Donald Trump unveils vision for Turnberry

2014 07 Donald Trump

Donald Trump has today unveiled his vision for the future of the Turnberry Resort.

Re-named Trump Turnberry, the South Ayrshire resort was purchased in April by the billionaire American tycoon and property developer in a deal reported to be worth as much as £35m.

Speaking in the famous hotel today, Trump outlined major planned changes to the illustrious Open Championship venue, which include:

     • Significant alterations to the tenth and 11th holes on the Ailsa Course;

     • Potential further course changes – including the possibility of re-working the ninth into a par-3;

     • The iconic Turnberry lighthouse becoming the halfway house on the Ailsa Course;

     • A complete redo of the Kintyre Course;

     • An investment of over £100m in refurbishing the hotel, which includes all suites being re-done in their entirety.

Addressing the media, Trump spoke of his pride at having the opportunity to take control of the resort and add it to his ever-expanding portfolio of high-profile golf facilities around the globe.

“To think that I have the opportunity to own Turnberry and bring both the hotel and the golf to the next level is a real honour,” declared Trump.

“Turnberry is a place that I have visited many times and it is a very special place. We are going to make this great resort even better and more successful than it has ever been and make it one of the finest of its kind in the world.”

The destination’s acclaimed Ailsa Course has played host to the Open Championship on four occasions, most recently in 2009, and Trump admitted that the opportunity to own a property on the Open Rota had played a part in his decision to purchase the resort.

“It was one of many factors that I considered,” he said.

Trump also added that the R&A’s chief executive Peter Dawson had recommended he work with renowned golf course architect Martin Ebert on proposed changes to the course. Ebert previously tweaked the Ailsa Course ahead of the 2009 Open and also worked on preparing Royal St George’s and Royal Lytham & St Anne’s for the 2011 and 2012 Open Championships respectively.
The iconic Turnberry lighthouse will become a new halfway house, with the existing building being demolished.

Subject to planning consent and the approval of the R&A, the tenth and 11th holes on the Ailsa Course will be the first to change.

The championship tee on the tenth will be moved further back and to the left from its current position – almost to the lighthouse - creating a much more dramatic and daunting tee shot, which will have a carry of over 260 yards to the fairway.

“It’s on the limit ,” admitted Ebert, “but we how know how far the guys these days hit the ball and that shot generally plays with the wind behind.”

The tenth green, meanwhile (pictured below), will be moved further back and to the left, where it will eat into the existing back tee of the par-3 11th hole. The infamous island bunker on the tenth, currently around 120 yards short of the green, will also be retained and re-located.

The 11th, meanwhile, will become a classic, ‘across the bay’ par-3. The tee will be moved further forward – to make way for the new tenth green – with the 11th green being pushed further back and left to sit amongst the rocks on the shoreline. “It is so simple and natural to sit a green in there,” added Ebert.

The iconic Turnberry lighthouse will become a new halfway house, with the existing building being demolished.

Turnberry Ailsa Course

More changes are in the offing – including the possibility of the par-4 ninth becoming a new par-3 and sitting, again, amongst the rocks below the lighthouse – but all are subject to approval.

“We can’t share all of the ideas at the moment,” added Ebert. “It is all very much a work in progress.

“We will respect the wishes of the R&A and develop proposals sensitive to the needs of the Open Championship.

“We are keen to protect the history and heritage of the course but there are definitely opportunities. I’m very grateful to Mr. Trump for entrusting me with working on the golf course. It’s a great honour and responsibility.”

The Kintyre Course is also set for considerable changes, with Trump pledging to create a “brand new, major course” in place of the existing layout.

“We have some very high-profile architects talking to us about it and we’ll be making a decision on it in the not-too-distant future. It’s a great piece of land and we plan to create something very, very special.”

Away from the golf courses, work will begin in the next few weeks on transforming the look of the hotel. Over £100m will be spent by the Trump Organisation on renovating the facility, which will see all suites being re-done in their entirety.
“I’m not doing this for my ego." - Donald Trump

“There’s a tremendous investment going in,” said Trump, who added that the once financially precarious hotel is now debt-free since his takeover. “This is just about the only place I can think of – outside of, perhaps, Augusta National – where a building enhances the course.

“You walk down the 18th fairway and you have this incredible, iconic structure on top of the hill and it’s just very, very special.

“Taking properties like this and making them better is what I do and I do it better than anyone. I’m looking forward to the project and really think we can do something no-one else has ever done before.”

The work on the hotel is expected to take around 16 months to complete.

On the subject of re-naming the resort, Trump added that he consulted with ‘the highest of the highest ups’ in golf before making the decision to call it Trump Turnberry.

“I’m not doing this for my ego,” he insisted. “I’m doing it because our brand is enormously successful and thank can surely only be a benefit. Remember, it used to be called the Westin Turnberry Resort. Personally, I think Trump Turnberry sounds so much better.”

Speaking exclusively to, Trump’s son Eric added that there are no plans to change the names of any of the golf courses at this point and that the possibility of adding in a third 18-hole golf course – as has been spoken about for a number of years – is some way off.

Meanwhile, Ralph Porciani has been appointed the new General Manager of Trump Turnberry, replacing Jordi Tarrida, who has returned to Mallorca.

Donald Trump and his Turnberry plans

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