Royal Troon countdown: 8 days to go
11th hole. The Railway – 482 yards, par 4
This could well be the most fearsome hole in Open Championship golf although as recently as Mark Calcavecchia’s victory in 1989 the hole was played as a par 5. The sight from the tree consists of a sea of gorse apart from the railway line lying out of bounds to the right.
Judging the best line from the tee is half the challenge for the drive. If the full carry is considered too tough, a drive of pin point accuracy is required to find the fairway as yet more gorse lies in wait immediately to the left of the landing area.
Since Ernie Els kept his challenge alive in 2004 by making such an incredible par from a ball perched halfway up a brush, some of the gorse at the far end of the carry on a direct line to the hole has been replaced with heather.
The rear two tees have been enlarged since The Open in 2004.
The hole name… (The Railway)
Named after the railway line which runs alongside the hole.
- The rear two tees enlarged
- Gorse replaced with heather at the end of the longest carry to the fairway
- Gorse removed beyond the landing area to allow for spectator viewing
Architect Martin Ebert explains..
“A fearsome hole from the back tee tight to the railway, from where you drive over a sea of gorse. Where do you hit it?!
“The pros might not see the gorse but in the Amateur into any wind you had to err left in case you couldn’t carry the gorse… and then you can kick across into the gorse on the left if it is running fast. A friend of mine gave 23 different rulings on this hole during The Amateur.
“There was photographic evidence of heather-covered dunes up the hole and I wondered whether we should be restoring the beautiful, colourful heather.
“The undulations are so good on the dunes, which gorse hides – but Peter Dawson’s view was that it was removing some of the hazard, the terror, the spectacle.
“So we’ve taken some away at the far end and replaced it with heather. The green sits up high cut into the dune, whereas it used to sit lower down.”