31st May 2016, TURNBERRY, SCOTLAND: Turnberry’s Ailsa course, one of the most iconic golf courses in the world, has officially reopened today (1st June) as part of a £200m investment by the Trump Organization.
The jewel in Scotland’s golfing crown – most famous for the “Duel in the Sun” between Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson at The Open Championship in 1977 – has undergone a bold transformation to create what must surely become regarded as the most exciting links course in the world.
Executive Vice President, Eric Trump, said: “We are incredibly proud of the exciting changes we have made to The Ailsa Championship course and are thrilled to be opening the course today. Golfers can expect to be both challenged and amazed at its beauty and the incredible scenery.”
Improvements to the mesmerising stretch of coastal play have been carefully created by renowned international golf architect Martin Ebert, of Mackenzie & Ebert. All 18 holes have seen changes made with huge areas of turf moved between the various holes to complete the refurbishment. The key improvements include:
- The 1st hole has been lengthened at both the tee and the green and at the same time creating a wider landing area.
- The 4th hole enjoys a new tee located close to the sea with the green moved further on and edged towards the coastline. This hole starts an incredible 8-hole coastal stretch that will prove to be unrivalled in the golfing world.
- The 5th hole has been lengthened to become a par five for general play. The green has been moved back into the wonderfully natural site of the valley behind the old green, creating a great amphitheatre for spectators.
- The 6th hole becomes a much shorter par 3 demanding great accuracy played from the dune bank high above the beach to a green perched atop a natural dune.
- The 9th hole has been turned into an awe inspiring par three playing across the bay giving golfers the thrill of launching a tee shot across the water.
- The 10th hole has been transformed to become one of the world’s best par fives. The hole will arc its way around the bay posing questions to the golfer for all of the shots. The green has been taken back to the old 11th tee with the rocks and ocean lying immediately behind.
- The 11th is a tremendous new par 3 hole played across a series of rocky inlets giving it a really intimate character.
- The 14th is also a new hole, this time a par 5, with spectacular 180 degree sea views and the magnificent Turnberry lighthouse as a focal point.
- Finally, the 18th hole gives the course the finish it deserves. The championship tee has been taken back to the dune ridge above the beach, producing a straight par 4 with the iconic hotel as a focus beyond the green.
Commenting on the transformation, Martin Ebert said: “The Ailsa course has always enjoyed a superb landscape but now the seaside holes use the coastal setting as real playing and visual features. The fourth hole starts an incredible 8-hole coastal sequence set against the dramatic backdrop of the Ayrshire coast with Ailsa Craig and Arran adding to the beauty of the scene. Such a stunning stretch of seaside holes must be unmatched in the golfing world. The Ailsa has been reborn and it has to be played to be believed.”
The iconic Turnberry Lighthouse has also been transformed from one of golf’s most photographed backdrops to one of the game’s most unique halfway houses, following an impressive renovation. The landmark is now also an exclusive, two-bedroom suite, putting it firmly on the map as one of the world’s most spectacular places to stay.
The hotel and golf course have been closed to the public for the past eight months to allow for major renovations and improvements as part of a £200 million investment. The 103-room hotel has been entirely refurbished, too, with hard-carved mahogany beds, 315 chandeliers and metres of fine Italian marble throughout.