A REWARD FOR GOOD ACCURACY
I first played Troia back in 1994 and the standout memory of my visit was standing on the tee of this spectacular hole with the water just a few yards off my left shoulder. During the past 25 years, the water line has receded considerably to the point where it is now 150 yards or more from the edge of the hole.
Ordinarily, that factor would have seriously diminished the appeal of the hole but the design of this twisting and turning par 4 is strong enough to withstand a visual hit.
From a slightly elevated tee, the hole stretches out in front of you with a handful of strategically placed pine trees on both sides of the fairway narrowing the landing area. However, a good drive not only needs to avoid the two sets of pines but a sandy wasteland full of thick vegetation that cuts in from the left to shrink the fairway for shorter hitters.
If you can safely negotiate the tee shot, however, you’re rewarded with one of the easier approach shots. Although fairly narrow, the green is relatively flat and protected by only two bunkers. Take a par or safe bogey and move on.
It’s always airy and spacious. Think Woburn’s Marquess’ Course meets Torrey Pines meets Donald Ross’ Pinehurst No.2.
Despite developing a reputation for designing excessively difficult courses in his latter years, Trent Jones Sr. always viewed himself as more of a strategic architect than a penal or punishing one. His design mantra was “hard par, easy bogey” and that is an accurate and appropriate description of Troia’s overall character. There is certainly no shortage of holes to attack, but the punishment for errors of judgement or miscues are severe, most notably around the greens which are often multi-tiered and heavily contoured as well as protected by steep run-offs.
The 404-yard par-4 3rd tends to attract most of the headlines courtesy of its waterside location but any number of holes realistically could be considered the club’s signature design, including the par-4 7th, a delightful left-to-right dogleg that plays into a tiny, heavily bunkered green, the par-5 14th, which demands three solid shots as you play back up towards the estuary, or the 17th – a glorious, short par 3 that plays alongside the ocean and uses the sandy wasteland to effectively turn the hole into an island green without water. A blockbuster finish And just as it starts, so Troia finishes with another strong par 5 that plays uphill and through bunkers towards the clubhouse and concludes with a glorious panoramic view out over the course. Again, it’s a three-shotter for all but the longest hitters and requires a precise wedge shot to hit and hold a narrow green.
In conclusion, it’s difficult to find a weakness in Troia’s offering. Troia’s greatest strength is that it simply doesn’t have a weak hole. The standard is incredibly high and the design so imaginative that the holes linger long in the memory. Our advice is to play twice. Use the first round to acquaint yourself with the challenge in front of you and the second round to play more aggressively.
September 2018 Golf World 107
Pine trees and natural sandy wasteland are used to frame the fairway at Troia’s signature hole – the 404-yard, par-4 3rd.