Donald comes up Trumps with Turnberry re-design

Donald Trump's vision for the Ailsa Course in partnership with course designer Martin Ebert has produced a stunning Ailsa Course re-design. Picture: John Devlin
Donald Trump's vision for the Ailsa Course in partnership with course designer Martin Ebert has produced a stunning Ailsa Course re-design. Picture: John Devlin
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It was probably just as well that his political commitments in America meant Donald Trump missed out on this particular media event. It was a day, after all, when it was appropriate that the “new” Ailsa Course did its own talking and, boy, did it make a favourable first impression.

In tandem with Martin Ebert, the excellent course architect also working on Royal Portrush at present as it prepares to stage the Open Championship in 2019, Trump has carried out a programme of stunning changes to the Ayrshire layout.

In the main, they have involved holes being moved closer to the Firth of Clyde, making better use of some spectacular landscape and seascape that went unnoticed in the past due to the location of certain tees and greens.

Since the course closed on 27 September last year, 36 acres of turf and rough vegitation has been lifted and relaid, with all 18 holes having some surgery carried out.

Lengthened and turned into a dogleg, the first is now, as Ebert pointed out, a “proper” opening hole for a championship course while the test now also finishes with a much better hole, though in its case due to it be straightened so it now looks directly up the barrel towards the hotel up on the top of the hill.

It’s around the turn, though, where Trump and Ebert have come up with the joint-vision to create a stretch of holes that match any in terms of being both spectacular and challenging.

Make no mistake, the ninth, 10th and 11th will be talked about in golf in the same breath as Augusta’s Amen Corner and the equally spectacular stretch at Pebble Beach.

What the two masterminds behind the new creation have also done very well is bringing the iconic lighthouse into view more on the back nine. It and Arran, for instance, provide an breathtaking backdrop to a new green at the 14th.

With some of his controversial comments on the campaign trail in the bid to win the Republican nomination for the race to be US President, Trump has left the R&A in awkward position as far as Turnberry is concerned as a future Open Championship venue.

It would be even more of a crying shame now, though, if the world’s top players didn’t get the chance to compete for the Claret Jug again on a course that was already regarded as being the most scenic on the rota but has just been taken up several notches in that respect and also, importantly, in terms of its overall test.