Trump Turnberry's Ailsa course: the new par-3 9th and more...

Jeremy Ellwood tries his luck at the new long par-3 9th on Trump Turnberry's Ailsa course and talks through some of the other major changes...

Jeremy Ellwood tries his luck at the new long par-3 9th on Trump Turnberry's Ailsa course and talks through some of the other major changes...

After playing the redesigned Ailsa course at Trump Turnberry on May 31 the day before it re-opened, I was up early the next day to head back down to the back tee on the new par-3 9th hole to have a go at what will surely become one of the hardest par-3 tee-shots in golf.

Armed with a video camera and a few clubs I walked the 300 yards or so from the iconic gleaming white lighthouse to the small patch of neatly mown tee-box grass set above the rocky shoreline, and turned to look towards the green.

I know I've been saying for some time that I need to get my eyes tested, and the rising sun was still relatively low in the sky, but I have to confess that I could barely see the green. In some ways, this was perhaps no surprise given that it was almost 250 yards away, with virtually no bail-out short, and the only potentially safe miss away to the right if you were also long enough.

There was a little more breeze than the previous day and it was against me, so I immediately dispensed with the 3-wood, which I had hoped might be enough, and removed the headcover from my Mizuno JPX EZ driver, safe in the knowledge that it was the only club that could possibly get me there.

Jezz Ellwood on the new back 9th tee on the Ailsa course, June 2016

Jezz Ellwood on the new back 9th tee on the Ailsa course, June 2016

After shooting a piece to camera for the video accompanying this story, I turned to have a go, with one of the stills from that video uncannily similar to a shot we took with Padraig Harrington just ahead of the 2009 Open from a very similar spot, albeit with a slightly less technically sound swing.


Padraig Harrington or Ireland during a Wilson Staff Company day on the Ailsa Course at Turnberry Golf Club on May 20, 2009 in Turnberry, England (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

Padraig Harrington on the old back 9th tee on the Ailsa course, May 2009

My first attempt went a little high and right - no great surprise for my very first blow of the day. I reloaded and repeated the shot. I reloaded again, and repeated the same shot again, by which stage I was forced to conclude that either a) I wasn't sufficiently warmed up to take on a shot of this severity, or b) my body was involuntarily producing a movement that meant I couldn't possibly send my ball clattering onto the rocks away to the left.

At least there were no pitch marks to repair, but after walking back up and away to do a little videoing on other holes, it wasn't till I got back to the car some distance away that I realised I hadn't picked any of my balls up.

So if you're playing the spectacular new Ailsa course at Trump Turnberry in the next few days and stumble across a Mizuno MP-S, a Titleist DT SoLo or a TaylorMade Burner Soft short right of the 9th green, could you forward them back to me c/o Golf Monthly's Farnborough address...


Jeremy Ellwood
Contributing Editor

Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly. He is an expert on the Rules of Golf having qualified through an R&A course to become a golf referee. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 91 of the Next 100, making him well-qualified when it comes to assessing and comparing our premier golf courses. He has now played 1,000 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts. He reached the 1,000 mark on his 60th birthday in October 2023 on Vale do Lobo's Ocean course. Put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content.

Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf

Jeremy is currently playing...

Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft

3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft

Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft

Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)

Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response