Trump Turnberry (King Robert the Bruce) - Ayrshire & Arran - Scotland

Trump Turnberry Resort,
Ayrshire,
KA26 9LT,
Scotland


  • +44 (0) 1655 334032

Golf has been played at Turnberry for well over a century now, starting when Lord Ailsa commissioned Willie Fernie, the professional at Troon, to lay out the first course for Girvan Golf Club in 1901. This 18-hole layout became the No.1 course when the No.2 arrived eight years later.

The No.1 course became known as the Ailsa between the two World Wars then the Arran appeared in 1954, shortly after Philip MacKenzie Ross rebuilt the war-ravaged Ailsa.

Almost half a century then elapsed before Martin Ebert, working at the time with Donald Steel, reworked part of the old Arran course to form the 18-hole Kintyre layout, with this new course opening at the start of the new millennium.

The acquisition of Turnberry by Donald Trump in July of 2014 would then propel golf at the resort to an altogether different level over the next three years and by far the smartest move the new owner made was appointing Martin Ebert to oversee the wholesale redesign of the golf operation.

The pitch & putt course in front of the hotel was recreated, the links academy and practice facility was refurbished, a new Cairngorms putting green was installed and the clubhouse was completely renovated before the Ailsa underwent an extensive upgrade.

The last piece of the jigsaw to fit into place was the relaunch of the former Kintyre track as the King Robert the Bruce course, named in honour of the man who, raised as a boy in Turnberry Castle (where the lighthouse now stands) at the end of the 13th century, became King of Scots in 1306.

Significant modifications were made by contractor SOL Golf to many of the holes – the burn on the 1st was removed, sandy waste areas were established on several holes, a large wetland area was created between the 5th and 13th, trees were toppled to the left of the 7th, and the home green was lowered in front of the clubhouse.

As if that wasn’t enough, all the bunkers were overhauled, with fairway traps given a rugged marram-fringed look and greenside sand hazards shaped as traditional revetted pots.

Four new holes were introduced on Bain’s Hill, largely reversing the routing of the holes that were once located there. The elimination of the short par four 8th down to the cove by the water’s edge will be a regret to some, while others will rejoice that this blind hole has been abolished.

The new par five 8th heads towards the lighthouse, playing to a green that sits above the 12th fairway on the Ailsa. The 9th then returns in the opposite direction and the approach shot requires a heroic carry across the old 8th greensite to a green perched high on the headland.

The par three 10th begins a back nine which is now configured with three par fives, three par fours and three par threes. Measuring between 142 yards and 166 yards, this short hole calls for an all-carry tee shot across a sandy waste area to a tricky little green on the other side of a gully.

The 11th hole (formerly a par four on the Kintyre but now lengthened to a par five) then heads down the side of the hill – on the same compass bearing as the 8th fairway but never interfering with it – to the flatter part of the property where the closing holes are located.

It’s never an easy proposition to play second fiddle to a course ranked near the summit of the World Top 100 but the new King Robert the Bruce course (opened in June 2017) does very well in its support role to a more illustrious sibling. Suffice to say, Trump Turnberry is now a 36-hole golf destination of real substance.

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

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Reviews for Trump Turnberry (King Robert the Bruce)

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Description: The exhilarating King Robert the Bruce course at Trump Turnberry opened for play in 2017 after Martin Ebert returned to redesign the Kintrye course which the architect laid out in 2001. Rating: 6.5 out of 10 Reviews: 34
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andrew dinsdale

The Robert the Bruce course is a good sister course to the more prestigious and well known Ailsa. The course is set on beautiful picturesque seaside links with views of the lighthouse and Irish sea on many of the holes.

Golfers hoping for a nice easy warm up round before tackling the Ailsa be warned! the course is brutally tough and demands your best golf.

On most holes the layout is flat and at times a touch repetitive. You also forget that you’re playing a links course so close to the sea in the early holes, however don’t think it is easy. We found the rough to be so harsh that unless you ran into the fringe you were very unlikely to find your ball. Not only was the rough harsh the course was so tight especially in the weather conditions we faced that it almost became impossible to score even for two single figure handicapper in our group.

Holes 1-7 were on mainly flat ground and all had challenging bunkers and required fairway drives. Not overly memorable but solid golf club holes.

Holes 8-11 are where you get the 5star experience. The 8th a lovely par 5 birdie chance that whets the appetite for the signature 9th. The 9th hole is a testing drive required to leave you with a mid to long iron over sandy wasteland to the green. There are stunning views of the Irish sea to your left and the hole was certainly one of the top 5 holes even including those on the Ailsa course. A sheer stunning hole. The 10th is a good par 3 hole with nice views from the tee. This hole feels and looks very new and needs a bit or growth and bedding in, but is still a good par 3. The 11th another gettable par 5 requiring a good drive had the lighthouse pretty much as the backdrop for all three shots. My second favourite hole on the course and another stunner.

