Women & Golf joined in the Turnberry Masters Women's Pairs, here's Jane's review of this iconic golfing venue

Women & Golf were delighted to have been given the opportunity to experience the Turnberry Masters Women's Pairs event. I joined our competition winner Kathie, her guest Gill and the rest of the group to play all three courses and discover the nuances of links golf with PGA Professional Andrew Murray, and tips and advice on fitness essentials from Natalie Lowe, Pro-Fit Golf Conditioning.

Trump Turnberry comprises three links golf courses - including Ailsa the number one ranked golf course in the UK & Ireland - a golf academy, and a five-star James Miller-designed hotel from 1906, along with lodge and cottage accommodations.

It has been the venue for four Open Championships (1977, 1986, 1994, 2009), and its Champion Golfers are Tom Watson, Greg Norman, Nick Price, and Stewart Cink.

Turnberry was the setting for an all-time classic in its very first staging of the Championship. Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus’ Duel in the Sun served as a remarkable introduction to The Open’s newest venue in 1977. I don't remember that Open but I do remember thirty two years later. Watson was then at the heart of more incredible drama when The Open returned to Turnberry in 2009. At the age of 59, Watson appeared poised to claim a record-equalling sixth Claret Jug when he came up the last holding a one-shot lead, but he finished with a bogey and was beaten in a play-off by Stewart Cink. This game of golf can be very cruel!

The picturesque Ailsa course features a number of spectacular views, with the Isle of Arran, Ailsa Craig and the unmistakable Turnberry Lighthouse among the most notable scenery. But, we also found that the King Robert the Bruce has some equally amazing vistas.

There was also the opportunity to tackle the links, which gave me an authentic experience in driving rain, cold and 50 mph winds 😏!

Perfect Accommodation

The hotel offers a wealth of choices - guest rooms, suites, and self catering cottages. There are 204 guest rooms, including four suites and the iconic two-bedroom suite at Trump Turnberry Lighthouse which rises above the ruins of King Robert the Bruce's Castle. Guests enjoy full access to the spa facilities, 24 hour room-service, and complimentary wireless Internet access.

Set between the hotel on the hill and the Clubhouse and courses by the coastline are a series of self catering villas. A perfect setting and probably a 9-iron distance to get you to the golf courses and Academy.

We stayed in the lodges in double/ twin rooms with lounges and tea/ coffee making facilities. The bathrooms are huge with a bath and shower. The beds were extremely comfy and a 65-inch TV allowed you to kick back and relax after a day on the course.

There is ample storage space and big radiators to dry out any wet clothes. Plus enough sockets for trolley batteries and charging phones.

The walk up to the hotel is no more than seven minutes but if you are feeling tired after a day on the course a shuttle bus will come and drive you up the hill!

Nothing is too much trouble and the staff are extremely welcoming and helpful.

Fabulous food

I promise I will get to the golf, but I just have to talk about the food on offer at Turnberry.

They say "Subtlety is not our strength, indulgence is". And I can confirm that it true. From the sumptuous breakfast to fine dining, we were treated like Queens.

Breakfast in the 1906 Restaurant overlooking the courses, Ailsa Craig and the Turnberry Lightouse was a treat. A choice of cereals, fruit juice, cold platter and pastries, followed by a full English or hearty hot breakfast such as Eggs Benedict was fresh and delicious.

Lunch after golf consisted of homemade soup and a variety of mouthwatering sandwiches.

Both dinners were a treat.

Our first night was spent in the Duel in the Sun restaurant in the Clubhouse overlooking the Ailsa and King Robert the Bruce 18th's.

A captivating blend of golfing history and culinary excellence where the corridors are lined with a gallery of memories from famous Opens including the infamous Nicklaus v Watson 1977 game.

Plus, a replica of the famous Open Claret Jug welcomes you.

Our final night took us to the main hotel and the James Miller private room in the 1906 restaurant. Only the finest calibre of Scottish ingredients finds its place in 1906. Every cut of beef is meticulously aged on the bone for an impressive 25 days, seafood is sourced from local Ayrshire waters and vegetables are grown just miles away at Dowhill Farm. My dinner consisted of smoked haddock souffle, fillet of Seabream in a lobster mousse and Black Forest Mille-Feuille was to die for.

