Turnberry's Championship Ailsa course to undergo major changes

1977 Open winner Tom Watson chips out of the bunker during the 2009 championship
1977 Open winner Tom Watson chips out of the bunker during the 2009 championship

Turnberry's Ailsa golf course is set for major changes as American businessman Donald Trump attempts to bring back the Open Championship.

The course could see five new holes and "a range of alterations".

Trump says they will be "extensive but sympathetic" and will be carried out in close consultation with the The Royal and Ancient Golf Club.

"I think it really will bring back the illustrious history," his son Eric Trump told BBC Scotland.

Eric Trump, the executive vice president of the Trump organisation, is hopeful the changes will lead to the return of the Open Championship "by the end of the decade".

He said the proposed developments will improve and enhance the courses heritage and are designed to keep pace with modern golf.

Turnberry has hosted the Open four times - the most recent in 2009 when Stewart Cink beat Tom Watson in a play-off.

"The game of golf obviously changes more so over time," said Trump. "The players are stronger, they're younger, and they hit the ball further. And accordingly golf has to do the same.

"You make them longer, you make them better and you modernise them.

"We announced the changes last week to 300 members of the golf club and we got a standing ovation, it was unbelievable. People are really excited.

"There's so much history here and you have to embrace that because that's what Turnberry is. But you also need to modernise, you need to make it relevant to the best players in the world."

The changes would see new tees added at several holes, as well as the iconic lighthouse renovated and used as a halfway house.

The par will be 70, with five par-threes and three par-fives.

Trump refuted claims the changes would meddle with history, and also says the changes will bring visitors "from all over the world".

He said: "You're putting pride, you're putting love, you're putting energy back into the course.

"We're going to put a tremendous amount of money into it. That's important. It's a great thing for Scotland and for the local community."

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