The closing holes i thought were slightly better than the opening ones however even after only a week has passed i’m struggling to remember each one individually.

I think that sums up the course. The 3/4 holes in the middle are world class and the rest are good if a little flat and repetitive. The condition of the course was immaculate, bunkers fluffy and the greens quick. I couldn’t rate the course higher in this respect, perfect in all aspects.

As a side note the rough was impossible and did take a little of the fun out of the game. We had poor weather and i dread to think what id score on a very bad day. I’m not sure i’ve ever been so worried about playing the main course the next day. The course really chewed us up and spat us out.

To summarise it’s definitely worth a round if playing alongside the Ailsa or if your local but not sure id come and stay just for the Robert the Bruce course. It was by a margin the most difficult course i’ve ever played, which was highly unexpected and not really needed. However with plenty of golf balls and your A game it would be impossible not to enjoy the Robert the Bruce layout.

August 09, 2020
6 / 10
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Joe Sheldrake

This is a very good second course at the Turnberry resort. The first 7 holes and 12-18 are laid out in fairly flat links land that is a little bit further away from the sea compared to most links courses. These holes are, in the most part, very good but not many jump out as being worthy of mention. It is holes 8-11 on the hill that really make this course worth playing. They are stunning!

However, I don’t want to do a disservice to the other holes on the course. There are some good holes here that flow very well and, like the Ailsa, the conditioning here and the green complexes are brilliant.

The first 6 holes play amongst the gorse and are all quite similar in feel. I like the 4th - which doglegs slightly to the left with a fairway that is littered with punishing bunkers. The 5th is a tough hole into the wind with OB all the way down the right and a marshy waste area on the left - you need to be straight here.

7 is a pretty hole that bends slightly to the left alongside the bottom of a steep hill with some pine trees around the green.

8 though is where the run really starts. A great par 5 played along the top of the hill with steep fall aways either side. The infinity green is stunning with the famous lighthouse in the distance behind it.

9 plays back along the coast and has some similarities to the 10th on the Ailsa with a terrific green nestled by the sea amongst the rocks. 10 is a par 3 that plays back away from the sea across a huge bunker and 11 is another par 5 that plays parallel to 8 but on a lower level. 11 and 12 feel a little less links-like before you head back into the gorse-land.

The rest of the holes are good and remind me a bit of the holes 13-15 on the Ailsa.

17 is a good hole that opens up a bit away from the gorse - this plays parallel to the 16th on the Ailsa and then 18 is a strong finishing hole that doglegs to the left to a green that sits underneath the clubhouse. This hole would be nicer if the view wasn’t spoilt by the driving range but there’s not much they can do to fix that!

Overall, definitely play this course if you travel here to play the Ailsa. Holes 8-11 alone make this course worth playing and the other holes are well-designed and play across some fine linksland.

May 04, 2020
7 / 10
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Peter Wood

The ruins of Turnberry Castle surround the iconic lighthouse that identifies Turnberry instantly. The lighthouse was built by the family of author Robert Louis Stevenson. Turnberry Castle is renowned as the birthplace of King Robert The Bruce who led Scotland to independence in 1314, so Robert The Bruce seemed an appropriate name for the new course.

The original course at Turnberry as we know it was built by Royal Troon prefessional Willie Fernie and opened in 1906 (although it was generally thought that The Marquis of Ailsa had laid out a links himself in the area previously)

By 1909 a ladies 9 hole courses was Trump Turnberry (King Robert the Bruce) Golf Course - Photo by reviewer added, and over the years this evolved to become the 18 hole Arran course.

Turnberry was badly treated by both world wars, with areas of the courses flattened to make aircraft landing strips in World War 2. But thanks to the work of Philip MacKenzie Ross both courses were restored and the Ailsa course went on to host the Open Championship in 1977 (and 3 times since)

The Arran course was renamed The Kintyre course. When Donald Trump bought Turnberry Resort he commissioned architects MacKenzie Ebert to rework the Ailsa course, and in my opinion that effort has propelled the Ailsa course to one of the best 10 courses on the planet!

Mackenzie Ebert were then asked back to build a new sister course to the Ailsa.

Robert The Bruce was completed in 2016 basically in the footprint of the former Arran/Kintyre courses- but it is a much improved course.

There are two parts to the course- most of the course (hole 1-7, and 12-18) is set in predominantly flattish farmland, and here Ebert and team have reworked the green structures adding a little more movement and introducing some impresseive sand face bunkering.These holes look good and are strategically strong. However it is holes 8-11 that you will remember!

