A Guide to Enjoying Royal Troon

By Brian HewittJune 30, 2004, 4:00 pm
One of the first things you should know about Royal Troon, the site of this year's Open Championship, is this: When it's dry and firm, which is most of the time in the month of July, it looks more like Royal Moon.
 
The crowds and the tents only mitigate slightly the sense and feel of a lunar landscape. But don't get the idea that it will take a pinball wizard to conquer the caprices of the bumps and hollows and wacky bounces like it did last year at Royal St. Georges.
 
Royal Troon is a more traditional British Open venue. Typically, the wind blows downwind for most of the front nine (woe to the player who isn't three or four under at the turn) and into the teeth of the prevailing wind coming home. There are four par-4s on the back nine that measure longer than 450 yards. And even for today's players, they can play as three-shotters.
 
Justin Leonard won this venerable championship in 1997, the last time Royal Troon hosted, because he was more patient and putted better than anybody else in the field. Leonard also knows a thing or two about how to control his ball flight in the breeze.
 
The previous four British Open winners at Royal Troon were also Americans. Mark Calcavecchia beat Wayne Grady and Greg Norman in a four-hole playoff in 1989. Tom Watson captured the fourth of his five Open championships by pipping Nick Price and Peter Oosterhuis at the post by a shot in 1982. Tom Weiskopf, who has matured into an even better course designer than he was a player, won there in 1973. And the ever-popular Arnold Palmer emerged victorious in 1962.
 
The majors, when you think about it, are no different than any other tournament in this respect: If you can get yourself into position by the time the final nine holes arrive late Sunday afternoon, you can win if you get your putter hot at the right time. Oh by the way, Bobby Locke, believed by many to be the greatest putter who ever lived, won the British Open by two shots over Roberto De Vicenzo at Royal Troon in 1950.
 
Two more things you must know about Royal Troon if you are fortunate enough to be there for the tournament: Gentleman are required to remove their hats upon entering the clubhouse. If you forget, there will be a stern club official at the entranceway to remind you. He will be more annoyed than polite about your indiscretion.
 
If you want to watch play on the charming and famed Postage Stamp Hole (so named because of its tiny green), it will take you about 40 minutes to walk there from the clubhouse. It will be worth it. This tiny 123-yard eighth is where Tiger Woods made a triple in 1997 while still in contention. Gene Sarazen, at age 71, aced the Postage Stamp hole, with a 7-iron in 1973. It is the shortest hole in the Open rota.
 
Royal Troon isn't the purest venue for the British Open (Muirfield is); nor is it the most historic (St. Andrews is). It doesn't have the sweeping seaside views of Turnberry or the outright nastiness of Carnoustie. But its place in the rota is unquestioned. Its challenges are clear. Its examinations are unfailing. And its mercies are not tender.
 
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
 
Related links:
  • Course Tour - Royal Troon
  • Full Coverage - 133 British Open
  • Getty Images

    Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

    By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

    JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

    The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

    Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

    Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

    There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

    Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

    Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

    None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

    An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

    In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

    Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


    Playing with the pros

    Tiger, DJ and Faxon

    Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

    Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

    Rory faces criticism

    Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

    Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'


    President at the Presidents Cup


    Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

    Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

    Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump


    Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

    Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

    Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


    Cart on the green


    Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


    Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


    Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

    Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

    Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National


    Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


    Trump golf properties

    Vandalism

    Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

    Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses

    Finances


    Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

    Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

    Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

    Reportedly fake TIME covers


    Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


    Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

    Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

    Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up


    Pros comment on the president

    Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

    Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

    Getty Images

    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

    Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

    Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

    With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

    Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

    The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

    Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

    In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.