First and foremost i’m here to critique the course but I do need to state that the hotel, grounds and facilities truly are 5 star. From the welcome at reception, to the decadent suite, to the service in the clubhouse Trump Turnberry is a complete, breathtaking opulent experience.
Right to the course. Holes 1 to 3 were steady opening holes. A little similar possibly but nothing to write home about. Hole 4 is where the magic starts a mid range par 3 with a large mound to the right and wasteland, bunkers, beach and thick rough to the left. With an excellent view from the tee you get a sense that only a great shot will leave a putt which makes this a truly exhilarating and demanding golf hole.
Hole 5 was an excellent short par 5 with the wind behind and only required two irons to get to the green such was the 10mph tailwind and the firm fairways. A scoring hole
Hole 6 seemed like Turnberrys version of the postage stamp. A very short par 3 where you teed off from a raised plinth. A simple shot but on days where the elements are against you could lead to disaster.
Hole 7 was another gettable par 5 in two, with the line over the left bunker. Although fraught with danger the rewards were a short iron in for an eagle putt. Take out the driver and rip one down there. A great risk reward hole accompanied by sink hole green side bunkers that seem to hoover up even decent approaches (i’m still bitter)
Hole 8 an outstanding par 4. The green being one of the most spectacular views on the course. Watching my partner putt he had the Irish Sea behind whilst he negated a very fast downhill long putt. Postcard worthy
Hole 9 is the standout hole. The lighthouse the rocks, the thought of playing this hole from the competition tees make this one of the greatest holes in golf. When they next get an open (hopefully) this hole will be the talk of all the players and media. It has got to be one of the best golf holes in the world. In comparison i’ve played the Vale de Lobo 16th and it’s not even in the same league. The only negative for me is that the yellow and white tees don’t quite have the same risk and difficulty as the black ‘Open championship’ tees. With wind behind it wasn’t that tricky a shot from the yellows/whites and i think they should of made them more alike. Granted i know this would have been difficult.
Hole 10 was another short par 5 with a very wide fairway. A wonderful tee box view again hitting slightly down onto a fairway with a few pot bunkers to negate. The second shot is where the difficulty lies and if you can safely clear the large fairway bunker then a mid/short iron running up the green is the best play. The green seems to turn towards the sea and again leaves you with a vista of extreme beauty.
Hole 11 is a par 3 again hugging the rocks. Another world class hole that will test a players nerve and skill. The wind was slightly pushing towards the water and so we were thankful of the pin placement on the very right hand side of the green. Majestic.
At hole 12 we turned and were going back into the wind. The holes there on in were longer and more testing and lacked a little bit of character compared to the holes along the coast. Some were a little flat and not that memorable. Stand outs were hole 16 with a hidden burn and hole 17 where you had to drive through the mounds either side of the fairway. Two very good inland holes.
Hole 18 is an average hole but do take time to go to the right hand side of the fairway to see Tom Watson’s plaque from his famous ‘duel in the sun’ with Jack Nicklaus.
The Ailsa course certainly didn’t disappoint but i don’t think it exceeded expectations. On one hand i’d played a stretch of holes that were utterly breathtaking and were some of my all time favourites but on the other I knew of its rating as the 8th best in the world and I couldn’t comprehend that it could be rated better than pebble beach, augusta and portrush to name but a few. I didn’t get the feeling especially in the disparity between the great holes and average ones that it was top 10 in the world. I think maybe that rating is a slightly off the mark.
I came expecting to be giving my first ever 6 ball review but it just fell short. But that’s not to take away from its brilliance. I look at 6 balls for perfection and it just fell short. It was the best course i’ve ever played and i’d advise everybody to go play it and see for yourself because it is truly a great golf course.
Date: August 10, 2020