Saturday, January 28, 2006

Royal Troon


Royal Troon (ranked #38 in the world) is not one of my favorite courses. The course itself is an out-and-back layout that didn't really grab me as being that special. The Postage Stamp 8th hole is a notable exception. It is a fun, interesting and challenging hole, but otherwise I would rank Troon last among all the Open Championship courses in the British Isles. Sometimes you might not like a course because you played poorly on the day you played it. I can't blame that for my dislike of Troon. I shot the second lowest score of any course in the top 100 so far and played well. We played the course several days after the 2004 Open Championship and I played the 10th (Sandhills) and 11th (Railway) holes, which were the two most difficult in the Championship, in one under par. Since my handicap is in the low double digits, I did alright.

First I would like to go on the record and say that I respect the history of Royal Troon: formed in 1878; the importance of its past professionals: Fernie and Strath, in golf history; host to the Open Championship with Watson, Palmer and Weiskopf as winners; its Royal patronage. However, the current guardians of the course aren't exactly playing up to par.

A true measure of a club's worth is how well it treats its visitors, and Troon doesn't treat you very well. First, it is difficult to get onto; they have many rules to make it hard to schedule a tee time, which is fine. It's their course and they get to make the rules. They limit guest play to only a couple of days a week and for a short time only each day. It appears to me like they are trying to be a Muirfield wanabee, although frankly, they are not even in the same league.

In any event, I was only able to schedule a twosome instead of the full foursome that was on our Scottish trip, so we split our group in two that day. This is primarily because they lost our initial request for a reservation made 11 months in advance; I had an email confirming that they received it. They were quite snooty nonetheless about their error. So a dear friend and I made the drive over from the East Coast of Scotland to play. We had a late afternoon tee time but were scheduled to play the Troon Portland course in the morning. Unlike all other courses in Britain which let you play their championship course only (often times twice), at Troon they pretty much force you to play, or at least pay for, their shite course as a revenue raising venture. We played the Portland course in the morning and it may be the most unimaginative course every built. When they decided to build the course the mandate to the architect must have been "make every hole ruler straight with flat greens and put only two greenside bunkers on each hole." The total budget to build this piece of crap was probably 100 pounds.



The Postage Stamp hole at Troon
After our morning round we went into the clubhouse to have lunch. Our afternoon tee time was scheduled for around 3:00 and the weather was predicted to worsen as the day went on. I went politely to ask the caddy master/starter if we could move up our tee time and he said no, even though there were two-somes going out earlier. Our caddie from the morning round had warned us that he was a jerk and was known to be looking to have his palms greased any way possible. I disappeared for a short while until several members standing nearby left and then slipped him a 20 pound note and said we would appreciate it if he could help us. This was honestly the first time at any golf course worldwide where I have done this or even thought about doing it. The way they have organized the place makes it part of the decorum.

The lunch itself was a terrible joke. They put visitors off in a back room of the clubhouse and the food was pitiful. It was a bad buffet. Bad to the point of being inedible. I almost never skip a meal but did on this day. I couldn't even eat the cookies, which were stale. Although only halfway through my 100 course quest I am now declaring it the worst food to be had anywhere on the journey. Even the state-run Bethpage Black offers a better menu and more ambiance. And for that matter, the Rikers Island prison probably has better food.

How hard is it to treat guests with respect? It's not like playing Troon was cheap compared with the other courses we've had to pay for. In fact, aside from Shadow Creek and Pebble Beach, it may be the most expensive course on the list at 185 pounds. At EVERY other single course I have played in the British Isles including Royal Portrush, Royal County Down, Prestwick, Muirfield, North Berwick, Carnoustie, Sunningdale, Ganton, Woodhall Spa, Wentworth, Kingsbarns, Cruden Bay, Turnberry and Royal Dornoch I was treated well. At two of the most storied, traditional and historic courses in the world (Muirfield and Prestwick) they allow you to sit in the members dining room and have a full course meal. At many of the other courses, the meals may not be elaborate, mostly simple sandwiches to order and a bowl of soup. But at least they give a damn to see that you experience some level of hospitality and don't treat you like a second-class citizen.


Troon with the gorse in bloom on a brilliant day
Back to the golf. Miraculously the caddy master came and found us and said he could indeed get us off earlier. What a surprise! So we played the rather boring layout and were underwhelmed. As a final insult at Troon they make you play from tees that are set at about 6,200 yards. While most courses won't let you play from the tips, they will at least let you play from a reasonable set of tees. Although, given the overall tone of the place, I'm sure it's another ploy to get more money. I'll bet if you slip the caddymaster another 100 pounds you can play further back, but that's just wrong.