After hole 7 the course heads up onto a higher dunes surrounded by coastline. This part of the course is certainly picturesque, but also offers some exhilarating golf. There are stunning views of Turnberry's coastline, the famous lighthouse, castle ruins, Ailsa course & Ailsa Crag..

Notable holes include: hole 8- a long par 4 which heads directly toward the shore, with Ailsa Crag and Turnberry lighthouse as outstanding backdrops

hole 9- a shorter par 4 right along the cliff tops with a spectacular but difficult green setting on a cliff top promontory. hole 10- a lovely par 3 with elevated tees on the cliffs. hole 11- a long par 5 running in parallel with hole 8, sharing the same wonderful backdrops.

Robert the Bruce is a quality design, and a pleasure to play- with a few moments of sheer exhilaration along the way…

Peter Wood is the founder of The Travelling Golfer – click the link to read his full review.

March 25, 2020
7 / 10
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Dan Hare

Played this Spring as part of a very reasonable deal, and really enjoyed the changes to what was already an excellent course. The holes around the turn are completely different, and the new 9th is possibly the most exhilarating hole on both courses - a brilliant job, with a good drive setting up a real death or glory long iron approach shot from a cambered fairway with cove and gorse threatening left. Much closer in quality to the Ailsa than previously, but still a few too many similar flat gorse-lined gentle doglegs. Possibly the best stay and play 36 hole destination.

July 01, 2019
7 / 10
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john houston

Played here in a cold breezy day, after a night of heavy rain, the course is good, maybe a 6 out of 10, however the new holes will need a few seasons for the fairways to improve , very wet in places and a little bare in places. I would put it in the second level of links site courses in Scotland, However the summer green-fee of £120 is way off the mark, having played many courses of a similar level for around the £50 to £60 mark.

March 25, 2018
6 / 10
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Jim McCann

I attended the opening of the new King Robert the Bruce course a couple of days ago, when Eric Trump paid tribute to architect Martin Ebert for his efforts over the previous three years – during which time he made no fewer than 85 site visits to Turnberry – in helping to transform the fortunes of a golf venue that wasn’t quite in the best of shape when it was purchased.

Millions have been invested in the hotel and the golfing infrastructure to raise the resort’s profile to its current all-time high and the arrival of the revamped King Robert the Bruce course is just the latest piece of the jigsaw puzzle to be put into place by its new owners. The old Kintyre course was a decent links layout but it’s now a far better one following a substantial makeover.

Turnberry (King Robert the Bruce) Golf Course - Photo by reviewer

A lot of the gorse has been removed to reveal sandy waste areas, especially the large patch between holes 5 and 13, where I understand a lot of sand was mined for use around the property during recent course redevelopment work. The course’s eco credentials will certainly now be boosted by this section being designated as a wetland area that will attract a variety of wildlife as it matures.

The bunkering is exceptional throughout, mirroring the composition of the bunkers that were recently brought into play on the Ailsa, with ragged-edged marram grass “eyebrow” versions in the fairways and sharper, revetted traps set close to the greens. Fairway turf is firm and fast and the greens are a pleasure to putt on, even if they were running a little slower than some might have expected the other day.

The opening seven holes are all solid links holes, played out on relatively flat terrain located furthest inland from the coast. Removing the old burn that crossed the 1st fairway is a big improvement. The new holes on top of Bain’s Hill then really up the ante quite a bit and if they don’t get your pulse racing here then nothing will!

A lot of earth must have been shifted to grade the fairway on the new 8th as it heads downhill towards the lighthouse and the green. Because It looks so totally natural, you really have to doff your hat to the architect, the contractor and the green keeping staff for producing such an eye-catching hole that looks like it’s been there for ever.

Turnberry (King Robert the Bruce) Golf Course - Photo by reviewer

It’s followed by the new 9th, doubling back along the hill to a green that clings onto a rocky promontory, beyond the cove where the old 8th green was located. The fairway narrows considerably before the approach shot has to fly the little bay, across what is now just a sandy wasteland, so it’s rightly rated stroke index 2, even though the prevailing wind is normally behind from tee to green.

The new par three 10th then calls for another all-or-nothing shot to the flag, where the tee shot must carry over another large sandy void on its way to finding an elevated green protected by bunkers to the front right and front left of the putting surface. If you manage to card a net “5-4-3” for holes 8 to 10 then you’ve done rather well in my book as it’s a testing little sequence of holes.

The extended 11th is now a par five hole and it takes the course routing elegantly back downhill to where the closing seven holes are situated – again, these are all sound links holes, finishing up with the newly lowered green of the left doglegged 18th set in front of the clubhouse.

