Royal Troon Golf Club is a links golf course adjacent to the Firth of Clyde in Troon, South Ayrshire. At about a 40-minute drive southwest of Glasgow, it’s easy to stop by Royal Troon for a quick round.
And you should. Though it had only five holes when it was founded in 1878, Royal Troon now has a staggering 45. Talk about the royal treatment! Speaking of, it’s worth noting that Royal Troon holds the distinction of being the first and last club in Great Britain to be granted “royal” status under the longstanding reign of Queen Elizabeth II. It was granted the designation in 1978, the year of the club’s centenary.
The original course at Royal Troon Golf Club was completed in 1888, a decade after the club was founded. The course was designed by the trio of George Strath, the club’s first professional, 1882 Open champion Willie Fernie, and Charlie Hunter, greenskeeper of the neighboring Prestwick Golf Club.
James Braid modified the course extensively before Royal Troon hosted its first-ever Open Championship in 1923. It hasn’t changed much since then, save for new back tees on several holes. The course opens with six fairly easy seaside holes and begins to increase in difficulty starting at the seventh, when the course turns inland.
Things get even trickier at the eighth, a diminutive par three measuring just 123 yards. Originally named “Ailsa,” the hole’s current moniker, “Postage Stamp,” comes from an article written by Willie Park for Golf Illustrated. He likened the size of the pitching surface to that of a postage stamp, and the name stuck.
This is the hole where Gene Sarazen, then aged 71, scored a historic ace during the 1973 Open. With any luck, maybe you can do the same. A word of advice on this hole: Avoid the coffin bunker on the left, or look forward to an almost certain bogey.