Tam Arte Quam Marte at Troon

by LINKS75 on August 29, 2013

Post image for Tam Arte Quam Marte at Troon

LINKS75 makes itself comfortable in the clubhouse’s inner sanctum – light-brown, leather armchairs, and enjoys a quiet coffee before it’s time to tee off. Outside awaits the 8-times host of the British Open – Royal Troon, which will once again have that honour in 2016. Through the panoramic window we see Ailsa Craig on the horizon. Number 74.

The Starter asks for our handicap – “You can choose the white tees sir,” – “Thank you, but today we choose happiness – yellow.” We smile Colgate-smiles to ourselves. White tees on a British Open course, on the very course where Jesper Parnevik had one hand on the Claret Jug in 1997. We play into the wind off the sea and are in good position for our approach. “Excellent,” says the Starter before we head off onto the 1st fairway. From the 1st to the 6th we follow the sea. Design, configuration and putting are all in LINKS75 class – pure enjoyment. On the 7th – a 405-yard par 4 from the Open tee – we turn inland and the landscape changes drastically: sand dunes; a slight dogleg right; biting bunkers, and a narrow green with wonderful, shallow, sunken bunkers on the right of protective sand dunes. A wonderful hole, where from the tee the course’s treasures come closer.

Postage Stamp, Troon

Postage Stamp, Troon

The 8th is the shortest hole on the Open circuit and one of the most famous par 3s in the world – “Postage Stamp”. From the open tee 123 yards; an elevated narrow green; five waiting bunkers – the left-hand bunker was added in 1923 on the advice of James Braid, which was later moved from the sand dune to the same level as the green, according to evil tongues as a result of the German amateur who scored 15 on the hole in 1950 – “The Coffin” still today is a daunting challenge. LINKS75 makes par and goes on with head held high. The 9th – a par 4 – before the turn invites us to visit gorse. the 10th – a par 4 – has a big hollow containing elephant grass at driver distance and a bell worthy of the Onedin Line. The 11th – “The Railway” – a par 4 – has a terrifying tee shot all of 488 yards from the Open tee: narrow; railway track to the right; gorse left; surgical precision – almost like a laser. At the 12th we are out among the dunes again. The 13th has a fairway as convoluted as a moon landscape.

15th green, Troon

15th green, Troon

On the 16th – par 5 – the burn from the 3rd turns up again. Lay up if your drive is under 300 yards. LINKS75 plays safe and is rewarded with a birdie. Bubbling with joy – real manicured links, wonderfully designed – big smiles. On The 17th – a part 3 – “Rabbit”. the chief rabbit comes hopping. Course groundsmen gather. We hit a controlled draw to the middle of the green. A slight nod of the head from our demanding audience. The 18th – clubhouse in the middle – pin furthest back – dare we? With Lytham fresh in our memory we lay up short and putt for par. Back in the serenity of our leather armchairs. Troon – like a Daft Punk summer hit, elegant and tasteful, playfully joyful. Troon – Royal Troon – played with skill and power.

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