Open Golf 09: Course changes to Turnberry

New challenges for the 21st century golf athletes

Golfmagic correspondent
Tue, 14 Jul 2009
Open Golf 09: Course changes to Turnberry

open golf 2009
Players will face their approach to the first hole from around here.

Turnberry’s Ailsa Course has undergone many design changes ahead of this week's Open Championship to ensure that, as one of Britain’s finest links, it continues to challenge the fitter, stronger and technically proficient modern golf professional.

The most extensive changes are on the 10th, 16th and 17th holes, though most holes have been enhanced with new bunkers and refurbished tees.

open golf 2009
New bunker at the third hole

“Today’s professionals are bigger, stronger, fitter and have more technology at their command, and it’s very important that we keep our great links courses relevant to the modern-day professional,” explains The R&A’s chief executive, Peter Dawson.

“We’ve been doing that at every Open venue, with Turnberry having had a considerable number of changes since the 1994 Open Championship.”

The 10th has been re-designed to bring the coastline into play and now requires at least a 200-yard carry over the rocks from a tee perched on an outcrop in front of the lighthouse beside the half-way house.

The fairway has been moved closer to the beach to tempt longer hitters to cut off more of the corner, and three new fairway bunkers force a decision to be made between a safer tee-shot with a longer approach or a riskier, braver and more aggressive drive.

Significant changes have also taken place at the 16th and 17th. The shape of the 16th has been radically altered and it now dog-legs right from a re-positioned tee around newly-created dunes and hollows. Forty-five yards have been added along with a new bunker on the left of the fairway. The bunker which used to guard the left side of the old fairway now protects the right edge of the new one.

The realignment of the 16th means it's no longer a drive and a pitch over the burn in front of the green. Players now face an awkward undulating dogleg. It has also allowed a new back tee to be constructed on the 17th, extending the hole by 61 yards and moving the fairway more to the left to encourage a more aggressive tee shot.

A newly-constructed approach bunker, along with another to the front and left of the putting surface, adds difficulty to the second shot. Don't expect too many eagles like Nick Price achieved on his way to the 1994 title.

Open golf 2009
The famous Turnberry lighthouse, looking back from the new tee at the 10th

Including those on the 10th and 16th, a total of 23 bunkers have been added on holes 1, 3, 5, 8, 14 and 18, with two removed at the 3rd and 14th, making players think more about their course management strategy. Though many Open Championship courses have upwards of 120 bunkers, Turnberry still only has 65, testament to the natural examination that the landscape provides.

New tees have also been introduced at holes 3, 5, 7, 8, 14, and 18, extending the course to 7,204 yards making it 247 yards longer than when The Open was last played at Turnberry in 1994.

A new, interactive course guide with details of hole changes, and strategy notes from the Turnberry head professional, Richard Hall, is now available to use on opengolf.com.

For further ticket information visit: www.randa.org .