And so to the golf and coaching...

Expert Coaching with Andrew Murray

Andrew Murray is an English professional golfer. He was born in Manchester and turned professional in 1972. Andrew played on the European Tour from 1979 to 1995 and is currently playing on the Seniors Tour when he can fit it in between all his coaching, radio (BBC Radio 5Live) and charity commitments.

Each day there was a series of clinics with Andrew covering a variety of topics (driving, chipping, bunker play) plus each attendee was given some individual coaching from him for their own game improvement.

Andrew is an excellent instructor and has a very easy going and light-hearted nature which immediately put the group at ease, especially the novices in the group. He is extremely positive and encouraged us to try shots we hadn't been confident with previously. Getting out of wet pot-hole bunkers, springs to mind.

Then a quick practice on the range before we headed out to golf. I have to say Turnberry probably has the driving range with the BEST ever view - the iconic Turnberry Lighthouse!

The view from the driving range bays

Fitness Essentials with Natalie Lowe

Natalie is the founder and owner of Pro-Fit Golf Conditioning. She has played golf since she was a teenager and turned pro aged 22. Having played on the LET Access Series aiming to chase a spot on the Ladies European Tour, she realised, after a couple of unsuccessful seasons, she didn't hit the ball long enough or consistently enough to compete at the highest level. She subsequently founded Pro-Fit Golf Conditioning (in 2014) with the aim of helping all golfers improve their health, fitness and golfing capacity through the means of golf specific exercise"

Each day before Andrew's clinic, Natalie would give a series of warm up exercises that we could do either at home or the Club prior to golf. The great thing about them was the fact that you didn't need any equipment and they were in bite size chunks so you could spend as much or as little time as you needed.

Natalie showing the group warm up exercises

The Golf

Day 1 - Arran (Academy Course)

Arran Academy Course

After our welcome meeting, warm up exercises and practice, we headed out to the 9-hole Arran Academy course. The course is perfect for beginners looking to experience golf but a great warm up course for our group prior to our rounds on the two 18-hole courses.

The weather wasn't particularly kind to us but the quality of the course was impressive and it's very pretty, with fleeting glances of the top of the lighthouse over the flowering gorse bushes. As long as your ball doesn't end up there. The gorse, not the lighthouse, obviously!

Gill, Jackie, Alison, Kathie (our Women & Golf competition winner)

Day 2 - King Robert the Bruce

King Robert the Bruce - 11th. Image credit: Dave Cannon
King Robert the Bruce - 11th. Image credit: Dave Cannon

Opened in 2017, the magnificent King Robert the Bruce course was created by Martin Ebert, responsible for the reborn Ailsa, as a stunning sibling to the legendary Ailsa course. Named after the King of Scotland, Robert the Bruce, the historical warrior who led Scotland to claim its right as an independent country in the Battle of Bannockburn in June 1314. He was born in July 1274 in Turnberry Castle. The Turnberry Lighthouse now stands amongst the ruins of this medieval castle.

I thought the KRTB course would be a poor relation to Ailsa but how wrong I was. The golf course can thrill golfers of all abilities. And the walk up the path after the 7th green to reveal an elevated tee for the 8th is for me, my top "wow" moment in my golfing experiences to date. It was blowing a hooley so my photos are not great. There's distinctive bunkering, visually attractive wetland areas and swathes of gorse which all adds to the exciting challenges of this great links course.

Breathtaking vistas from the 8th 9th, 10th and 11th delight golfers, with spectacular views of Turnberry’s stunning coastline, castle ruins and the lighthouse. There's 5 Par 3s on this Par 72 course, there's also 5 Par 5s in the back 9 - honestly! Bring your A game.

5th fairway
8th fairway
8th green
Jane, Jackie, Sarah, Lorraine

Day 3 - Ailsa

Ailsa - 11th - green to tee. Image credit: Dave Cannon
Ailsa - 11th - green to tee. Image credit: Dave Cannon

If only the sky had been this blue on the third morning. With bad weather forecast, we were out earlier than our planned tee time and after a quick warm up made it to the 1st tee.