So in summary the charms of Troon include:

1. Poor hospitality
2. World-class pompousness
3. Having to play their shite course in addition to the old course
4. The worst food in the golf world
5. Playing from tees way up
6. Being overcharged for the experience

If you're going to play a 6,200 yard course on the top 100 list, my personal vote is to remove Royal Troon entirely from the list and replace it with either Prestwick or North Berwick which are great courses. At those historic gems, you are treated with respect and as an added bonus you don't have to eat dog food or deal with the attitude.

My unsolicited advice to the R and A is drop Royal Troon from the Open Championship rota and add back in Royal Portrush or Kingsbarns, two courses that are worthy.


Post Script


We would note that the original creator of the top 100 worldwide list and a learned golf writer, also believes that Royal Troon is one of the top 10 overrated courses in the world. George Peper's description is more eloquent and concise than mine: "Six dull holes - six interesting holes - six dull holes."


Royal Troon's web site:



23 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am sorry to read that you less than enjoyed your day at Royal Troon Golf Club.
Your deflamatory remarks about everything the Club did or does seems a long way away from what nearly five and a half thousand Visitors from all over the world come for every year since I have been here since 1997.
It is of course your opinon and you are entitled to that freedom of speech but I know that you are indeed way off the mark.
We have a proud history here at the Club ( 8 Open Championships ) and would welcome another visit by you despite your comments to prove that you must have been having a bad day.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the previous comment. I have played the course once with my brothers and dad and can't wait to play again.. It was my favorite course of the twelve I've played, my brothers as well, even though it was far and way my worst score. The staff was fine, they didn't lay down rose pedals but who would. I'm playing again next year and can't wait. I would recommend the course to anyone. The food, however was less than desirable.

Anonymous said...

Sorry you didn't enjoy the course, personally I think it's the best test of golfing ability anywhere, and I've been around. What it isn't always, is the most enjoyable place to play golf, you have to be on your game.
Why is that being difficult to get on Royal Troon means the members are snooty, while being impossible to get on Augusta or Pine Valley without a member adds to the mystique. As for the service, in some areas Troon has improved in others not. The redeveloped clubhouse has apparently led to improved catering. The corruption amongst certain members of staff remains. I know exactly who you would have dealt with on the first tee, and it's a shame. My advice? Go again and insist on playing the white tees, it's a far better course.
Finally, Troon is almost always in pristine condition, way ahead of Carnoustie, St Andrews or Turnberry.

Anonymous said...

Interesting to read your comments on the Portland course. Straight holes? When I played it the other day, I counted at least 7 dog-legs, and 5 of the other 11 are par 3's, so I presume they're meant to be straight. Flat greens? Certainly, with the honourable exceptions of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 13th, 15th, 16th and 17th. They are also very small greens, and the best kept, along with Nairn that I have seen in Scotland. Bunkers front-left AND front-right? How dare they!!! After all that's where most poorly executed approaches end up - makes the game most difficult that. Clearly unfair. Only cost £100 to build? I believe (off the top of my head) that Royal County Down cost 5 guineas, maybe 7 tops, to Old Tom. My, it must be crap then. I would suggest that if Kingsbarns (great place to play golf, not a great test of golf) had had less spent on it, we may have ended up with one a truly special course, rather than an artificial parody of a Scottish links
Actually the Portland does have some dull holes, but your tone suggests you just wanted to bad-mouth Royal Troon, end of story. Your loss.

Anonymous said...

I've been fortunate enough to have been round all the Scottish courses on the list a fair few times, and while I would prefer not to decide on a favourite, the three that I undoubtedly anticipate the most are Turnberry, Muirfield and Troon. Troon admittedly only comes to real life from the longer tees as not only is length added but often height and a completely different angle.
They do have a bit of a hospitality problem at times, but mostly ineptness, not pomposity.
Let's get this clear though. YOU approached the starter, who is a complete jerk, with a bribe in order to gain an advantage. He did not approach you. You gained your advantage, no doubt causing disruption to other groups behind. This has happened to me at Troon thanks to jerks like you offering bribes. Then you, having initiated the transaction and without a trace of shame, complain about corruption! Now THAT is world class pomposity. I have never had any problem playing the competition tees at Troon (and occasionally with a friendly member, the tips - awesome). I found it enjoyably ironic that you thought you had to play the forward tees. Knowing you might offer, the starter was almost certainly looking for a further bribe. You reap what you sow.

