If the price of a round of golf were to correlate well with the quality of the golfing experience, Troon North would be one of golf’s great courses. The GolfNow.com rate is north of a hundred dollars with some tee times calling for a $235 fee. And GolfNow.com generally offers some pretty heavy discounts.
Unfortunately, Troon North is not a world class course. It is a fine course and I recommend playing it. The views are spectacular. The course is fair, at least as fair as a “desert course” can be. But it’s a public course. As a result, it gets a lot of play. It has been my experience that public courses with plenty of play host golfers that don’t seem to know the purpose of the little sand canisters mounted on the carts or the rakes that adorn the sand traps. To some of their customers, ball mark repair is a concept as foreign as a Tibetan poetry reading.
The fairways were pocked with untreated divots. The greens were well cared for by the grounds crew, but looked like a school boy recovering from the chicken pox. Traps were cratered with unraked footprints. In Troon’s defense, they had actual sand in all their bunkers. All four of our players were members at Gainey Ranch and they were having some difficulty coming to grips with the concept. They were accustomed to traps that amounted to some kind of parking lot material cleverly disguised as sand.
Both Troon North courses are “desert courses”. The fairways are generally wide enough to contain all but the worst shots. Sadly, some of us have a few of those worst shots in our bags. Hit your shot well out of the fairway and your ball is missing in action. If you are brave and/or crazy, you can attempt a cursory search, but if you do, you too may be MIA. Of the threesomes I saw on the course, I suspect most of them started as foursomes that abandoned their search for Harvey. The Troon desert is thick and bound to extract a pint of blood from anyone foolish enough to challenge it.
With all that said, is Troon North worth playing? Absolutely. Its beauty alone makes it a great walk. It offers a great course design and you’d better be a good course manager unless you want the course to manage you. Staff at Troon North is well trained, courteous and helpful. The pace-of-play was a bit slow (4:45), but the course marshal is polite and friendly and at least tries to keep golfing moving. The clubhouse is top notch. The pro-shop is very well stocked. The dining area and bar are beautiful and pleasant.
I don’t think I’d want a steady diet of Troon North, but a couple rounds per year will be great – at least until I run out of balls or bleed to death.