On the eve of The Open, we spent a few hours exploring the venue at Troon to see what a day out at the championship has to offer

If you’re heading to Troon for The Open you probably already have a good idea of what you want to get from the experience. Whether you’ve earmarked a certain group to follow for the day or you’ve picked out a particular hole to base yourself, it’s still worth leaving some time to explore what else is on offer.

My advice would be to head straight for Entrance 2 if coming from the town. As soon as you walk in, look to your left and you’ll spot the practice green and driving range. Today, I was immediately confronted by Jason Day going through a complicated putting drill with his caddie before watching Masters champ Danny Willett limbering up on the range.

IMG_1947Seeing these big names up close and personal certainly whets the appetite for the golfing feast ahead. There’s also an autograph zone where kids can meet their heroes, the R&A Swingzone where you can book a time for a free lesson with a PGA Professional and plenty to eat and drink.

All this is a great way to start the day but it’s not the reason you’ll have made the trip. The action is just a short walk away and before you know it you’ll be standing alongside the 18th fairway.

The course is set on a fairly thin strip of land so it will take a while to get out to the turn but the walk is definitely worth it. The grandstand by the iconic Postage Stamp 8th offers one of the best vantage points with not only the short par 3 but the 7th and 9th in clear view from the top.

It’s definitely worth settling here for a while if you’re lucky enough to get a spot. You can then plan you’re route back to the 18th via the Spectator Village, which is found alongside the 16th fairway.

Here you’ll find more food options as well as the Links Challenge, which provides both parents and children the opportunity to test themselves on miniature versions of famous holes from Open venues.

There is also the HSBC Golf Zone, which gives spectators the chance to test their skills and win prizes each day. If it’s all got too much, you can always settle back with a pint on the giant cushions provided and watch the action unfold on the big screen.

There’s also the chance to pick up a souvenir or two at The Open Shop before heading back to the 18th to vie for a spot in the grandstand. If you haven’t been to The Open before it will perhaps surprise you how close to the action you can get and those lucky enough to be sat here on Sunday night will not be disappointed.

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