Many consider the final nine holes at Royal Troon to be the most difficult stretch in Open golf. Fergus Bisset played them to see if Troon really does have The Open's hardest back nine

Royal Troon: The Open’s hardest back nine?

By Fergus Bisset

Featuring five par 4s measuring over 450 yards and generally played into the wind, the back nine at Royal Troon has a fearsome reputation as one of the toughest stretches in championship golf.

It’s arguably the toughest nine of any course on The Open rota and over the years it has been the undoing of many of the game’s best players. In 1982, Nick Price led by three through 12 holes of the final round but dropped four shots over the last six to hand the title to Tom Watson; in 1997, Jesper Parnevik bogeyed the 13th, 17th and 18th holes to lose out to Justin Leonard.

I had a chance to play the Old Course at Troon this April to see for myself just how hard that back nine is, and what awaits the professionals this July.

On the day I tackled the grand old links the wind was gusting strongly but not prohibitively, and it was coming from the prevailing westerly direction. This meant it was largely helping on the front nine and largely hurting on the renowned run for home.

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Total: 38

The nine as I tackled it was some 700 yards shorter than what the pros will face, but I still had to play out of my skin to complete it in three-over-par and accrue 17 Stableford points