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The R&A has confirmed that Royal Troon will play host to the longest hole in Open Championship history this summer.

The sixth hole on the Ayrshire links will measure a whopping 623 yards when it stages the latest battle for the Claret Jug in July.

That’s 22 yards more than the same hole measured the last time The Open came to town back in 2016.

By a funny quirk of fate, players will play the shortest hole in Open history just two holes later, courtesy of the iconic par-3 eighth hole. Officially, the ‘Postage Stamp’ measures 123 yards on the scorecard, but the organisers have the ability to reduce that all the way down to 99 yards should they so choose – an option they are seriously considering.

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These are the headline changes to what the R&A is describing as “a fantastic amount of work” that has taken place at Royal Troon with a view to “improving the player experience, visual aesthetics, operational accessibility and spectator movement”.

All told, the course will span 7,385 yards – an increase of 195 yards on eight years ago. That is largely the result of improvements that have been made to the tees on the fourth, fifth, sixth and ninth holes, as well as the 11th, 12th, 14th, 17th and 18th.

Three new bunker positions have been introduced: one on the first fairway, another on the sixth fairway, and the last beside the sixth green.

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These changes have been made as the championship prepares to welcome a sell-out crowd of 250,000.

That’s more than 70,000 up on the Open’s most recent visit to Royal Troon in 2016. It will make this year’s championship the third best-attended Open of all-time, behind St Andrews in 2022 and Royal Liverpool last year.

“It is a big increase and there’s been a huge amount done to try and make sure that the number we bring in is what the golf course can accommodate,” said R&A director of communications Mike Woodcock.

“I think you’ve seen at recent venues that the championship attendance has been increasing and, by and large, it has worked very well. It should be a great week here and a great atmosphere.”

author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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