Anonymous said...

I find it hard to take any of your blogs seriously after reading this. Royal Troon off the rota? You have no clue what tests a good player. Also, the Portland may not be top 100 material, but it doesn't pretend to be, and to call it shite only embarrasses you.

Anonymous said...

I played Royal Troon's Old Course in the summer of 2006. They must of gotten the note on the buffet; I found it to be excellent now. They were also doing some renovations to the clubhouse and everyone was very apolegetic about it which they didn't have to be. The starter was exceptionally friendly, daring us to play form the championship yardage. Holes 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12 is an incredible stretch of links golf. The course starts on flat, easy terrain, and finishes the same way. However, I like that. It eases the golfer into the round and allows for a chance for glory at the finish. I have played all nine current rota courses and two retired rota courses (Preswick and Royal Portrush). To delete Royal Troon from the current Rota would be insane. Anything else other than "hard by the sea" golf is derivate. As a result, I would desire to be a member at Troon more than any American club (I am Canadian by the way).

Anonymous said...

re your postscript. I don't think you can quote george peper to back up your (wrong) opinion, given as his favourite course is Fishers Island. Editing a golf magazine gives him a position of influence, it doesn't make him 'learned'. Over here he is seen as an R&A apologist - no surprise, he's a member - whose sentimentalist approach to Scottish golf is frankly patronising.

Anonymous said...

I've played Troon, and most of the big Scottish courses, a few times. Like you, I was unimpressed after the first round. Though it was unquestionably a great challenge, well worthy of an Open, it did indeed seem boring. Now that I've been round it about 25 times in the last 20 years, I can tell you that while it certainly has flaws, it's a GREAT track. The 6 dull, six interesting, six dull cliche is wrong. I would grant that there are some boring holes. The 3rd, 6th and 14th never excite me, though blame the R&A for the 6th, it was a brilliant hole until the green was unbelievably moved for spectator movement reasons. But even these holes are at least, like the others, decent, fair tests of ability. However, other holes like the 4th, which on first playing I would have described as an archetypal dull hole, actually require and provide more thought than the vast majority of golf holes anywhere. At the top of your backswing, you will always be wondering if your shot choice was the right option, and we know where doubt leads...
Just like good music, sometimes it takes a few plays to truly appreciate greatness, and I feel many people don't get Troon at first.
But, while I can understand your comments on the Old course, you do, as one other poster wrote, "embarrass yourself" with your comments on the Portland, and show a distinct lack of golfing knowledge. Yes it has some fearfully dull holes (especially 1, 12 and 18), but the 2nd, with it's tiny green on a hard to hit shelf, would grace any Open course, while the par 3 8th, with it's smaller-than-the-Postage Stamp green is a superb par 3. In fact all 5 par 3's are good holes, albeit 3 of them are the same length. Then there's the 17th, a perfect example of a strategy-over-strength short par 4. As well as these, nobody who plays golf could ever describe the 3rd, or the 7th or the 9th as "shite". In doing so you showed that you just wanted to sound off about what is, in actual fact, a perfectly typical club, with as many snobs, good guys, dicks, down-to-earth types, and colourful characters as make up all clubs.

Top 100 Golfer said...

