The history of Turnberry is intrinsically linked with both World Wars – the championship course was rebuilt twice, having served as an air field in both wars – and the wartime loss of lives here is marked with a hill-top memorial to the right of the 12th green. It is a fantastic spot, offering panoramic views of Turnberry’s golf course, Ailsa Craig and the Irish Sea, with the famous lighthouse just a couple of hundred yards away, behind the 10th tee.
These are views that were shared during practice by Mike Weir and Rodney Pampling. The Canadian golfer wanted to show his Australian colleague that the names of servicemen carved into the memorial are not just of British RAF men lost to war, but also of men who served at Turnberry with the Royal Australian Air Force, the Royal New Zealand Air Force and the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Even in the midst of preparation for a major championship, it is heartening to see world-class players remembering there is more to life than golf.
Parts of the cement runways that were laid for the Second World War remain by the way, and the surfaces are put to good use during the Open for parking. As for the five-star hotel at the top of the hill – the one on which the new paint is still wet – it was put to good use as a military hospital during the war.
Where next?
Padraig Harrington in major grouping
Turnberry Ailsa course guide by Open champion Padraig Harrington