Trump Turnberry (Ailsa) - Ayrshire & Arran - Scotland

Trump Turnberry Resort,
Turnberry,
Ayrshire,
KA26 9LT,
Scotland


  • +44 (0) 1655 334032


Visit Golfbreaks.com for a golf holiday at Turnberry


Turnberry was the last venue to be added to the Open Championship rotation. It may have hosted only four Opens but it has become a firm favourite.

Date Winner Country
1977 Tom Watson USA
1986 Greg Norman Australia
1994 Nick Price Zimbabwe
2009 Stewart Cink USA

The Ailsa course at the Turnberry Resort is probably the most scenic Open Championship golf course. Situated on a craggy headland overlooking the small granite island of Ailsa Craig in the Firth of Clyde, with superb views across to the Mull of Kintyre and the Isle of Arran, the course is located in an ideal spot for playing golf.

Turnberry Golf Club was established in 1902 and Willie Fernie of Troon was commissioned by the third Marquess of Ailsa to lay out a championship length course on part of the former Culzean Estate. In 1906, the Turnberry Hotel opened and, in those days, there was even an impressive covered link-way which connected the hotel to the railway station. Wealthy Edwardian guests would not arrive at this hotel wet and bedraggled.

At this time, a 9-hole ladies course and an improved 18-hole course was laid out by A. N. Weir (former head professional at Cruden Bay) for the Glasgow & South Western Railway Company, but three years later, in 1909, the ladies course had disappeared, replaced with holes 1 to 4 of Mr Weir’s new No.1 course. This layout changed its name to the Ailsa in 1926 and a redesign by Major Cecil Hutchison was completed in 1938, when he combined the old 6th and 7th and introduced the famous par three 15th hole.

Turnberry twice came close to extinction; it was requisitioned during both World Wars and used as an airbase. During the Second World War, a number of holes were flattened and turned into expansive concrete runways. It was the tenacity of the then owners that saved the course. Philip Mackenzie Ross was given the task of returning the flattened land back to its former glory. It was a huge task, but in 1951, after two years of intensive work, the links reopened.

Mackenzie Ross did a great job; the highest compliment being paid when, in 1977, the Ailsa course hosted its first Open. The 1977 Open was a classic, notorious for the famous battle between Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson. Watson hit an amazing 65 in the last two rounds to beat Nicklaus by one shot. To commemorate this incredible head-to-head tussle, the 18th hole has been renamed the Duel in the Sun.

In the 1986 Open, Greg Norman had an amazing second round in windy conditions. He went out in 32, despite two bogies and had a putt on the 18th for a back nine score of 29. Unfortunately he three-putted, but his round of 63 is still considered to be one of the very best in Open Championship history. He went on to win by five clear shots. The Open returned to Turnberry in 1994 and the Claret Jug was claimed by Nick Price.

The Ailsa course underwent a number of changes under the watchful eyes of design team Mackenzie & Ebert ahead of the 2009 Open Championship. Extensive alterations were made to the 10th, 16th and 17th holes with tweaks made to several other holes. Click here for more.

The 2009 Open Championship was perhaps one of the most exciting events in modern-day history. The whole world focused on 59-year-old Tom Watson who led going into the final round. Watson required a par four on the 72nd hole to win the Open but sadly he couldn’t get up and down from just off the green and made bogey. Watson went on to lose the 4-hole play-off with fellow American Stewart Cink who gladly claimed his first Major title.

Essentially, the Ailsa’s an out and back layout with the prevailing wind usually at your back for the outward nine. The stretch of holes from the 4th to the 11th is thrilling and the scenery breathtaking. The par three 9th begins a genuinely world-class sequence of three holes laid out along the water’s edge where the tee shot at #9 plays across the bay at Turnberry Point to a green beside the lighthouse which serves as a fabulous halfway house grill.

