Turnberry at Ailsa -World Famous
Often referred to as Scotland’s Pebble Beach, Turnberry Ailsa in Ayrshire on the west coast of Scotland is perhaps the most scenic Open Championship course. Many regard it as the best course in Scotland, after St Andrews Old Course, and among the top ten in the world. Turnberry provides a complete golfing experience with an excellent layout, magnificent scenery and plenty of history. It is part of the Westin Turnberry Resort and hugs the coast along Turnberry Bay.
Situated on the Irish Sea and the Firth of Clyde, the spectacular views of Ailsa Craig, a dome-like rock eleven miles into the sea, the Isle of Arran and Mull of Kintyre are memorable. On a clear day, one can even see Ireland in the distance. Considered one of Britain’s top three courses, Turnberry served as an airfield during the World Wars. After WWII, Mackenzie Ross redesigned the layout of the course and today it is a gem of a 6976 yard par 69 course.
Turnberry Golf Course shot into international prominence during the 1977 Open during a historic four day ‘Duel in the sun’ between Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson. It has been the battleground of many of the world’s best games since then. The wind has a critical role to play on this course and results in a tough opening three holes.
The course, between the 4th and 11th holes, runs along the shore, with the natural hazards coming into play. The fifth to the eight are outlined by sand dunes and the ninth to eleventh is bordered by craggy rocks. The 9th hole, known as Bruce’s Castle is the signature hole of the course and one of the most photographed holes in golf. The remote tee on a rocky edge overlooks the Bay and the famous Turnberry lighthouse and the drive across the corner of the bay offers a glimpse of Bruce’s Castle.
The tenth is a 452-yard dogleg left bordering the sea. Beware of the island trap, a huge circle of sand surrounding a sizable piece of rounded fairway. Wee Burn, the 16th is a 409-yard par-4 with its green surrounded by Wilson’s Burn. Land in it and you may need a long-handled ball retriever for the deep darkness.