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DESIGNER: Mackenzie Ross
SSS (Course Rating): 72
TYPE: Links

While the worldwide recognition commanded by Turnberry is due mostly to the Ailsa course, it should not be forgotten that the Arran course is also a fine test of golf. With a par of 69 and a yardage of 6,276, it is definitely worth a visit. There is however, little doubt that the jewel in the Turnberry crown is Ailsa.

Beginning life as the property of a railway company almost one hundred years ago, Turnberry, having been used as a wartime airfield, was on the verge of extinction by 1946. Cue the timely intervention of course architect Mackenzie Ross, who transformed the property into what has become one of the world's finest golf courses.

More perfectly manicured than most Scottish courses, this coastal stretch of holes, intermingling turbulent dunes and rocky crags, represents links golf at its best. Named after the landmark rock "Ailsa Craig", holes four through eleven on the Ailsa Course, which play alongside the sea are among the most beautiful and demanding as anywhere in the world.

With holes framed by sand dunes and flanked by craggy rocks, the imposing Turnberry lighthouse stands stoically bearing witness to the many seafarers who have come to a watery grave off the rugged coastline. The closing 7 holes, though slightly more inland, are none the easier for that, while holes 15 through 18 can make or break your score. That the weather often changes by the hour only serves to augment the challenge of this superb course.

Turnberry's graduation to the envied ranks of host to the British Open came in 1977, where Watson and Nicklaus went head to head in what became known as the "Duel in the Sun". Though Turnberry has since hosted the Open twice, with both Norman and Price laying claim to the Claret Jug, little compares to the drama of that final day in 1977, when Watson claimed a one stroke victory over his great adversary. As Hubert Green, who finished 3rd some ten strokes behind Nicklaus, said "I won the Open — those guys were playing a different tournament".


In order to play either the Ailsa Course or Arran Course at Turnberry, one must stay at Turnberry Hotel.

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