Updated: December 2017
Golfing at Turnberry Resort in Scotland:We recently went to Scotland to play golf on some of the most world famous courses. Our first stop was to play the Ailsa Course at Turnberry. The Turnberry Resort in Scotland is perhaps the finest hotel in all the country and the views are spectacular. We were lucky enough to get clear skies and hardly any wind while playing the golf course. Turnberry golf course is a traditional link style course - mostly found in Scotland. The first few holes are unassuming as you slowly make your way to the ocean holes. The 3rd thru the 11th holes are what we came to this course for and we were rewarded with photo ops and amazing golf at every turn. The famous lighthouse hole is probably the best point of view you can get, but don't get too distracted by the views as the course will get you. I was cruising along on the front until several fairway bunkers brought my game to a halt. There are 3 courses on site - the Ailsa, Kintyre, and Arran. The Ailsa Championship golf course is where the 2009 British Open was played where Stewart Cink won over a memorable effort by Tom Watson. You can find all the golfing information at Turnberry.co.uk.
The Ailsa Course can play as long as 7200 yards, although we opted for the forward tees and only had to manage 6200 yards. The course was in good shape, some fairways were a little torn up and a few spots had you hitting off more dirt than grass. The bunkers were in great shape and the greens were true and faster than your normal muni course. I thought the overall play was fair and we kept up a good pace (finished in less than 4 hours for a threesome). The starter was great - they offer a little pouch full of goodies - tees, yardage book, bag tag, etc. A nice way to be welcomed to Scotland and the Turnberry Resort. The resort is located just across the street from the clubhouse and up on a hill. The views from the Turnberry Resort are gorgeous and the hotel staff was very accommodating to all 6 of us. We had a morning tee time and the starter mentioned this was better so that the winds would be at a minimum. Afternoon tee times tend to get pretty windy along the coast. Don't forget to take pictures as you move along on the course and enjoy the scenery. I did not get a chance to play the Kintyre and Arran courses, but they are well regarded amongst golfers in this region. Rooms at the resort go for about 220 GBP ($350 US a night). That is definitely pricey but you do get access to the Ailsa course by staying at the resort. You can see the resort online at http://www.turnberryresort.co.uk. You can book your room first and then get tee times after you are confirmed as a guest. If you can afford the oceanview rooms, go for it.
Turnberry Tee Times and Green Fees:The Ailsa green fees were reasonable for us in April 2010, we got to play for 65 GBP (roughly $100). We did have to fork out the big bucks to stay at the Turnberry Resort, but it was worth it. The green fees at Turnberry golf resort in Scotland vary by season. The winter rates go from November to March and range from 50 to 90 GBP - the Ailsa course is the most expensive. Keep in mind that the Arran course is a 9 hole par 3 course so don't expect a huge challenge on that one. April is a shoulder season and rates go up slightly, but it costs more to play from May through August on most courses in Scotland as that is the main tourist golfing season. You can email the golf course online at the Turnberry website listed above. Unfortunately there is no direct booking online - you have to email the course and ask them what is available. Hopefully that will change in the near future so that you can see what is available online before emailing them. Golf club rentals were expensive at $80 per round (the most we paid in Scotland on the entire trip). A caddie runs another $65 or so, although we didn't go that route. The course and staff are first rate, there is a good practice facility where you can warm up which I thought was terrific. The welcome pouch on the 1st tee definitely set the tone for the round and we all enjoyed ourselves.
Turnberry Golf - Location and Directions:If you are traveling to the course with your rental car, expect about a 2 hour drive from Edinburgh Airport. We had 2 rental cars and the driving was fairly easy as we made our way west from the airport. You can get detailed directions online at http://www.turnberryresort.co.uk/travel-to-turnberry. There are signs posted as you get closer to the Turnberry Resort off of A77. The entrance is a bit tricky once you get on the A719. Don't turn onto the Turnberry Lodge Road - it is one of the first rights you come to, instead continue on down the A719 and take one of the next exits. You will see the actual resort up to your right on the hillside. Go up the road that winds around the front and follow it all the way around the back of the facility. That is where they have staff waiting to check you in and park your car. Check-in was simple and there is a big car park if you need to use it. You could walk from the resort down to the golf course, but they offer a free shuttle bus that takes you back and forth. Very convenient for any golfer.