It is an Open tradition that the venues are difficult to reach – the R&A does insist on avoiding those convenient motorway-side courses – but it is no co-incidence that these remote stretches of coastline provide excellent natural terrain for links golf.
This remoteness does not always come hand in hand with beauty though. The scenery around Lytham and Carnoustie is underwhelming for a start, and while the links at Royal St George’s in Sandwich might be majestic, the defining feature of the landscape is the nearby power station chimneys.
Turnberry though, is a stunner, with the imposing Ailsa Craig sitting a deceptive 11 miles off shore in the Irish Sea. Whether you are turning up to Turnberry itself, or watching on TV, you won’t be able to miss it.
Ailsa is in fact larger than it looks. It is 1,114 feet high and has a circumference of 2 1⁄2 miles. The granite rock had its lighthouse built in 1886 – which runs on solar power – and the island is managed as an RSPB Nature Reserve as it is one of Europe’s most important bird sanctuaries. Principally a seabird colony, Ailsa is home to the third largest gannet colony in the UK, with some 40,000 gannets breeding there each year.
Where next?
Turnberry hole-by-hole guide
Latest championship news
Galleries from Turnberry as Woods arrives