Steeped in golf history and set amid striking scenery, Turnberry Resort offers an invigorating mix of relaxation and excitement for lovers of the game
Even the most stony-hearted of golfers admit to a surge of adrenaline in the closing moments of the drive to Turnberry. Cross over the last brow of the approach to the coastal course and the famous clubhouse and hotel come into view as the iconic lighthouse shimmers in the distance.
It's impossible to think of the great matches that have taken place here down the years without hairs bristling on the back of your neck – not least the four Open championships Turnberry has hosted, including the 1977 Duel in the Sun between Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson.
The South Ayrshire course has staged golf's oldest major as recently as 2009, the year that also saw a major refurbishment of the site into a hotel of unquestionable luxury and style. Available for everything from personal golf breaks to business conferences and weddings, Turnberry is now a big hitter on the Scottish hospitality scene.
Right from the personalised welcome – we were whisked to a private check-in area – the emphasis is on heartfelt good service. Our spacious room, like all 150 at Turnberry, was stylishly appointed – four gracious suites are named in honour of the course's Open winners.
We loved the comfortable spa with pool, jacuzzi and a broad range of treatments. It was an oasis of calm, but we were really here for the golf. A round on the famous championship Ailsa course (named after Ailsa Craig, the imposing rock visible 11 miles out to sea) was among the highlights of our golfing lives so far. It's so devilishly challenging that you forget you're playing in the footsteps of Tiger Woods.
Among our other highlights were teeing off on the 10th, next to the lighthouse and with a view of Robert the Bruce's castle, and making our way up the famous 18th fairway. But there was still much more to do. A further 18 holes awaited at the resort's Kintyre course, encompassing the land used for the first ever Turnberry course.
Another bonus was enjoying state-of-the-art tuition from a PGA-qualified pro at the resort's Colin Montgomerie Links Golf Academy, a few yards from the clubhouse. Attentive, and full of anecdotes from walking the course with the game's greats, he offered plenty to chat about over dinner at the excellent 1906 restaurant in the evening. A perfect way to round off a memorable golfing day.
Getting there Turnberry Resort is an hour's drive from Glasgow International airport and a 30-minute journey from Prestwick airport. It is a two-hour drive from Edinburgh. Hire a car with Hertz at www.iod.com/carrental.
Accommodation A package of dinner, bed and breakfast costs from £320, based on two people sharing a Classic bedroom.
Golf prices A round of golf on the Ailsa course costs £99pp in April or £160pp from May to September. The fee for a two-hour game assessment with a pro golfer is £250.
Traveller: Ben Hammond. Interview by Chris Maxwell
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