The last four holes are as demanding as you will find anywhere, beginning at the short 15th, which falls away sharply to the right of the green. Wilson’s Burn winds round the front of the next hole, catching anything short of the putting surface, and it's followed by a remodelled par four that replaces the former long, narrow par five hole. The hotel then forms an imposing backdrop to the 18th hole—renamed "Duel in the Sun"—where many a dramatic moment has unfolded in Open championships.

Architect Martin Ebert returned to Turnberry in 2015 to conduct a major update to the Ailsa course: The Ailsa course undergoes a major facelift. Every single hole was upgraded to some degree, primarily involving greens and bunkers. The result of this work has since been met with universal approval, elevating the Ailsa’s already high profile to an entirely different level.

It’s never an easy proposition to play second fiddle to a layout ranked near the summit of the World Top 100, but the new King Robert the Bruce course (formerly known as the Arran and later renamed the Kintyre) re-opened for play in June 2017 after a multi-million pound renovation and it does very well in supporting the illustrious Ailsa at Trump Turnberry.

Trump Turnberry Resort is one of our Top 100 Golf Resorts of the World

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Reviews for Trump Turnberry (Ailsa)

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Description: The Ailsa course at the Turnberry Resort is probably the most scenic Open Championship golf course. Located right next to the Firth of Clyde, with craggy rocks and superb views across to the Mull of Kintyre... Rating: 9.6 out of 10 Reviews: 90
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dittohr
I was playing last week in Ailsa course and I just can say one thing about it: AMAZING!!!Design, fairways, tees, staff treated, practice area, scenery, greens, putting green, clubhouse, etc... Everything perfect!!The views from the pro´s tees must not missed.
August 26, 2010
10 / 10
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Vorndron
Simply Brilliant. Course is tough but fair and having read the reviews on how good holes 4 to 10 are I can only echo this. The scenery is second to none and the facilities are outstanding. The finish does not get the credit it deserves either, 15- a great par 3, 16- a very tough par 4, 17- a great birdie chance at 18 - a great finish in front of the clubhouse and over looked by the hotel. Better than Carnoustie, RCD, St Andrews and Birkdale. Awesome
August 09, 2010
10 / 10
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Tom Moore
Played the course in mid-June for the 90 pound twilight special (a great deal). A beautiful course, but poor greens. I also had 2 hard-pan lies in the fairways. The greens (and turf) at neighboring Girvan were better. Was treated very well by the fine staff--but this world class course deserved better greenskeeping.
July 12, 2010
8 / 10
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allan mcmillan
A scorching- hot june day with a stiff southerly breeze saw me teeing up with an iron on the 1st, as I was determined to avoid the 150+ bunkers on the revised Ailsa Course, (I only visited one). The starter was courteous and helpful as he wished me a good round. I scored well, and was delighted to par the lovely short 4th by the Firth of Clyde. The subsequent holes did not disappoint, and I revelled in the beauty from the 9th and 10th holes. Surely there is noe a better golf view in the world! The fairways were running fast, and along with the warm air this carried my ball further than usual. I was able to make birdie on the difficult 16th hole from a tricky approach shot across the green-hugging burn.By now I didn't want the round to end, and I thought of Tom Watson, and all that he achieved as I putted out on the 18th.This is my type of course - much preferable to the parkland where I usually play. I can safely say that The Ailsa is the greatest course I have ever played, and it was a privelege to be out on the Ailsa Course on a day like this. It really was dream come true!
July 03, 2010
10 / 10
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Gary Vaulks
Turnberry is an exceptionally beautiful golf course and one that I have enjoyed playing a number of times back in 2001 - 2002. However, having played it again about 3 weeks ago I have to say I was a bit underwhelmed - sure it is still gorgeous with lovely holes - but - the greens were very poor, tee boxes iffy and for a course to be ranked No 1 in GB & I ( I have played every Top 100 course) to have only one par 5 - umm- not sure that stacks up .. just about No 10 in my humble opinion. Still I would give Turnberry a 5 ball rating.
June 28, 2010
8 / 10
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W
