Midway through one of the most iconic Open venues lies one of the most fearsome par-3 holes in the sport. And offering a cold embrace alongside the green of said hole is one of golf’s toughest bunkers.
Called ‘The Coffin,’ this particular trap – which carefully guards the left side of the world-famous ‘Postage Stamp‘ green on the eighth hole at Royal Troon Golf Club – has claimed many an Open title charge and the scorecards of countless amateurs via its steep walls and claustrophobic shape, where it’s easy to get stuck close to the tall lips and rack up high scores.
In 2016, days before finishing in a tie for fifth, Rory McIlroy reported particular trouble when attempting to rescue his ball from the sandy grave during a practice round.
He said: “I think I took an 8 or a 9, so that didn’t go too well. It took me like five or six goes to get out of it. There is a lot of sand in the bunker, so when the ball trickles back into the bunkers, it doesn’t go into the middle.
“That lip there is basically vertical, and every time I tried to get it out, it would go back into the same spot. Hopefully the struggle is out of the way for that hole.”
Well guess what? They’ve made it harder…
Royal Troon, on the west coast of Scotland, is the venue for the 2024 Open Championship and will see McIlroy and co. face a “steeper and deeper” Coffin bunker in July 2024.
Coffin bunker on the #postagestamp rebuilt. It is now steeper and deeper😅👍🏼 #royaltroon #open2024 #8th #par3 pic.twitter.com/WdCuaAC9pSNovember 29, 2023
Troon greenkeeper Joe Ross revealed work had already begun to be carried out earlier in 2023 as the course readies itself for the lone men’s British Major next year. Weeks before toughening the iconic ‘Coffin’ by digging further down towards the centre of the earth, the first of 55 other fairway and green-side traps had seen preliminary work take place with heavy machinery utilized before the revetting process.
The 152nd Open will mark the first time Troon has hosted the championship since the memorable Henrik Stenson v Phil Mickleson battle which saw the Swede come out on top.
Next year will be the 10th Open Royal Troon has hosted, with American victories commonplace prior to Stenson. Justin Leonard, Mark Calcavecchia, Tom Watson, Tom Weiskopf, and Arnold Palmer have all lifted the Claret Jug there.