There are few more inspiring places to play golf than Turnberry. The granite dome of Ailsa Craig, the lighthouse, in the distance the Isle of Arran and the Mull of Kintyre, add to the breathtaking landscape that is a match for any course in the world.
Home to four Open Championships, the Ailsa has shaped some of the most remarkable moments in the tournament's history and was voted best course in the UK by two leading golf publications. In 1986 Greg Norman won the Open at Turnberry, in 1977 Tom Watson beat Jack Nicklaus by one shot and in 1994 Nick Price was victorious. Stewart Cink conquered the title at an incredible championship in 2009.
This par-70, 7,217-yard championship course is one of golf's storied places. Its first three holes pose a fairly tough opening, particularly when the wind blows from the direction of its namesake, the brooding isle of Ailsa Craig, 11 miles out to sea. From the 4th to the 11th, the coastal scenery is magnificent and the course is demanding. Commanding a passage of stout hitting throughout, the 5th to the 8th holes are framed by sandy hillocks, while the 9th, 10th and 11th are flanked by craggy rocks.
On its stony ridge on the edge of the sea, the 9th hole is Turnberry's trademark. The landmark lighthouse casts shadows over the 13th century ruins of Bruce's Castle, the reputed birthplace of Scotland's hero king Robert the Bruce, and the narrow path to the tee and the drive across the corner of the bay fills players with trepidation.
The 17th, named Lang Whang, is the only par 5 on the course. A short but challenging hole, its subtle contours slightly obstruct each shot-characteristic of the trickery of Turnberry. The finishing hole of the Ailsa, the ‘Duel in the Sun’ was renamed in honour of the 1977 Open Championship when Tom Watson had a one shot lead over his great rival, Jack Nicklaus.
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Bridge of Allan
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