1 - Top 50 UK & Ireland Stay and Play Turnberry

Stay and Play Turnberry. Golf Monthly takes a look at the Top 50 places to Stay and Play in the UK and Ireland

Turnberry - Ailsa

1- Top 50 UK & Ireland Stay and Play Turnberry

There are some golf resorts that deliver a little extra, whether because of history, scenery, hospitality or quality of the course. To find a destination that ticks all these boxes is rare. Turnberry fits into this exclusive bracket.

Host to the Open Championship four times, each has been a memorable occasion. From Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson's epic Duel in the Sun in 1977, to the fairytale that never was in 2009, when Watson so nearly became a Major champion again aged 59.

The Ailsa championship course is a superb links with real variety and challenges to test every element of the game. Each hole points in a slightly different direction, meaning the wind presents a constantly varying challenge.

Trump Turnberry Resort Ailsa Course Review

The opening is gentle with a short par 4, but you're soon into the meat of the layout, battling back and forth then out towards the iconic lighthouse. Playing around the turn the views across to Ailsa Craig and Arran are breathtaking, as are the scenes up the coast, past Bruce's Castle. The run for home is particularly tough: the treacherous 16th, with its green protected by a stream front and left, followed by the ferociously narrow par-5 17th. The last provides respite, striking back towards the imposing white hotel on the hillside.

The hotel is one of the world's finest. Walking into the Grand Tea Lounge, you might have stepped on to the set of Poirot. A 2009 refurbishment was sympathetic to the hotel's Edwardian roots - it opened in 1906. Although the finish is sleek and stylish, there are elegant nods to Turnberry's heritage.

The resort delivers the height of luxury, but with the friendliest welcome and without pretension. The food is of the highest standard, with all tastes catered for; from elegant simplicity in the Ailsa Bar & Lounge to fine dining in the James Miller Room.

The swimming pool has floor-to-ceiling windows offering stunning views out to Ailsa Craig, while the spa has an impressive range of holistic treatments. Other hotel activities include horse riding and outdoor pursuits.

Back to the links, there's another fabulous 18-hole course to sample. Dating from 1909, the Kintyre is the work of Donald Steel. It's an excellent layout and a fine complement to its famous neighbour. The run for home is particularly challenging, but the 8th stands out. At just over 300 yards, it's driveable, but the fairway narrows as it dips towards the sea. The green is set in a cove with the waves lapping against it.

The resort boasts fabulous practice and coaching facilities. The Turnberry Performance Academy provides expert tuition from tee to green, while the TaylorMade Performance lab offers the ultimate in custom fitting.

Golf and fun are to the fore at Turnberry - it's a place that can be enjoyed by all who visit.

Rooms & suites: 149 Courses: 3 - Ailsa, Kintyre and Arran Golfbreaks.com best Mar/Apr 2014 deal: One night's B&B & two rounds from £180pp. Visit www.golfbreaks.com

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin (also of Golf Monthly)... Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?