Trump Turnberry Ailsa Course Re-opens

A first look at the spectacular, redesigned Ailsa course at Trump Turnberry

Jeremy Ellwood takes a first look at the spectacular, redesigned Ailsa course at Trump Turnberry on a media preview day before the official re-opening

I think I've played Turnberry's Ailsa course two or three times before, most recently on a Wilson Staff media day ahead of the 2009 Open when I had the privilege of playing six holes around the turn with the then defending champion, Padraig Harrington.

Seven years down the line, and it was those very holes around the turn that came sharply into focus again yesterday when I joined a select group of journalists on a preview day to experience the changes to the Ailsa course first-hand at what is now Trump Turnberry Resort a day ahead of the official re-opening.

We were blessed with simply glorious weather to showcase some exceptional changes to a layout that was already regarded as one of the very best in the UK - currently No. 4 in the Golf Monthly Top 100 Courses in the UK & Ireland.

Some had expressed concern about the need to change the holes around the lighthouse that already ranked among the most stunning on the course visually, but having now played them, there is little doubt that the changes implemented under the guidance of highly experienced course architect, Martin Ebert, have taken the course to a whole new level.

The layout now makes the fullest use possible of that dramatic rocky shoreline around the turn, but the 9th, 10th and 11th aren't the only holes to have undergone a facelift.

Indeed every hole has changed, with every green being relaid to ensure consistency throughout, even those that have essentially stayed in the same place.

Other significant changes have been...

  • A hugely strengthened and lengthened 1st hole.
  • A much more visually arresting par-3 4th with a long sandy waste area just beyond the tee.
  • A severely shortened but more dramatic par-3 6th.
  • A re-aligned and lengthened 14th which now plays as a par 5 with the lighthouse much more of a feature.
  • A straightened 18th, which now plays from the top of dunes close to the shore straight towards the iconic hotel.

As our hole-by-hole picture sequence video here shows, the changes have turned something that was already stunning into something truly magical.


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 across the whole spectrum from courses and Rules to equipment and instruction. He also edits The Golf Club Secretary Newsletter, a highly regarded trade publication for golf club secretaries and managers, and has authored or co-authored three books and written for a number of national papers including The Telegraph and The Independent. 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 well over 950 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, right across the spectrum from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts, but 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