Five things you should know before playing ... The Ailsa Course at Turnberry

Five things you should know before playing … The Ailsa Course at Turnberry

The par-4 ninth at the Ailsa course at Turnberry.
Evan Schiller

1. Make your own ‘Duel in the Sun’
If you want to play the 18th hole like Nicklaus and Watson did in 1977, make sure you use the tee that makes the hole play as a severe dogleg left, not the one that makes it play straight. They aren’t close to each other, and the Open tee makes it a more formidable finishing hole.

2. Take part in history
That giant rock out there in the water is called Ailsa Craig. It’s pure granite, and for a very long time was the source for most of the curling stones made in the world. And the ruins on No. 9? They’re the remains of the castle lorded by Robert the Bruce, king of Scotland from 1306 to 1329 (check the movie Braveheart).

3. Play it back
Even if the caddie tells you can’t play from the back tee at the 9th hole, at least go back and look from there anyway. It’s the coolest tee and tee shot in the world. When you play this hole, remember the fairway is humpbacked, and missing right isn’t the worst thing in the world.

4. Pay your respects
Both courses at Turnberry were used as airfields during WWII. That monument up on the hill you see from all over the place is dedicated to the Allied airmen who trained there and died in the war. Walk up and read it. It’s haunting. Parts of the old runways are still visible. Ask your caddie.

5. Score with loft
Turnberry is one links course where you don’t need to worry too much about playing bump and runs. For the most part, you can fly the ball onto the green and it will stay there. Hit each one of your wedges before teeing off to get an exact measurement for how each one flies.

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