Meeting the fans: Thumbs up for Royal Troon
Getting up close and personal with the stars, soaking up the electric atmosphere, oh, and watching some amazing golf – for many, this year’s Open has been an experience they are unlikely to forget.
Fans in their thousands have descended on the usually quiet South Ayrshire town of Troon for four action-packed days of golf.
The championship offers people the chance to get within touching distance of their favourite players and huge grandstands sit atop most of the holes offering great views from the comfort of a seat.
And this year’s tournament at Royal Troon has been warmly received by fans, many of whom travelled huge distances to get a taste of the action.
Only the unpleasant Scottish weather and a lack of comfortable seating were seen as the negatives.
David Bendle, 52, from Southampton, who was enjoying his second Open tournament, said: “It has been absolutely fantastic. It’s just the access to the action. You are really close to the action, which is really good compared to other sporting events.
“I went to St Andrews last year. It has been pretty similar, which is a good thing. Not even the weather is a bad thing. The weather is what makes it because it’s a links competition.”
Julie Glennie, 35, from Aberdeen, was attending with her golf-mad husband Derek. She said: “It’s really well organised. It’s nice to see the players up close and everything is well laid out. Although, it would be great if there were more comfortable places to sit.”
(Julie Glennie and husband Derek)
Ruth Moffett, 25, from Glasgow, added: “It’s nice that you can walk around the different holes and sit in the grandstands. Everyone is nice and the players are really appreciative of the support. The only thing I don’t like is the weather.”
A lot of technology also goes into staging this huge annual production; massive screens offer instant updates on how the field is faring and logging onto the Open WiFi is possible from nearly every corner of the course.
And that is something 53-year-old Ian Johnstone, from Paisley near Glasgow, fully appreciates.
“The technology is fantastic,” he said. “The information is great – which group is coming up, who is scoring well. You feel part of the whole experience. The only thing I don’t enjoy is the weather but there is not much you can do about it. It’s a great atmosphere.”
Fifty-eight-year-old Corey Levine travelled all the way from Florida in the United States to fulfil his dream of watching the Open and he was loving every minute of it.
He said: “For me, as a golfer, it’s the history and the prestige of the Open. I’m from America and this is a once-in-a-lifetime for me. To be here is absolutely terrific.”
The whole Open experience will also hopefully leave a lasting impression on some of the youngsters trying to get into the game.
Thirteen-year-old Christian Johnson, from Liverpool, who was at Troon with his dad Kenny, was excited to be following round world No 1 Jason Day.
He said: “It’s fantastic. Getting to watch the golfers and seeing Jason Day make a birdie, it’s just brilliant.”