Turnberry Course Review
The famous Ailsa Course hosted its first Open Championship in the late 1970s and since then another three spellbinding Opens have been played at Turnberry in 1986, 1994 and the last one in July 2009. The less famous Kintyre Course is an Open qualifying course for the Troon Opens. A great challenge in itself, dominated by narrow fairways and treacherously dramatic gorse.
This may seem a slightly biased viewpoint, mainly because Turnberry is my all time favourite Open Championship venue. I really do love the place; it’s the staff as well as the course that makes it so special. From the Caddymaster to Bar Staff, a more friendly welcome is difficult to imagine.
The course had numerous new bunkers for the 2009 Open, and is a true Championship Links. A great variety of holes predominantly playing out to the lighthouse and “back in”, the wind is a key factor.
There are few finer scenes from the halfway house. Arran in the distance, the famous Ailsa Craig “granite plug” rising from the North Atlantic Ocean and the 10th fairway stretching out, an inviting tee shot if ever there was one.
Holes 4-11 run alongside the beach with the prevailing wind from the ocean, even the par 3’s are demanding.
There are many fabulous tee shots in the opening 9 none more so than the 5th a dogleg left sweeping to the underside of the sandhill that creates a natural amphitheatre of a green.
The 16th changed for the last Open, more of a dogleg right, now, so as to accommodate spectators between it and the 7th fairway. The green is elevated and surrounded by a Burn both front and right. Some 30ft above is the putting surface.
The 17th is a long par 5 and it is sure to have a say in any future Open Champion.
A very narrow putting surface sloping back to front tests even the best!