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Royal Troon (Portland)

Troon, Scotland
Troon, Scotland
Rankings
  • AddressCraigend Rd, Troon KA10 6EP, UK
  • Championships hosted

The Portland course – named after the Dukes of Portland who did much in the 19th century to generate wealth in the area with the construction of docks at Troon harbour and the creation of coal mines in nearby Kilmarnock – is a fine links layout that is, unfortunately, totally overshadowed by the championship course.

It was designed by the second Royal Troon professional, Willie Fernie and opened for play in 1896, though it wasn’t until the year after the club held its first Open in 1923 (and Fernie retired after 37 years of service) that its name was changed from the Relief course to the Portland course. Dr Alister MacKenzie is thought to have had a hand in reworking some of the holes at this time.

The Portland measures just under 6,300 yards with a par of 71 and it lies between the Old course, the practice ground and the 9-hole Craigend course on one side and the Glasgow-Ayr railway line on the other – many may have had their car directed onto one of the fairways here when the Open is at Troon, never knowing the land is far more than just a car park!

The Portland is laid out in two loops of nine holes, each of which return to two clubhouses – one exclusively for ladies – that are separate from the main Royal Troon clubhouse. There are no par fives on the outward half but that is balanced on the back nine with four birdieable three-shot holes, all of which are less than 500 yards in length.

Steer clear of the gorse and railway line on the early holes, avoid the ditches on some of the closing holes and keep out of the cleverly positioned bunkers all during the round to have a good chance of playing to handicap on a very fair and somewhat understated test of golf.

The Portland course – named after the Dukes of Portland who did much in the 19th century to generate wealth in the area with the construction of docks at Troon harbour and the creation of coal mines in nearby Kilmarnock – is a fine links layout that is, unfortunately, totally overshadowed by the championship course.

It was designed by the second Royal Troon professional, Willie Fernie and opened for play in 1896, though it wasn’t until the year after the club held its first Open in 1923 (and Fernie retired after 37 years of service) that its name was changed from the Relief course to the Portland course. Dr Alister MacKenzie is thought to have had a hand in reworking some of the holes at this time.

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