I must say, I like this last comment quite a bit. No joking around, this is one of the best comments I have received. I understand your analysis of the championship course and hope to play it again next year. Perhaps, like the Old Course at St. Andrews it takes some getting used to, which I am willing to see. You also make a good point regarding how the R & A changes courses. While I may concede some points on the Old Course, I am standing firm on my assessment of Portland course. It truly doesn't have character. It clearly doesn't help the way the club forces you to play it and treats it like a second class course, wasn't maintained particularly well when I played it either. In any event, thanks for your thoughtful comments.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your reply to the above post. Further to your Portland remarks, and I'm not trying to start an argument here, I couldn't believe it when you described the course as badly maintained, and it was only when I read your blog that I realised you played it in the aftermath of the Open. In actual fact the Portland is wonderfully looked after. Indeed, when the R&A agronomist was asked a year or so back what he felt was the condition of the old course at Troon, he replied that it was the second best-kept course in Scotland, behind the Portland. Alas, great as the Open is, it plays havoc with the surroundings, and the Portland bears the brunt, being used as a car park, practice ground and facilities area. It always looks bad until the following spring. Condition is not a problem. It is certainly not considered a second class course. Is it right that Royal Troon force you to play it? Personally I don't mind it. For all the poor holes, and there are some I grant you, there are moments of real quality. Perhaps if you played it again with a better frame of mind you'd see the good points a bit better. In my experience most people find the Portland a pleasant antidote to the brutalities of the Old course. As it's their club the members are entitled to 'force' visitors to pay for both courses. Is it right? It's their decision, not ours, so we shouldn't even ask the question. Is Royal Troon value for money? Well, for the same money I could play Western Gailes and Prestwick, two courses that are in some respects as good or better than Troon, and still have enough for a round or two on the local municipal, so I personally would say no. But if I did that, I wouldn't play a course that is on the Open rota, in better condition than these courses, provides the best test of my golf, and I wouldn't get to play the Postage Stamp. Demand to play Troon is high, so they can charge high fees, and by charging high fees they can keep numbers down to improve the condition of the course. Any sensible club would do the same. I'd rather pay £200+ for both courses, than £200+ for one. Oh, and next time you play Troon, just walk straight to the white tees, say you're an 8 and tee off, It's FAR better from the whites...

Anonymous said...

There is one massive irony in your call to remove Troon from the rota, and that is that if the course had never held the Open your review would have probably gone along the lines of this.
"Troon opens with a stretch of pretty, but gentle holes alongside the beach. There's just enough trouble to keep you thinking, but once the spectacular setting of the par3 5th is out the way, the fun really begins, starting with a do-or-die approach over a deep gully to the long 6th. After that it's all blind holes and sand dunes, with holes whose quirkyness rival those of near neighbour Prestwick. The best is probably a short par3 they call the Postage Stamp. After 4 blind shots in 3 holes you reach the end of a loop at a wonderful thread-it-through-the-dunes approach at 12. Then it's a tough run for home into the prevailing wind, with a wonderful setting for the 18th green in front of the watchful gaze of the windows of the small grey sandstone clubhouse. The atmosphere in here is very old school - jackets and ties are a must. In my opinion Troon has the potential, with a few new back tees, to hold the Open, and should probably be in the top 100"
And here's the point, if Troon had never held the Open it would match say, North Berwick and Prestwick, in your eyes, with all the bizarre things that you find there. That's not a criticism of what you like, but Troon is what it is due to the Open. Whether it's the lack of quirks, the enlarged clubhouse, with resulting loss of atmosphere but improved facilities, (and I'm meaning the work done since 1970, not just the recent work), the overblown green fees, (and they are, but people want to see the Open courses, so demand is high), the re-routing of holes, even the Royal prefix - all these and more have happened because of the Open. Not all changes will be seen as for the better by all. To it's credit, Royal Troon wears its status very well. Visit it any summer, and the course will play exactly like it would for an Open - same width of fairways, same height of rough, and same condition of greens. How many courses can say that?
Portrush is clearly close to Open quality, but the R&A would be straight in to rebunker in particular. Kingsbarns? Not even close. A complete redesign, particularly of bunkers and fairway lines would be required. I suspect you would end up enjoying it less. It's designed for the average golfer, so enjoy it, revel in it, and instead make sure the Open never goes near it. I love Troon, but even I would concede it's there to test your golf, not necessarily for your enjoyment. The world needs Troon just as it needs Prestwick, North Berwick or Kingsbarns. In fact I would not list Troon in the top 100 for fun, but it's probably top 10-20 for being a test, (and that doesn't just mean tough, indeed, I think Troon rewards good shots like few other courses) so 38-40 is probably about right. Oh, the back tees do make a huge difference, it's what Troon's about. Quite simply, though it's a good course, it's only a great course if you play at least the 6650 tees, and can hit the ball 230+ through the air, (fewer people can do that than think they can). Incidentally, they do allow people to play those tees, but recommend higher handicaps to play forward. However at £200+ you have a strong bargaining tool to demand to play back a bit. They want your money as much as you want to play the course. Just keep moving if you do play back.
I could pull you up mischieveously on a few of your other comments, and may do at a later date, but I'll stop at one more. You must be the first person to ever describe an Alistair Mackenzie course as "shite". It may not have been his finest, but he felt strongly enough about it to defend it against Gene Sarazen's criticism after 1923 Open qualifying. It does have dull moments, and needs modernising in places, but it has some really nice holes in great condition. Wouldn't travel thousands of miles to play it, but while I'm in the area, it's a decent course.
Incidentally I'm definitely not a member there, but I used to caddy regularly on all the Ayrshire courses, so you can decide if I have a bias, but I think I'm being fair.

