Played by NCG: Trump Turnberry AilsaJune 1, 2016 The Scoop
The Ailsa course at Trump Turnberry is re-born following Martin Ebert's breathtaking and audacious redesign. Now all it needs is the Open Championship to return
Where is Trump Turnberry Ailsa?
Turnberry Ailsa is round 15 miles south of Ayr off the A77. Let’s be honest, it takes some getting to for most of us. But it’s well worth the effort. Scrap that – it’s worth any amount of effort.
Reason for going?
Turnberry Ailsa is re-born – it closed last September since when architects Mackenzie Ebert, led by Martin Ebert, have been carrying out what amounts to a total re-design. Given Turnberry has hosted four Open Championships (1977, 1986, 1994 and 2009) this is change on an unprecedented scale.
Ebert himself was on hand to present and explain the changes.
What to expect?
An entirely new golf course. All 18 greens have been relaid. By Ebert’s own estimation, there are five new holes – the 6th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 14th.
I would argue you can add the 1st (extended by 60 yards, an entirely new green, different bunkers and a change of angles), the 4th (extended by 30 yards, and with a completely new green complex and sandy waste area between tee and green), the 5th (extended by 30 yards with new bunkers) and the 18th (new championship tees high in the dune, new angle of play and new bunkers).
It measures a massive 7,453 yards off the tips. In championship play, there are now three par 5s (the 7th, extended 10th and extended and re-routed 14th) and five par 3s (the 4th, new 6th, new 9th played across the rocky cliffs, new 11th played along the coastline and 15th). The 17th is now a long par 4, and part of a fearsome closing stretch that begins on the 15th tee.
Ebert has made far better use of Turnberry’s natural advantages, taking the golfer closer to the beach, sea and cliffs much more often than before.
The 10th is a stunning new par 5, with an infinity green that merges into the ocean behind. The 9th is a dramatic long par 3 over the rocks and the 11th, previously an opportunity missed, now takes you right down to the sea.
Better still, you get the drama regardless of which tees you are playing off so club players will get all the thrills the pros do.
The 10th, below, is now a thrilling par 5, with the green moved back to the ocean. It doesn’t get much better than this.
My best bit?
I loved the challenge the new 1st presents. From what was, let’s be honest, an underwhelming start the pros reduced to a mid-iron and a wedge at the last Open, this is way more challenging. I was delighted to see my 3 wood find the sanctuary of the fairway beyond one bunker and short of another. I could tell the next few hours were going to be fun.
In truth, there were so many best bits. How cool is the new 5th green? Sadly, I didn’t get this up and down. On a more positive note, I avoided putting it into the bunker.
When I go back…
In my dreams, I will stay in the new two-bedroom apartment in the Turnberry Lighthouse. Prices start at £3,500 a night. But according to director of golf Ricky Hall, that does include breakfast. So that’s alright then. Here’s the view from the balcony…