Leisurecorp yesterday added to their leisure and hospitality portfolio by purchasing Turnberry for the sum of £55m from Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. The two companies will however work in tandem, with Starwood continuing to run the resort, having signed a 30 year plus management contract. The deal is expected to be completed by the end of October this year. As part of the terms of the agreement, Leisurecorp will fund a large-scale redevelopment of the site, including the hotel, which will be renovated and reopened before the start of the Open Championship in 2009.

Leisurecorp can now boast a number of leisure and sports assets, including Jumeirah Golf Estates, home of the Dubai World Championship, and Pearl Valley Golf Estates, the venue for the South African Open.

Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Chairman of Leisurecorp’s parent company, Dubai World, said:

“We are delighted to be able to extend our strong relationship with Starwood through the addition of this strategically important asset to our portfolio. Turnberry is a world-class destination and we look forward to playing our role in its future success.”

The Open returns to the Ailsa course next year after an absence of 15 years. On that occasion, Nick Price triumphed, after an eagle on 17 helped him overcome the challenge of Jesper Parnevik. The course is perhaps most associated with the 1977 championship, the renowned “Duel in the Sun”, when Tom Watson beat compatriot Jack Nicklaus by one shot.