Top 100 Golfer said...

I must say on some of my negative reviews people just attack me (Fishers Island), but the commentary I'm getting on Royal Troon is thoughtful and engaging. I again concede some valid point on the analysis of Royal Troon vis-a-vis Kingsbarns, although I don't see any of the quirkiness of a North Berwick or Prestwick at Troon. The Portland course surely can't be attributed to Mackenzie, it doesn't seem like any other course he designed. I did play it after the Open Championship, where it was used as a car park, so I admit it may not have been in its best form, but it was as poor a course as I have played in the British Isles. I also said that Troon should come off the rota prior to having played Birkdale. I would remove Birkdale, before Troon.

Anonymous said...

That was my point, Troon used to be quirky, but has changed because of the Open. I suspect you, and many others, would prefer Troon if it hadn't changed. I can assure you that the Portland IS a Mackenzie design, but few, if any, members at Troon are aware of it. However, though the layout is as he designed, many of his bunkers, and indeed many of the bunkers on the old course, were lost in WW2. I would agree that these need to be looked at, but as I say, the course is definitely his. I would not be surprised if you've stuck to the main courses to find you calling it the poorest course you've played over here, but it does have some really nice touches, and is not shite. As I said it needs reworked or updated, and has the potential to be a really fun 'sporty' course that balances nicely the tougher Old course. Happy golfing.

Jack said...

Really enjoy your blog. Your list is very impressive. I must tell you a quick Troon story. Played there in mid 90s. We had to wait for a foursome ahead of us to pay. The man in charge,or he seemed in charge,asked us where we were from and we told him Houston TX. He said Thank God, if he had to deal with another group from New York like the group before us, he would quit his job. He went on a typical anti New York rant,about how rude everyone from the area is. I can tell you they treated us as good or better than any of the courses we played in Scotland,and we played them all. We sat in the grill with the members and had our lunch. It wasnt a great lunch,but if you can find edible food anywhere in Scotland,I consider you lucky. I thought the back nine at Troon,it was into a wee sea breeze(a very strong wind)was the toughest nine in all of Scotland.

Anonymous said...

Ha-ha that previous comment must be about Bill McKnight the long retired caddy-master. You could always tell the days he'd fallen out with his wife. And yes, he detested New Yorkers, but at other times could be a fantastic character. As a caddy I will say that I've only ever fallen out with two players in over 20 years. Both were New Yorkers. Most New Yorkers are fine, but the North-East, ie New York and Boston, does seem to have a life-style that seems at odds with the Scottish outlook on life. Maybe it's a certain arrogance, e.g. offering bribes and then slamming the club for taking them. Heck that's like Nixon saying that it was time to get tough on crime when he heard that there had been a break-in at the Watergate hotel. Incidentally, the odious character you would have dealt with has now retired, (was retired), and the new caddy-master, while sometimes inadvertantly rude, is unbribable(won't even accept tips!). Unbribable too is the new starter,(nice guy, does accept tips), so don't be flashing the cash in the hope of making a gain. Despite your comments, I hope you return. Maybe you'll start to get an inkling of what the course is really about.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your impression of Troon in part. I think that the segregated visitors lunch coupled with the sky-high fees make a visitor feel unwelcome. The impression I left with is that Troon will hold its nose and bank the fees as long as the rif raf are kept out of sight and mind. If they have such a lowly attitude towards visitors they should up the membership subscription and close the course to unsponsored visitors. I do not say this lightly as I am aware it is a privilege to play private clubs as a visitor. I just don't enjoy rebutting the presumption that as a visitor I may or may not be more welcome than a cockroach.

I thought the course itself was good, I can see why the pros like it. It is a "fair" course like Birkdale - lacking a bit of the serendipity and character that I love in a links.

Anonymous said...

I played both courses in August '07 and I must say I agree with many of your comments. We were required to play the Portland course and after 12 holes we decided to stop because it felt like a local muni course and wanted to save our legs for the real challenge of the championship course. After a terrible buffet we went to hook up with our 4 caddies but were informed that they were very busy that day and didn't have enough for our round. We made reservations a year in advance and confirmed twice that we had caddies, and to be told sorry we over booked was very frustrating and will agree the manner that they dismissed us was very unprofessional. The most insincere apology I've heard. The course however was excellent and dificult and I would definitely play it again. We would have enjoyed it much more with caddies as carrying your bags and walking 30 holes in 20+ mph winds is a long day and by the end was happy to be finished. Overall it's a great historic course but would agree that of the 7 Championship courses we played while in Scotland they were the least accomodating of any of them. I talk about my trip often with other golfers and my normal comment about Troon is just pay the money and skip the morning round, cross your fingers they provide a caddie, go somewhere else to eat, and you'll enjoy a fantastic golf course.

