The Turnberry Ailsa Golf Course is a top quality links course on a stunning cliff-top location on the Firth of Clyde in South Western Scotland, looking out to sea to the iconic island of Ailsa Craig.

ailsa course at turnberry

The luxury Turnberry Resort has a 5 star golf hotel and spa as well as three links courses including the Ailsa course which is considered to be one of the best golf courses in Scotland.

There is also a golf academy and lodge accommodation available. The prominent rock island Ailsa Craig is ever present as a famous back-drop 11 miles out to sea to the west. (Granite Rock from Ailsa Craig is used to make all the world's curling stones !)


The Turnberry Ailsa Course is an Open Championship course and was the venue in 1977 for a very exciting four day dual between Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson in the Open Championship with Tom Watson the eventual victor (see below).  And again in 2009, Tom Watson caused great excitement by nearly repeating his win at the Open over this course. He finished tied for the lead but failed to win in a play off.

Turnberry has been the venue for the British Open on four occasions to date  (1977, 1986, 1994, and 2009). It has also hosted many other important golf tournaments, including the Women's British Open in 2002, the Walker Cup in 1963, the Amateur Championship in 1961, 1983, 1996, and 2008, and the Senior Open Championship on six occasions, 1987–90, 2003, and 2006.

turnberry golf course ailsa craig and lighthouse

The Kintyre course at Turnberry is also a championship standard course as it was an Open Qualifying Venue for the 2004 Open at Royal Troon. There is also a 9 hole Par 31 Arran course which you can enjoy and it also makes a useful venue for some golf lessons from the Turnberry Performance Academy.

turnberry 11th hole and lighthouse

playing turnberry

Click here to find out about Golfing Breaks at
Turnberry Hotel with the Golfbreaks Tour Operator.

It is a good idea to plan well in advance to ensure you can get a chance to play this great course.

history of turnberry

The first formal courses was available at Turnberry in 1901 and the Turnberry Hotel was completed in 1906.  There are now three courses available at Turnberry and the Hotel is part of a wonderful Resort with Spa and further accomodation options in the form of lodges and self catering apartments.

The Open Championship at Turnberry in 1977 is known  by some as the "Duel in the Sun" and is considered one of the finest golf tournaments of the latter half of the 20th Century !

After the first two rounds, the top five spots were taken by golfers from the United States of America, with :

  • Roger Maltbie sitting at -3, while,
  • Hubert Green, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino and Tom Watson were all sitting in joint second on -2. Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson had scored rounds of 68 and 70 at this stage.

Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus were paired for the third round:

  • Both shot 65, ending the third round three shots clear of the field.

Watson and Nicklaus were again paired for the final round:

  • The two were tied after 16 holes.
  • Nicklaus missed a birdie putt on 17, while Watson birdied 17.
  • On the 18th, Nicklaus drove into the rough, while Watson drove into the fairway. Watson's approach shot landed two feet from the flag, while Nicklaus ended up 40 feet from the flag. Nicklaus sank his birdie putt to finish with a 66, but Watson then sank his own birdie, finishing with a second straight 65 and his second Open, with a record score of 268.

The two players finished 10 shots ahead of the field with Hubert Green in third place and Lee Trevino in fourth place on Par. Jack Nicklaus, did win his third Open Championship in 1978 at St. Andrews. Those were the days !  (The last hole at Turnberry was renamed "Duel in the Sun"!)

Turnberry was used as an air base during World War I and II and the hotel was used as a hospital for servicement during that time. A memorial to the airmen can be seen overlooking the 12th green of the Ailsa course.

staying nearby

If you are staying in the Turnberry resort itself you can enjoy a wonderful spa and swimming pool with views over the islands. 

turnberry golf hotel

And for  more active visitors, there are activities such as falconry, archery, cycling or 4x4 driving and activities available for children as well.

turnberry golf hotel spa and restaurant

things to see in the area

Culzean Castle and Burns Cottage are both popular places to visit in this area. You may also want to visit the Royal Troon golf club and courses which are also British Open Venues. There are shops, restaurants and cafes in Troon, Ayr, Girvan and Prestwick.