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Changes to Ailsa course

Trump unveils reshaped Turnberry ‘masterpiece’

Donald TrumpDonald Trump has unveiled his changes to the Turnberry course which he hopes will put it back on the Open itinerary.

The Trump Organisation and golf course architects Mackenzie & Ebert have completed a “meticulous study and review” of the Ailsa course, and in consultation with the R&A, have revealed plans for they claim are “extensive but sympathetic” changes which have been sought for decades.

The proposed redesign, to be complete by June next year, will include the creation of five holes and a range of alterations covering virtually every corner of the course which sits on more than 1,000 acres of the Ayrshire coast.

Trump, who acquired the course last year, said: “Today marks a very important milestone for Turnberry and we are thrilled to be officially unveiling a new and exciting future for this spectacular development.

“While considering improvements we have paid close attention to the prospect of staging future Open Championships.

“In close consultation with the R&A, we have created an intricate plan which covers every inch of this magnificent course and will make Trump Turnberry a masterpiece in golf course design providing the most challenging and spectacular golf experiences anywhere in the world.

“I would like to thank the R&A for their time and dedication to the delicate renovation of the Ailsa course.”

It is thought the earliest that Turnberry could be considered for the Open is 2020.

At a press conference, Trump’s son Eric, executive vice president of the Trump Organisation, said:  “Our plans are extensive and will offer a new playing experience which will be unrivalled anywhere in the world.  Our main objectives have been to retain the routing of the course, but to emphasise the spectacular coastline views.”

Turnberry opened in 1901 and has hosted the Open Championship on four occasions. Mackenzie & Ebert advises on six of the 10 venues on the Open rota, and were presented by a digitally mastered short film which included a “fly through” illustrating the key alterations.

Martin Ebert, director of Mackenzie & Ebert, said: “There is huge international respect for the existing course at Turnberry and therefore these proposals will generate great debate in the golfing world.

“We have been very careful to make an in depth study of the evolution of golf at Turnberry before making these proposals. The re-born Ailsa course will create a much enhanced golfing experience, making even more use of the spectacular landscape and the iconic historic scenes that make Turnberry so special.   That, in turn, will lead to even more enjoyable golf for everyone and further dramatic championships at Turnberry.”

The changes include lengthening the Open layout by 150 yards giving it a total yardage of just over 7,350 yards which will be a real test with five par 3s in the layout. It will retain its par 70 status for The Open but will increase to 71 for general play with the 5th hole becoming a par 5.

Five new holes will be created at the 6th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 14th together with alterations to all other holes including the reshaping and positioning of bunkers, new tees and green positions and the softening of green contours to provide for more options for flag positions.

A summary of the proposed changes to the course:

         A tougher par 4 1st hole lengthened with new championship tees and a new green and with a wider landing area to encourage more attacking play.

         An extension of the par 3 4th hole with a new green.

         An extension of the 5th hole at the tee and the green to produce a par 5 for general play but a par 4 for The Open.

         A new shortened par 3 6th hole, played from a series of tees, the most dramatic of which will sit on the dune bank by the beach, to a new green with danger all around.

         A new par 3 9th hole from the existing tees across the bay to a new green at Turnberry Point to create one of the most exhilarating par 3s in world golf.

         A new lengthened par 5 10th hole playing around Castle Port Bay with new championship tees providing a number of options with the driver, the boldest being a 280 yard carry over the bay. A new green will be pushed back to the site of the existing 11th tee providing a new elevated position with the ocean as its immediate backdrop.

         A new par 3 11th hole will play across rocky coastal inlets to a new green with a beautiful setting offering complete intimacy with the coast.

         A new lengthened par 5 14th hole with a new and elevated green on the site of the old 9th fairway offering 180 degree views of the sea.

         A new stone bridge over the ‘Wee Burn’ at the par 4 16th hole.

         A shorter par 4 17th hole with a new green short of the current green providing more room for a championship grandstand to the rear of the green.

         A lengthened and straightened par 4 18th hole offering a new elevated championship tee position on the dunes giving golfers a full view of the hotel for their final hole and for spectators and viewers a perfectly framed scene of players silhouetted on the horizon with the Turnberry seascape behind.

The proposals for the course have already been presented in a private meeting to golf club members to an overwhelmingly positive response.

Additionally, a £10m upgrade of the clubhouse and new Duel in the Sun restaurant is currently under way and is planned to open in June in advance of the RICOH Women’s British Open, which will be the last major tournament to be hosted by the course in its current form.

Likewise, the 2nd course is being fully redeveloped.

Picture: Donald Trump (STV)

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