrshire in Scotland. Royal Troon Golf Club is no amateur when it comes to hosting the Open, as they have hosted 8 times prior to the 145th playing.

If you are an American player your odds are looking in your favor as well, as the last 6 Opens have been won by Americans when played at Royal Troon. With the last Open held there in 2004, this year is shaping up to be another exciting one in Scotland.

Flashback of 2004 and Todd Hamilton vs.  Ernie Els:

Royal Troon History

Royal Troon was founded in 1878 and began with only 5 holes and a converted railway carriage as the clubhouse. Over the next 138 years this facility has gone through some of the greatest changes in any golfing venue. From a new stone clubhouse with magnificent views of seas of green as far as the eye can see to one of the most difficult layouts of any course with its unforgiving roughs and deep, difficult sand traps.

In the beginning the club had successive Dukes that owned the land, take an interest in the club. The Club’s first Captain, James Dickie, was knowledgeable about Troon’s landscape. He knew the links well and developed a plan to include golf, in the activities surrounding Troon. He laid out and presented his plan exactly where the course should be and Charlie Green, Keeper of the Green, laid out 6 greens, some of which are still in play today.

Just 6 months after they started the first competition was held. James Dickie didn’t stop there and with his financial help and energy 4 years later they had 12 holes and eventually 18 holes with a new clubhouse.

In 1883, Willie Fernie won the Open Championship. In 1887, he became the second Pro to hold the position and remained there for 37 years. He became a formative figure for the club and helped with many of the improvements, designs and layouts over the years. In 1895, he created the Portland Course which is now part of the package when playing Royal Troon today.

Royal Troon Golf Club has both the longest and the shortest holes to be played in Open Championship Golf. The shortest hole, known as Postage Stamp, is only 123 yards. The green however, is a mere 420 square feet, making the target a little less accessible.

The longest hole is #6, known as Turnberry, measuring 601 yards in length is by far one of the toughest holes. A straight drive will put you between bunkers that line both sides of the fairway, and by your 3rd shot you will want to keep it out of the vicious bunker that lies 30 yards from the left side of the green and the thick, unforgiving rough around the right side. Though it is a par 5 it seems to rarely be a birdie hole.

The 145th British Open at Royal Troon should see some exciting and impressive golf. With the prevailing Northwesterly winds on the back 9, they will have to start their charge early. We’ll have to wait and see if an American will take the title again for the 7th straight year.

Don’t be surprised either if we see more events in the future as Royal Troon just passed the vote to allow female members. After 138 years history is still in the making at Royal Troon Golf Club.

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