Trump Turnberry (Ailsa)

Trump Turnberry (Ailsa)

Trump Turnberry (Ailsa)

Trump Turnberry (Ailsa) | NCG Top 100s: GB&I Golf Courses

Turnberry is loved the world over. Ask the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Gary Player and Greg Norman about the Ailsa and prepare for fulsome praise. Apart from the visual splendour, they like it quite simply because it invariably rewards good shots.

The crumpled fairways of Royal St George’s, for example, are not to the liking of everyone. Some find Royal Lytham & St Annes, walled in on three sides, visually underwhelming. And Carnoustie, while its class is not in question, can sometimes prove unplayable, as witnessed just prior to the turn of the millennium.
It seems that all who visit Turnberry have nothing but adulation for the course, from winners of the Open Championship to thrill-seeking holidaymakers, the reasons for which are multitudinous and generally obvious. Throughout the course, the magnificent views beguile visitors, with Ailsa Craig offering a constant brooding presence.

According to locals, if you can see Ailsa Craig, rain is on the way, and if not, it has already arrived. This huge, granite rock has a haunting, captivating quality. Sometimes brilliantly clear and sometimes shrouded by cloud, often its outline blurs and then fades from view completely.

Like all links courses, the weather is a major factor but at Turnberry it influences more than your chances of a good score. The experience is simply incomplete without seeing the sun illuminate the famous lighthouse or, later in the day, melt into the Atlantic Ocean.

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A Brief History of Trump Turnberry

Originally designed by 1883 Open Championship winner, Willie Fernie, in 1901, Turnberry Golf Course opened for play in 1906, concurrently with the Maidens and Dunure Light Railway that would provide easy access for people in search of a quality course.
During WWI, the property became an airbase and a landing strip still exists on-site. After the war, courses 1 and 2 were rebuilt and renamed ‘Ailsa’ and ‘Arran’. During WWII, the hotel became a hospital and the courses were used for training for the RAF.

Following this, the course was rebuilt by architect Mackenzie Ross, removing wartime runways and resurfacing the land. The course re-opened in 1951 as a seaside links with views of Ailsa Craig and the Isle of Arran.
From 1997 to 2008, the hotel was operated under the Wedtin Hotels & Resorts Brand until its purchasing by Dubai World’s subsidiary, Leisurecorp. Most recently, Donald Trump purchased the resort in 2014 and passed ownership to his sons in 2017, with the Trump Organisation claiming to have spent around $200 million on course renovations. 

Trump Turnberry (Ailsa) Review | NCG Top 100s: GB&I Golf Courses

The Open Championship

When the game’s most prestigious tournament came to Turnberry for the first time in 1977, no-one could have predicted that the finest two players of the day, Nicklaus and Watson, would find themselves head-to-head at the top of their form for the final 36 holes.

Watson’s stunning finish gave him another 65 and a one-shot victory over his rival. Turnberry’s profile was instantly elevated and the championship has since returned three times.
With the winners in 1986 and 1994 Greg Norman and Nick Price respectively, it has a record of producing great champions. Watson's emotional return to Turnberry in 2009 nearly furthered this record with one of the greatest stories in modern golfing history, but eventually Stewart Cink prevailed over the then 59-year-old in a playoff.
The most notable occurrence since on this fabled property was the small matter of the club's acquisition by the former 'Leader of the Free World', Mr. Donald Trump, in 2014.

The former President engaged Martin Ebert, of Mackenzie & Ebert, to redesign the course shortly afterwards. His renovations were radical, a spectacular new par 3 9th making the most of the rugged outcrops and the famous Turnberry lighthouse alongside a redeveloped and extended short 11th and a very different, and compelling, closing hole. 

Top Holes

5th 531 yards, par 5
Named Fin Me Oot, and no wonder, because locating the green in the right number of shots is some challenge. Previously a long par 4 and now a sporty par 5, you want to be playing your approach from as far to the right as possible because the green is set at an angle to the fairway. But doing so involves flirting with bunkers and making the hole play longer than its yardage suggests.

8th 476 yards, par 4
This long par 4 played towards the lighthouse with the sea on your left is as strong a two-shotter as you are ever likely to encounter. The fairway cambers from left to right and three bunkers await anything even fractionally leaked. The massive green is set above the level of the fairway and will sympathetically accept a solid, straight shot in but nothing else will get as far as the front edge.

9th 248 yards, par 3
Stand there and just take it in. This is one of the world's most breath-taking par 3s but it's also a challenge to boot. Everywhere the eye darts is wonder. Whether it's the awe-inspiring tee shot over the bay, the resplendent lighthouse in all its glory, or the remains of King Robert the Bruce's castle that can be seen from the green. It is stunning. It is dramatic. It is the quintessential photo moment. You may never want to leave.
10th 565 yards, par 5
A long par 5 that arcs around the bay and teases players off the tee. It looks much tighter than it is, but those players who stray too fat left will find nothing but the Firth of Clyde. If you're lucky, you might be able to play it off the beach. The well-known doughnut bunker, slap in the middle of the fairway, is designed to mess with those who are in two minds about attacking or laying up, while the infinity green is another stunning addition to an already sensational hole.

Where is Trump Turnberry located?

Trump Turnberry is located in the southwest of Scotland, in South Ayrshire. Around 80km south of Glasgow, the course is easily accessible by most means of transport from the city, such as train and road transport.

Glasgow Airport and Edinburgh Airport are both within a couple of hours from Trump Turnberry.

Who owns Trump Turnberry?

Since 2014, Turnberry Golf Course has been owned by the Trump Organization, hence the name ‘Trump Turnberry’. Former US President Donald Trump bought the hotel in 2014. 

With this purchase came a wealth of controversy associated with the US President, so much so that Turnberry's return to the Open rota, as it were, sits now in between prolonged jeopardy and outright purgatory. 

In 2017, just before his inauguration, Donald Trump resigned directorship of the companies that own Trump Turnberry, passing control of the course to his sons, Donald Jr. and Eric. However, a Trump branded Open still doesn't seem a part of the R&A's future plans, which, although completely understandable in all practical and social regards, may be considered by some to be a golfing travesty.

What are the green fees for the Ailsa Course?

The Ailsa Course is one of the most expensive in the United Kingdom. A round on the Ailsa at Trump Turnberry will set you back £495 in the summer months.

Visit the Trump Turnberry website here.
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