Anonymous said...

Since your blog was written, much has changed, off the course, at least. A complete change of staff in the last couple of years has resulted in a far better atmosphere for visitors, in my opinion. The corruption, which you encouraged, is gone. Thanks to the recession, the Portland (which is a better than decent course, but neither shite nor great) is no longer compulsory, and nor is lunch. The buffet has gone for those that do lunch, and though I've not tried it, I've got good feedback about the meals that are provided instead, including a few VERY favourable comments. You were never put in a backroom for lunch, the Ailsa room looks over the 18th green after all, nor were you segregated, it was just that members, in the past, tended to snack in the dirty bar. Now the clubhouse upgrade has finished most members lunch in the Ailsa room as well. It is a better atmosphere as a result. To the guy that didn't get caddies, almost no course in Scotland guarantees caddies, visitor and caddy numbers vary too much from day-to-day to do so. You were unlucky, because with my experience at various courses, Troon does better than most at providing caddies for all that ask in advance for them. On course not much has changed, except that Royal Troon remains, in my opinion, one of the two best tests of golf in Scotland. Muirfield is the other. Play it again, and play from the whites, (As a double digit handicapper they will ask you to play forward, they will not tell you to play forward. There is a difference). It is a better course. Don't blame me if you have a disaster though.

Top 100 Golfer said...

Thank you to the last person that commented for a rationale response. Since many people think I am too harsh or make things up, it is nice to see someone acknowledge that what I experienced actually happened. Second, I can indeed confirm that visitors are treated better at Troon. I was there last year after playing Loch Lomond, but had to leave a day early. My traveling mates played Troon and had a completely different experience than I had, pretty much just as you described it. Thanks for the comment.

Anonymous said...

Not going to comment on the course, because everyone will have their own opinions- that said, I was there this past summer for a round by myself. One of the members' who lives close, came and walked the course for the first three holes to keep me company. The only reason he couldn't play was because he tore his achilles weeks before. I have never seen such hospitality and won't soon forget that kind gesture.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Top 100, I have been reading your blog since you were a long way from the finish line, and this is the first comment I have written...

I played Troon yesterday, and frankly after reading your comments (and several others around the internet about Troon that may not have been as harsh, but were still somewhat negative), I must admit I wasn't that enthusiastic about playing the course. After all, it was sandwiched between Turnberry and Prestwick on my itinerary. I was excited to play a rota course, but in my mind I was thinking I would check the box and move on.

I was so wrong. My experience was the complete opposite of yours. The staff and members were incredibly friendly and welcoming. Several members went out of their way to strike up conversations about our trip and the course. The course was very challenging and had plenty of quirk. Fairways had large humps and hollows, and greens were slick and true. The greens may not have had quite the dramatic rolls of other links, but considering the length of some of the approaches and speed and conditioning of the greens, that would have been over-the-top difficult in my opinion. They were more Shinnecock and less National to use a comparison closer to your hometown. It is a very tough mental test of driving because in addition to some blind shots, there are several where the visuals are intimidating--you can see the fairway beyond a mountain of sand or a forest of gorse, leaving you feeling unsettled. Also, you can't blindly reach for driver, but often need 3W or hybrid to stay in an optimal position. Caddies are a must.

After the course, we sat among members and ordered the best lunch I have had on the trip in the clubhouse. Obviously, the club has made great strides since your initial review. I was blown away by the total experience and recommend a revisit. (Not because I took any offense at your comment--I have no reason to defend Troon--only because I think you are missing out)

Admittedly, I just skipped the Portland and just viewed the round as an expensive one. Also, I moved back to the white tees on the third hole. It was definitely worth it. I thought the course was much better than Turnberry, which I played twice. I would say their respective positions in the rankings should be switched.

Top 100 Golfer said...

Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I have two friends who accompany me on many of my trips and they played Troon at a different time than I did and their experience was similar to yours. Maybe I just hit them on a bad day, nice to see they are treating visitors better, not that hard to do and obviously makes a big difference.