Golf World (UK) - - PRIZE DRAW -

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.

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