Turnberry the jewel in Donald Trump golfing crown

Trump wishes to further expand the resort at Menie Estate in Aberdeenshire. Picture: Dan Phillips

Trump wishes to further expand the resort at Menie Estate in Aberdeenshire. Picture: Dan Phillips

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TURNBERRY is getting the full “Trump treatment” as its billionaire owner bids to turn the Ayrshire resort into the jewel in his golfing crown.

Details of what Donald Trump has in mind for the Open Championship venue have now been revealed as the tycoon touched down in Scotland and last night was the after dinner speaker at the Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce annual event.

A raft of “exciting” changes are to be made, both to the Ailsa Course and the hotel. Trump is even going to turn the iconic lighthouse into a Halfway House that will also incorporate a luxurious two-bedroomed suite for guests.

It also emerged yesterday that Trump has also put forward plans to build hundreds of houses and nearly 2,000 holiday homes at his Menie Estate in Aberdeenshire.

“When completed, Trump Turnberry will be the finest resort of its kind anywhere in the world,” said its owner of a

“multi-million pound” investment in the property he bought for a reported £35 million just under a year ago.

The 18-month refurbishment programme is under way and will be carried out in phases before a re-launch of the resort takes place next June. The Ailsa Course will not be touched until later this year, after it has hosted the Ricoh Women’s British Open at the end of July.

A £5m refurbishment of the clubhouse at Turnberry is currently being undertaken and includes a new “Duel in the Sun” restaurant, Trump’s tribute to the infamous battle between Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus over the Ailsa Course in the 1977 Open Championship.

Set to open next month, it also features a new pro shop.

As well as the hotel, it will look towards a new 18-hole pitch and putt course currently being created by Martin Ebert, the renowned golf architect who has also been commissioned to carry out the changes on the Ailsa Course. They will be centred on the picturesque stretch of holes close to the lighthouse, with Trump having revealed that he was planning “tweaks” to the tenth and 11th holes. However, the full details of his plansfor a course that has hosted four Claret Jug jousts have still to be revealed.

“In close consultation, we will be refining the great Ailsa Championship course including lengthening, re-grassing and making certain changes, many of which have been sought by the R&A for over 25 years,” said Trump last night. “This work will be carefully and studiously crafted and when completed, will bring this already amazing masterpiece to a level that even it has never attained.”

Work on the hotel is being undertaken in two phases. After an upgrading of all the bedrooms, it will re-open its doors in May. A partial closure will then be implemented from 27 September until May next year to allow a host of other improvements to be carried out.

Trump’s plans for the Menie Estate have led to an application for planning permission in principle to build 850 residential properties and 1,900 leisure accommodation units on the site.

The application will be considered by the local council along with recently lodged plans to build a second 18-hole golf course. Trump originally feared an 11-turbine development off the coast of his golf course would spoil the panoramic views but he is now pressing on with his vision for the resort.

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