THE man tasked with putting the Trump stamp on the Ailsa Course has admitted the project is the “jewel in the crown” of his company’s advisory role with six Open Championship venues.
Mackenzie & Ebert, which will soon celebrate ten years in the course designing business, have made changes to Royal Troon ahead of it staging next year’s Claret Jug joust.
It is also doing the work at Royal Portrush that the R&A has asked for in order for it to welcome the world’s oldest major back there in 2019 for the first time since 1951.
“There are some exciting changes there,” admitted Martin Ebert, who cut his teeth in the industry working for Donald Steel, “but I’d have to say that this project at Turnberry is the jewel in the crown.
“Some people may consider what we are doing here as a step too far but, hopefully, reasonable people will say it is a genuine improvement to what is already a great golf course.”
Ebert admitted he felt a sense of “responsibility” due to Turnberry being one of the most famous venues in the world, both from a visual and playing point of view. “We don’t want to spoil what has been created here – just add to it,” he added.
He described the decision to change the ninth hole to a par-3 as the “last piece in the puzzle” and is confident that the test for top players will not be diminished by increasing the number of short holes on the card to five. “Par-3s is one way to control shots into greens,” he said, referring to the fact so many par-4s in the modern game are being reduced to a drive and a flick with a wedge. Once the changes are made, the short holes at Turnberry will range from 155 yards (the new sixth) to 235 yards (the new ninth).