Ten reasons to love Turnberry


1. The Craig The spectacular coastline of the Firth of Clyde includes views of the Isle of Arran and the hills of the Kintyre peninsula but hauntingly stuck 10 miles off the coast is the imperious Ailsa Craig. The volcanic rock, two miles in circumference, rises 1,114 feet above the sea and is now only fit for birdlife, particularly gannets, but was once a haven for Catholics during the Scottish Reformation, while for a century granite was mined from the rock and used for making curling stones.

2. The Bruce Robert the Bruce, who would become the Scottish king after banishing the English at Bannockburn in 1314, was born at Turnberry Castle on 11 July 1274. The ruins of the castle remain by the ninth green and 10th tee. Bruce grew up here but had to reclaim it from the English in 1307 and three years later ordered its destruction to prevent it again falling into Sassenach hands. So far, no English golfer has conquered a Turnberry Open either.

3. The Lighthouse Has become the modern symbol for Turnberry and as iconic a feature as on any Open course. Situated on the site of Turnberry Castle by the ninth green, it guides golfers to the turn of the Ailsa course, as well as sailors away from Bristo Rock, the cause of many wrecks before the lighthouse was built in 1873. It is 24 metres high and flashes every 15 seconds. Automated in 1986, it is now controlled from Edinburgh.

4. The Hotel With the red-tiled roof, white-washed walls and the long facade sitting on a hill overlooking the course and the coast, the Turnberry Hotel has been all about grandeur and luxury since opening in 1906. There may be modern additions such as the sumptuous spa but the elegance has always been there since it was built by the Glasgow and South Western Railway. It once had a station yards from the front entrance (which is actually at the back not to spoil the view from below) but now the beautiful people arrive by helicopter.

5. The Airfield During both world wars the course was turned into a military airbase. Grass runways were fine for World War I but the larger planes 20 years later required concrete tracks, some of which still remain to the side of the Ailsa and are ideal for parking and the temporary buildings required for the Open. The hotel was turned into a military hospital while a monument at the 12th green honours those who did not survive their missions. The course was completely rebuilt by Mackenzie Ross in 1951.

6. The President In November 1945 General Dwight D Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe, was invited to use a set of rooms on the top floor of nearby Culzean Castle for his lifetime, as a gesture of Scottish thanks for America's support during World War II. Eisenhower, later to become President of the United States, and his family visited often and he frequently played at Turnberry (below) when in residence. Also a member at Augusta National, Eisenhower is to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. Tiger Woods is rumoured to have stayed at Culzean Castle during previous Opens at Troon.

7. The Weather Wildly varying conditions make it ideal for links golf. Nowhere finer on still summer days and during surprisingly mild winters, but within a few holes the wind can get up and the rain lash sideways. Scoring varies accordingly, with the Open record of 63 matched here by Mark Hayes and Greg Norman but breaking 80 is a concern for even the best when a storm breaks. Once at the John Player Classic the tented village was blown away into the sea.

8. The Duel Turnberry's debut as an Open venue in 1977 saw one of the best major finishes ever as Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus clashed over the last 36 holes. In endless sunshine, Watson went ahead for good with a birdie at the 71st hole but had to make a three at the last when Nicklaus made an improbable birdie. Greg Norman and Nick Price created more drama in winning in '86 and '94.

9. The New Owners Dubai-based Leisurecorp bought the Turnberry Hotel last year for £55m. Over the winter the course was closed to get it in perfect condition and the hotel gutted to get it restored in time for the Open. Leisurecorp is also behind the European Tour's $10m (£6.1m) "Race to Dubai" bonus scheme and the $10m Dubai World Championship in November but, not immune from recession, was recently taken over by government agency Nakheel.

10. The Pitch and Putt Alongside the Ailsa there are two other full-scale courses but the most fun can be found across the road from the 18th of the Ailsa at the bottom of the slope up to the hotel. The 12-hole pitch-and-putt course is a little gem and during the Open often a scene where competitors in T-shirts and shorts play alongside their kids. ......... Andy Farrell

Suggested Topics
Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
Sport
Steven Gerrard had to be talked into adopting a deeper role by his manager, Brendan Rodgers
sportThe city’s fight for justice after Hillsborough is embodied in Steven Gerrard, who's poised to lead his club to a remarkable triumph
News
Much of the colleges’ land is off-limits to locals in Cambridge, with tight security
educationAnd has the Cambridge I knew turned its back on me?
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
The energy drink MosKa was banned for containing a heavy dose of the popular erectile dysfunction Levitra
news
Environment
People are buying increasing numbers of plants such as lavender to aid the insects
environmentGardeners rally round the endangered bumblebee
Sport
Australia's Dylan Tombides competes for the ball with Adal Matar of Kuwait during the AFC U-22 Championship Group C match in January
sportDylan Tombides was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011
Arts & Entertainment
Customers browse through Vinyl Junkies record shop in Berwick Street, Soho, London
musicBest exclusives coming to an independent record shop near you this Record Store Day
News
Ida Beate Loken has been living at the foot of a mountain since May
newsNorwegian gives up home comforts for a cave
Extras
indybest10 best gardening gloves
Arts & Entertainment
tvIt might all be getting a bit much, but this is still the some of the finest TV ever made, says Grace Dent
Arts & Entertainment
Comedian Lenny Henry is calling for more regulation to support ethnic actors on TV
tvActor and comedian leads campaign against 'lack of diversity' in British television
News
Posted at the end of March, this tweeted photo was a week off the end of their Broadway shows
people
News
peopleStar to remain in hospital for up to 27 days to get over allergic reaction
Arts & Entertainment
The Honesty Policy is a group of anonymous Muslims who believe that the community needs a space to express itself without shame or judgement
music
News
Who makes you happy?
happy listSend your nominations now for the Independent on Sunday Happy List
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit