Troon North GC
1st Hole / 444 Yards / Par-4
Architect: Jay Moorish & Tom Weiskopf (1990)
Opening holes have a fascinating role on any course routing and the 1st at the Monument Course at Troon North belies the belief that an opening hole should simply be one where the muscles get loosened up and not be especially taxing.
When Troon North first opened in 1990 there was only 18 holes at that time. Six years later a second 18 — called Pinnacle — opened and was designed by Tom Weiskopf in solo fashion.
The Monument Course opened to much success. It was truly the first target oriented desert course open to the public and paved the way for numerous others to follow in the years ahead. In its early days the proliferation of on-course housing was not present and the juxtaposition between verdant green grass and the stark desert terrain was something to behold.
The 1st is a daunting par-4 and the challenge is not to be psyched out when standing on the tee. The view can be an intimidating one as you gaze down a fairway that tapers down considerably the further one hits a tee shot. Bunkers guard the left side and the fairway does end at approximately 307 yards. Finding the fairway is imperative. Any tee shot straying right will be struggling to escape with bogey. Pull it left and had better hope the bunkers prevent one’s ball from reaching even dire straits on that side.
The 1st does slide downhill slightly so opting to play with less than a driver from the tee can be a smart tactical matter. Those who eschew caution and opt to go full bore need to realize the fairway width narrows down to no more than 15 yards across.
Even after reaching the fairway the approach is a tough one to gauge since a good part of the green is hidden from view. The putting surface is also protected by bunker in front but it is not immediately adjacent to the green so being able to gauge distance is a clear challenge. The green is 32 yards deep and there are several demanding pin placements both to either side, long and in the front. When the flagstick is cut front right or extreme back left requires themost exact of approach shots to be successful.
The 1st at the Monument sends a clear admonishment — think very carefully before pulling the trigger. Players have to be thoroughly realistic about their ability level because this opening hole will not suffer fool’s gladly.