This was a bucket list moment for me and our competition winner Kathie. So with some trepidation and with wind and rain beckoning off we set.

Home of four Open Championships, the legendary Ailsa course has hosted some of the most iconic names in golf. Named after the third Marquess of Ailsa, who owned the land on which it was built, this par-71, 6,474-yard Championship course is one of golf's storied places.

Set alongside the glorious Ayrshire coastline, with Arran and Ailsa Craig as a stunning backdrop, it is one of the finest golfing destinations in the world. Reborn in June 2016 at the hands of renowned architect, Martin Ebert, every hole has received a substantial upgrade (including new greens), with the most exciting changes occurring out by the lighthouse.

Ailsa 9th aerial
Ailsa 9th tee

The first of these was the creation of a spectacular par 3, the 9th. This is now a daunting prospect from the back tee, played over the cliffs and crags to a new green right by of the lighthouse. The new 10th is a thrilling par 5 along the cliffs, and the 11th is another new hole, a picture-perfect par 3 that yet again flirts with danger all the way on the left.

1st tee - calm before the storm
11th fairway (Image: Dave Cannon)
10th tee
18th tee - Kathie in 50mph wind

The infamous Halfway House

Marble tiles greet you in the bathroom, a gentleman's club in the Halfway House. One of the swankiest Halfway Houses I've ever been in, and the Hot Chocolate was pretty good too (if not a tad expensive).

Upstairs, you'll find the Lighthouse Suite - offering breathtaking views across the Irish sea to the Isle of Arran and beyond. There is a large and lavishly furnished living room with an extensive private terrace for the enjoyment of al fresco meals or drinks or simply to contemplate one of the world's most iconic views. Above are two bedrooms, each with its own bathroom and terrace access.

What can I say about our day at Ailsa? We survived!

It was a fantastic course, in fantastic condition (Allan Patterson - Director of Golf Courses & Estates and his green staff need a commendation) but we did not play in the best of conditions.

The 40-50mph winds nearly blew us off our feet at times and the driving rain could only be described as "like being pebble dashed". A facial like no other.

The course has everything - magnificent fairways, amazing greens. Pot bunkers that you really don't want to meet. Gorse that you don't want to get into. But above all scenery to die for.

Well worth its place in the Top 10 of Top 100 Golf Courses.

Golfing heaven.


Lorraine, Andrew Murray, Jackie, Iain McNab (Head Golf Professional, Trump Turnberry)

Andrew threw a little competition into the mix with a Pairs Betterball Stableford over two days. The winners were Jackie and Lorraine from Ringway, Manchester. This is their first time at an event.

"We were so delighted to win our first ever prize in golf! When Andrew announced us as the winners it was a pinch me moment and we must say we were a little emotional. As novices, we were very nervous at the start of the week. However, the camaraderie and support from all the women in the cohort soon put us at ease. The weather was a real challenge but didn't distract from the sheer beauty of the area."

Jackie & Lorraine


Andrew Murray & the Turnberry Masters Women's Pairs 2024 cohort in the Clubhouse, 10th April 2024

This was a first time event for Trump Turnberry and one that is likely to become a regular date in their diary. A great opportunity for female guests to play one of their bucket-list golf courses, stay at a five-star resort and take part in a golf clinic and golf fitness programme.

Thanks to all the women who took part - Kathie and Gill definitely win the prize for travelling the furthest distance. We'll be sharing their thoughts soon.

In summary...

If you are looking for an iconic venue for fantastic golf, then you will not go far wrong at Trump Turnberry. Everything is five star - golf, accommodation, customer service, & fabulous facilities. This course has been on my bucket list since I started playing golf and I feel privileged to have played here. I only hope I get to play again when the sun is shining!

If you get the chance, go. You will not be disappointed.

To find out more about Trump Turnberry's upcoming events - please visit their website here.

P.S. Andrew thought he would share the views of Ailsa Craig and the Turnberry Lighthouse the day after we left.


We will be back!