Royal Troon Golf Club is a links golf course located in Troon, South Ayrshire, Scotland. The club was founded in 1878, initially with five holes. Its Old Course is now one of the host courses for The Open Championship, one of the four major championships . The Club has hosted the Open eight times.
Though a relative latecomer to the Open Championship circuit, Troon has hosted the famous championship seven times, the most recent of which was when Justin Leonard triumphed in 1997. The aura of history at Troon is matched by its list of champions — Bobby Locke, Arnold Palmer, Tom Weiskopf, Tom Watson and Mark Calcavecchia - each one a legend and a worthy match for this superb venue.
A classic links course in every respect, the golfer is eased into the challenge with each hole appearing to get progressively tougher. Narrow fairways lined with trouble make tee shots critical, its bunkers are punishing and Troon's small greens require touch and imagination. Running straight out and back along the coast, Troon often changes dramatically from front nine to back. As those who witnessed the fish floundering on the 4th green during the 1952 Home International will testify, when that prevailing wind blows, it really does blow.
Though boasting many superb holes, there can be little argument about Troon's most famous hole. At 126 yards, the par 3 eighth "The Postage Stamp" may be the shortest hole in British Open golf but it has certainly notched up its fair share of victims.
The severely trapped green is conducive to the golfing equivalent of Ping-Pong and has borne witness to a triple bogey by Tiger Woods in 1997 and an amazing 15 by a certain Open contender in 1950. Perhaps fittingly though, the great Gene Sarazen did manage a hole in one here on the 50th anniversary of his first appearance in the Championship.
The 2004 Open Championship was held at Royal Troon, and was won by Todd Hamilton in a 4-hole playoff against Ernie Els. Past Open champions at Troon include Justin Leonard, Mark Calcavecchia, Tom Watson, Tom Weiskopf, Arnold Palmer, Bobby Locke and Arthur Havers.
Royal Troon is home to both the longest and shortest holes in Open Championship golf. The par-3 8th hole ("Postage Stamp") measures a short 123 yards (112 m) and is regarded as one of the top holes in the world, while the par-5 6th ("Turnberry") is 601 yards (550 m) long.
Consistently ranked as one of the world's best links courses, Royal Troon was created by the hand of Willie Fernie, one of the great early British golfers in 1878. Frequent host to the British Open, perhaps the most apt description of the course is provided by the club motto — "Tam Arte Quam Marte", which means "as much by skill as by strength".