Trump Turnberry Resort Ailsa Course Review

A perfect blend of championship challenge and wow-factor location; not for the faint-hearted

The green on the fabulous par-3,ninth (Photo: David Cannon/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A perfect blend of championship challenge and wow-factor location; not for the faint-hearted

Trump Turnberry Resort Ailsa Course Review

Top 100 Ranking 2021/22 - 4 Previous Rankings 2019/20 - 01 2017/18 - 01 2015/16 - 04 2013/14 - 04 2011/12 - 03 2009/10 - 02

Summer Green Fees

Round - £275-£395

Visitors: welcome every day

Medal Tee: Par 71 - 6,511 Yards

Changes since previous ranking

None advised

 WATCH: The Average Golfer visits the Ailsa Course at Trump Turnberry -

Trump Turnberry Resort Ailsa Course Review

The Ailsa Course is a favourite of many golfing aficionados; a supreme championship links in one of the finest settings in the UK&I.

One of the most recent newcomers to host The Open, its first was in 1977. This turned into one of the all-time classics, the Duel in the Sun. Tom Watson finally edged it, just one stroke ahead of Jack Nicklaus.

The par-3 4th. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

Since then, it has hosted the tournament on three further occasions, so it was certainly a very bold move when it was decided to make substantial changes in a quest to make it better still.

Martin Ebert, still very much the architect of the day, was called back in. He had previously made some changes prior to the 2009 Open. This time, he was given far greater scope and resources. The result means that the course has moved on dramatically since its original post-WWII restoration by Philip Mackenzie Ross.

The par-5 7th (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

Sea Changes

Without doubt the most significant and exciting changes were those around the turn. The first of these is the creation of a spectacular par 3, the 9th. This is now a maximum-length one-shotter, played over the cliffs and crags to a new green right by of the lighthouse.

Following a diversion for the customary halt-time tipple in golf’s most amazing halfway house, the back nine now begins with a glorious, snaking par 5. This involves another daunting carry over the rocks. If the wind is howling in from the left, you may well have to aim your drive out to sea! The hole works its way gently right to left along the shore, taking in an enormous bunker some way short.

The approach to the tenth

The 11th is another new hole, a gorgeous short hole that once again flirts with danger all the way on the left. This 3-5-3 sequence is a quite brilliant hat-trick of holes by the sea, taking full advantage of its thrilling location.

The beautiful par-3 eleventh hole

The good work continues, all the way to the 18th tee which has been moved up on to the dunes to create a far more impressive climax playing straight back towards the instantly recognisable hotel. As you would expect from such a top-level set-up, it is presented in immaculate order and is very high up the list when it comes to the best golf courses in Scotland.

The par-5 14th (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images

There is no avoiding the ownership elephant in the room, but we are here for the golf. There is also no denying that it’s pricey, but having said that, it is in every respect one of the very best courses in the UK&I.

The well-protected sixteenth

Other Golf Courses Donald Trump Owns

Assessor Feedback

It was my first visit to Turnberry and it not only lived up to expectations it exceeded them. Champagne golf at champagne prices - bucket list. World-class bunkering and a signature stretch of holes that will have you reaching for your camera time and time again.

GM Verdict

A perfect blend of championship challenge and wow-factor location; not for the faint-hearted

Rob Smith
Rob Smith

Rob Smith has been playing golf for more than 40 years and been a contributing editor for Golf Monthly since 2012 specialising in course reviews and travel. He has now played 1,150 different courses in almost 50 countries. Despite lockdowns and travel restrictions last year, he still managed to play 80 different courses during 2021, 43 of them for the first time. This included 21 in 13 days on a trip to East Lothian in October. One of Rob's primary roles is helping to prepare the Top 100 and Next 100 Courses of the UK&I, of which he has played all but nine. Rob is a member of Tandridge Golf Club in Surrey where his handicap hovers around 16. You can contact him at