When I played Turnberry a couple of times 10-15 years ago I felt it was a very good course but did not reach the heights of the best Open courses, such as Muirfield and Carnoustie. There were not that many memorable holes and it lacked a wow factor. However the changes made in 2015 have addressed this in some style.
The two par 3s around the turn (9 and 11) are up there with the best par 3s in GB&I. More generally improvements in bunkering, green elevation and routing mean that the whole course is much stronger. If I had to be critical then the first 3 holes are a little weak but then the course kicks into life with the great par 3 4th by the beach and remains strong through the rest of the round. The course was also in excellent condition.
Clearly Turnberrry is now a fantastic course but we are blessed in this country to have a number of fantastic courses. Any view of where a course ranks relative to another is clearly very subjective but for my money I think that the likes of Portrush, Carnoustie, Muirfield, Dornoch and Trump International are as good as it gets when thinking about strategic challenge and the number of great golf holes. Additionally the likes of Castle Stuart, North Berwick, Kingsbarns and Dumbarnie are hard to beat when it comes to enjoyment and stunning views. And this is only referencing the Scottish and Northern Irish links courses! Hence Turnberry would not be in my personal GB&I top 10 but is a must-play and hugely enjoyable.
Date: June 19, 2021