Trump: 'Great surprises' planned for Turnberry redesign

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Donald Trump is optimistic that Turnberry will soon land another Open Championship after changes are made to a critical three-hole stretch at the famed Scottish links.

Appearing Monday on Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive,” Trump said that his team has “incredible” designs for Nos. 9-11 that he believes will position Turnberry to host another Open.

The next open date for the British Open is 2021, with St. Andrews (2015), Royal Troon (2016), Royal Birkdale (2017), Carnoustie (2018), Royal Portrush (2019) and St. Andrews (2020) on the docket.

“I think we’re going to have some great surprises,” Trump said. “Turnberry is a very special place.” 

Trump said that his design team, led by course architect Martin Ebert, has been working with the R&A over the past several months. Their primary focus is redesigning the ninth, 10th and 11th holes.

Currently, the ninth hole is a 454-yard par 4 that hugs the cliffs but features a humpback fairway that is very difficult to hit. It was reported last fall that Trump plans to turn this hole into a 245-yard par 3 over rocks and water, then transform Turnberry’s signature lighthouse into a world-class halfway house.

As for the 10th hole, the tee box will be pushed back with a 260-yard carry, while the par-3 11th will receive an aesthetic upgrade. 

The redesign will begin this fall, after Turnberry hosts the Women’s British Open for the first time since 2002.

“For many, many years they’ve wanted to redesign certain holes at Turnberry,” Trump said. “Many people think it’s the greatest course in the world. Peter Dawson and the whole group from the R&A have been working with us, and we have designs that are just incredible.

“Obviously we’re not going to touch too much. But there are certain holes that for 30, 40 years they’ve wanted redesigned.” 

Trump purchased Turnberry last April for a reported $35 million. The Ailsa course has hosted the Open three times since 1977, most recently in 2009, but it traditionally attracts the smallest crowds – and thus offers the R&A the least amount of income – because of its remote location.