The King Robert the Bruce course, under its old guise of the Kintyre, is currently ranked outside the Scottish Top 50 but don’t be at all surprised to see it make a significant upward move when the national rankings are updated in a couple of months as the spruced up and revitalized version of the old layout is way superior to the one that debuted in 2001.

Jim McCann

June 30, 2017
7 / 10
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Dan Hare
July 01, 2017

But he wasn't a king ?! Shouldn't be allowed.

Ed Battye

The second course at Turnberry, the Kintyre, is a fine one in its own right yet is often overlooked by golfers heading to this part of the world. Clearly any course that plays second fiddle to the Ailsa may go under the radar but I would strongly suggest a play at this demanding links if time permits.

The greens are modern in design, have greater undulations than the main course and your ball is more likely to kick-off one of the humps and mounds at the green edges into swales and hollows around the putting surfaces. Gorse is also a threat on many of the holes.

At the time of playing (October 2016) change is now afoot here with four holes (7, 8, 9 & 10) currently out of play and being remodelled with an opening due in 2017 as the new 'Bruce' course at Turnberry.

Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.

March 29, 2017
6 / 10
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David Worley
Holes 1-5 and 13-15 are inside the triangle formed by the old runways. The 16th and 18th are alongside the Ailsa but it is the new holes, mainly higher up from 6-12 that really lift the Kintyre. The 7th is unusual in that it is framed by thick trees. All the trouble is with the second shot on this par four. Stay to the left and use the camber of the fairway.

The 8th is certainly one of the memorable new holes. This par four of 306 yards is more or less straight and downhill all the way, but you cannot see the green from the tee. The fairway narrows about seventy yards out where you get a good glimpse of the green in a little cove right on the edge of the low cliff beside the sea.

The par five 9th runs high up along the cliff top to an undulating green with the lighthouse and Ailsa Craig in the background. The 10th runs back in the opposite direction. The 11th is a picturesque par four running downhill to a green partly hidden by a thicket of scrub and gorse on the side of Bain’s Hill.

The next four holes necessitate some straight driving if you want to stay away from the prolific clumps of gorse. At the dogleg on 17 you need to stay left, away from the burn. The long second shot to the green then needs to avoid the two bunkers at the front left. The final hole is heavily bunkered and is probably rather more of a challenge than its counterpart on the Ailsa.

This review is an edited extract from Another Journey through the Links, which has been reproduced with David Worley’s kind permission. The author has exclusively rated for us every Scottish course featured in his book. Another Journey through the Links is available for Australian buyers via www.golfbooks.com.au and through Amazon for buyers from other countries.
April 21, 2015
6 / 10
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F. Griffin
The Kintyre course is rather challenging having particularly narrow fairways and a lot of heavy rough. Being coastal, the wind will be a major factor on your score even on a relatively good day in August. Take plenty of spare balls. The course itself was in very good shape although it was by no means as spectacular as I had imagined. I have played many better courses in Scotland for less money. What was an enjoyable afternoon was marred by the attentions of a course marshal (an American gentleman in a buggy) who spoke down to us and abruptly advised us that we had to play quicker as the group behind us was complaining about our slow play. He failed to take account of the fact that we were continually held up by the group directly in front of us although we were not complaining. We appeared to have been tried, convicted, and sentenced even before he spoke to us. It is of course possible that the players behind us were far more important guests than my party in which case I fully understand and apologise profusely.
August 05, 2013
6 / 10
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Graeme Duncan
Played the Kintyre course on Saturday, 31 March 2012 as part of the Bunkered magazine deal. Weather was tremendous – not a cloud in the sky or a breath of wind which probably did not give a fair reflection of how tough this course actually is (although driving straight into a bunker off the 1st tee and carding a 6 to start, I found it a sufficient test being an 18 handicapper!!!). You don’t see much of the sea bar the few holes from 8-11 I think but it is true links golf – plenty of run and firm and fast greens. As for the 8th hole, I don’t particularly enjoy driving off the tee into the unknown (none of us had purchased a stroke saver or were given one by the starter so did not have a clue what lay up ahead) but when I walked up to my ball and found I was five yards off the green in 1, my opinion of the hole changed 180 degrees!! Would like to play it again to pitch my ball down into the green which is surrounded by rocks and waves. Absolutely stunning. Rest of the course was in great condition (bar 4 or 5 bunkers which were G.U.R) and the closing hole is a credit to the course with its undulating green which my playing partner, with 2 puts to win us the match, managed to put straight off the green leaving him a chip back on and us with a costly 7! Would play the course again in an instant. Have never played the Ailsa but if this is the “poor neighbour” then I can only imagine how good it must actually be….
April 03, 2012
8 / 10
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