Played the Ailsa twice last week. All my three visits to Turnberry have been in good weather - how lucky! The Ailsa's greens were not perfect (the practice putting green was terrible) but they were true and were probably still suffering from being cut so short during the Open last year. The Ailsa ranks alongside Birkdale as my favourite courses. The Ailsa is tough (without being silly), is great fun (even though there is only one par 5) and has surely the best views of any golf course in the world. Our group (4 single figure handicaps) struggled to get the ball out of the bunkers - some of them are nigh on impossible (I will never understand how Westwood reached the green from the bunker on 18). I can't wait to visit Turnberry again (even though it is scarily expensive).
June 08, 2010
10 / 10
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ian pratt
having secured a deal with the hotel for an overnight bed and breakfast ,we woke up to a sunny May morning went down to which must be the best breakfast room in golf, overlooking the Ailsa course, you could sit there all day looking out at this wonderful course .So off to the first tee and you just get a sense of a magical day ahead and i can assure you ,it wont let you down,once you ease into the first 3 holes you come to the 4th next to the sea and this stretch of holes really are second to none, superb par 3,s ,wondreful par 4,s its just great,no matter what the price is you must play this course, it does not get better.If you plan to eat and drink in the hotel ,take plenty cash it is very expensive ,but then again, it is a one off
June 03, 2010
10 / 10
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Terry Parker
A round around Turnberry has surely got to be one of the greatest Christmas presents ever. I played this course along with my eager companion on 27th December 2009, when the rest of the UK was literally entombed within the vortex of the so called’ big freeze’.Due to ground frost I had previously experienced (13/12/09) the crushing disappointment of a cancelled round. On that occasion the starter sympathetically informed me that I was particular unlucky as the course is very rarely closed for the entire day. I awoke on the 27th December, deflated with pessimism and extremely sceptical that any balls would be struck that day. As we travelled down the M77 from Glasgow, passing the fenick moors, the snow must have been 6 ft deep for as far as the eye could see. The white magical winter wonderland was only compounding my increasing negativity. Every inch of visible land was covered with snow.As we climbed the hill leading to Turnberry, the imposing Aisla Island burst into vision. As the snow abated around us goosebumps broke out all over my body. There wasn’t an inch of snow to be seen within Turnberry itself. Clearly and act of God rewarding us for our dedicated pilgrimage.It became clear that we would soon be playing the legendary course and we celebrated by playing the BBC golf theme as we continued our approach.After a brief tour of the club house, hotel, short game area and museum I was left imagining what it would be like to be a member at this temple of golf.We were directed to the first tee. My heart was beating hard and adrenaline was pumping through every vein in my body. I could not believe I was about to live out a boyhood fantasy.I see little point explaining or describing the course. It speaks for itself. All I can say is it is a surreal experience. It passes by in a dream like fashion and before you know it one is at the 9th Tee facing arguably one of the most famous Tee shots in golf. Time after time I glanced at my colleague who was wearing the broadest, most genuine smile I had seen in years.I compare the feeling to seeing your favourite rock band when one is young. They are not real people but superbeings. Turnberry isn’t a real place but somewhere where you are temporarily transported to where nothing else matters or exists. It is simply magical.
June 02, 2010
10 / 10
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graham
February 26, 2012
Could not agree more with your comments, Our round seemed to last moments only but will be remembered forever, A very special place in the world
Rainer
The best course I have ever played! I played the Ailsa in September 2009. It is just an outstanding course and the holes 9-10 as well as 15-17 are magnificient! The course was in great shape and the staff was very nice and helpful. I will be back soon!
February 09, 2010
10 / 10
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Dan Hare

I have been fortunate enough to play both the Kintyre and Ailsa twice now, and would love to return. Even off the whites you are conscious that a greater challenge lurks behind you, but the course is very challenging but great fun too - all handicap players can get round here in some fashion or other, which is very different from some other championship links courses. Excellent practice facilities as well - arrive early and head to the putting green and short game area ! Next time will nip down to the championship Lighthouse tee !

January 21, 2010
10 / 10
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