Great Holes in Golf: 15th, Royal Troon (Crosbie)

Courses and Travel

Architect Martin Ebert discusses the 499-yard par 4 at Royal Troon.

When the Open competitors tee up on this hole in next month’s Open, they will be aiming at a completely new fairway landing area.

Well, in fact, it is not quite new. Instead it is a restoration of the hole alignment which was played during the Open in 1923.

This became clear following the discovery of a wonderful illustration of the course for the event which was published prior to that Open in the Illustrated London News.

Plans were already afoot to take the hole away from the Old Course’s boundary road to the right of the hole for this year’s Open.

 

The road will be a busy thoroughfare during the event so logistically the movement of the tees for the hole and the first part of the fairway well to the left made a lot of sense. Any unease felt by the members of the club was dispelled by the discovery of the illustration.

Quite incredibly, it showed that the chosen alignment was exactly the same as that played in 1923. In the intervening years the tees and fairway had been moved to the right, possibly due to low areas of the old fairway lying wet during the winter months.

In order to ensure dry conditions for the restored fairway, levels have been raised considerably. Hence the new fairway has been shaped from where it starts to where it joins up with the wonderful undulations of the second part of the hole.

The photograph here shows the undulations which have been created in the new fairway area and illustrate that even with large modern machinery it is possible to mimic nature’s wonderful sand dune undulations.

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