On an early Monday morning at Turnberry as the sun squinted past the grand hotel stretching out to Ailsa Craig it was a return visit with much excitement.I was keen to see what changes had been implemented following the purchase of Turnberry by the now serial Celtic golf resort investor Donald Trump.
His development to the Ailsa course around the iconic lighthouse proposed and outlined in Episode 32 by The Golf Channel’s Matt Ginella was always in the medium term so that aside I was keen to see what abstract changes had been made to the resort.
Firstly the interior facilities are spectacular, some of the best in the country which complements the great routing of the Kintyre and Ailsa courses which I partly walked. With Trump’s name on the resort it was extremely surprising to feel disappointed with various aspects of the visit which left me doubting why Trump’s place does not yet feel like a Trump Resort. Let me explain.
Trump thus far has not visibly invested anything into improvements at Turnberry with many of the common negative assertions still very much valid. The tired appearance of the golf course and it’s presentation is in part to do with a limited course maintenance budget aligned with a large number of visitor rounds in recent years. The untidy aspects of the course extends to it’s perimeters with remaining eyesores such as the wooden halfway hut and dilapidated airstrip with collections of debris visible to golfers on both courses particularly the Kintyre.
The caddie culture is one which is superbly disciplined under the stewardship of the caddie master and starter Peter. As an observer it was therefore of my surprise to hear the industrial language used by caddies and performance academy staff in close proximity of those visiting the resort.
The Trump pricing model has a crazy non resident rate £250 or £175 for hotel guests not to mention the ridiculous cost of refreshments within the resort. This Open Championship venue is morphing quickly into a stay and play resort which only a certain type of golfer can afford. A non resident is restricted to play after 3pm, one of a number of deterrents in place. A real pity and something slowly bedding into the Scottish tourism scheme.
In conclusion the resort has Trump pricing and exclusivity in part consistent with the Trump brand but without the service and appearance to match.
Trump Turnberry needs tidied up.