The Takeaway: The Ailsa course at Turnberry is one of the great golf courses in the world and delivers incredible scenery, top shelf architecture, and one of the best properties for links golf you'll ever come across. Most courses that have hosted major championships garner an undue amount of praise simply due to their tournament history, but Turnberry is worthy of every ounce of hype it receives. A trip to Scotland devoid of Ailsa is borderline unforgivable. Grade A+
Designer: Willie Fernie in 1902 (Redesigns by MacKenzie Ross in 1951 and Martin Hawtree in 2016)
Cost: £100.00 - £350.00 (Caddies available) Click for current rates
Phone Number: +44 (0) 1655 331000
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Trump Turnberry (Ailsa)'s official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - Turnberry, Ayrshire, UK
Accolades: Ranked 1st in Scotland by Golf Course Gurus. British Open champions; 1977 (Tom Watson), 1986 (Greg Norman), 1994 (Nick Price), and 2009 (Stewart Cink)
What to Expect: Without question, the Ailsa course at Turnberry deserves a seat at the table in the discussion about the best golf courses on the planet. A lot of courses that have hosted major championships are good tests of skill but lack the architectural character, unique features, or setting to transcend greatness beyond their hosting history. Turnberry blows up that stereotype with a course that is laid out on a gorgeous property with varied terrain and masterful hole designs. The walking only course offers caddies for hire or you can tote your bag around the property that features a beautiful blend of elevation changes on and around the sand dunes and along the rocky ocean cliffs. The course warms you up with the opening three holes before it launches into an incredible stretch of holes from #4 - #17, although #12 - #16 isn't as impressive as the others. The 12th hole features a monument dedicated to airmen that lost their life during the World Wars when that portion of the property was used as an airstrip for the Royal Air Force. The 9th and 11th holes rival Cypress Point for having two of the best par threes ever in such a short stretch while the 10th compliments that stretch as an absolutely fantastic par five. The iconic lighthouse found between the 9th and 10th holes boasts a halfway house for snacks as well as a pair of suites that can be rented by the night. From a golfer's perspective, there are few places on the planet that are more gorgeous or iconic than the lighthouse location on Turnberry which would be a once in a lifetime experience to enjoy staying at. Perhaps the most famous round played at Turnberry was in 1977 when Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus battled in the final round of the Open Championship. Watson shot a 65 to edge out Nicklaus by a single stroke in a battle dubbed the Duel in the Sun. At age 59, Watson nearly repeated as champion in 2009 but a bogey on the 72nd resulted in a four hole playoff that resulted in Stewart Cink being crowned champion. The course you play on today isn't the same the legends played on previously. The course went through an eight month renovation and reopened in 2016 with every hole changing; the biggest changes coming on the coastal holes to create some of the best par threes in the world. There are plenty of fantastic courses to tee it up on in Scotland but if I could only pick one to play the rest of my life it would be Turnberry's Ailsa course.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 9th Hole – 248 Yard Par 3
Best Par 3: 11th Hole – 215 Yards
Best Par 4: 17th Hole – 509 Yards
Best Par 5: 10th Hole – 565 Yards
Birdie Time: 5th Hole – 531 Yard Par 4
Bogey Beware: 16th Hole – 479 Yard Par 4