Turnberry is one of Scotland’s best known links golf courses, a premier location that has provided the stage for some of Scottish golf’s finest moments. In operation since 1901, it now offers three courses which are accessible to players of all standards.
The history of the Open Championship and Turnberry are inextricably linked, with some of the greatest battles the competition has ever seen taking place on these very grounds. The first time the Open arrived in Turnberry was in 1977, where “the duel in the sun” would play out. Two of golf’s greatest ever stars, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson, waged war on the course. With the weather as fine as it ever has been up there, Watson came to the final hole a shot to the good. He hit two perfect shots on the final hole, ending up two feet from the hole. Despite hitting two sub-par shots, Nicklaus somehow managed to hole his chip from the fringe, putting the world of pressure back on Watson. He duly tipped in his putt though, narrowly edging one of the best duels in major history.
Watson was again a headline grabber during Turnberry’s most recent Open in 2009, when Watson returned to contention, in his sixtieth year. Having lead for long spells, Watson birdied seventeen but bogeyed eighteen. He wound up in a playoff with fellow American, Stewart Cink, who birdied the final hole. Watson didn’t have the stamina though, scoring four over par in the four-hole playoff. Cink shot two under, claimed his first major, and deprived the world of one of its greatest ever underdog victories.
Turnberry’s prestige has never been in question. These memorable battles merely add to its attraction. Donald Trump has recently purchased the property, and his influence may bring the course to new heights. Turnberry is certainly one that every player should make their way around.