#SaintsinScotland - Day 3

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By: Katie Nelson, Siena Women's Golf 

On our third day in Scotland, our main event was the second round of golf at the Turnberry Resort: the Ailsa Course. This course was home to the 1977, 1986, 1994, and 2009 British Opens and served as an exciting challenge to all of us playing the championship course.  As if the narrow fairways and undulating greens weren't enough, the course was filled with easily the deepest bunkers I have ever seen and fields of penalizing fescue and gorse. To quote Sandy the caddy, each hole had a "jungle on the left and a jungle on the right". This particular caddy in my group served his 37th year at the Turnberry course and had unbelievable amounts of local knowledge and course history. He even had experience caddying for some of the tour players on their visits to the course. Throughout today's round, he provided myself and my group with stories of his experiences, pointing out pin locations from the British Opens. He was also able to show us the spots of memorable Open moments, such as the lie Tom Watson had when chipped in on hole number 15 that became the pivotal moment for him to win that tournament. 

This course was right on the water, providing unbelievable scenery and breathtaking views of the rocky shores, the Turnberry lighthouse, and Scottish fields and countryside. Also despite the very lucky and beautiful weather we have been having, we were also able to experience a more typical Scottish golf experience by playing a few holes in the wind and cold mist. What would a trip to Scotland be if we didn't even wear our rain gear? 

Our after golf experience included another evening of dining and pub-hopping in a local city called Ayr. Ayr was filled with quaint shops and beautiful historic bridges and churches. We are constantly amazed by the friendliness and kindness of the locals we encounter. We love hearing their advice and stories, even when we have trouble deciphering their thick accents. We even drove by the birth-place and town of the historic poet Robert Burns. 

As today marked our last day at Turnberry, we continue to the town of Edinburgh tomorrow (which I have recently learned is pronounced as if it has an 'a' at the end). We are excited for our next adventures!

By: Riley McGraw and Jess Esposito, Siena Men's Golf 

The Ailsa Course at Turnberry Resort showed why it is a perennial British Open venue.  The views the Ailsa course provided were astonishing, the design of the golf course paired with the proximity to the Irish Sea were a match made in heaven.  Half of the course is set up right against the cliffs and beaches, each challenging shot is paired with a breathtaking view.

The Ailsa course proved to be the toughest challenge of golf that most of the players have seen in their lifetime.  From the Championship tees the par 70 course played 7,180 yards with undulating greens, TIGHT fairways, and fescue lining each hole.  All shots required commitment and precision in order to be rewarded with a scarce birdie opportunity.  Golf on this side of the Atlantic has a different feel and strategy to it.  Golf shots require: solid contact, wind conscious flights, and room for the ball to run.  Due to climate and course conditions the course plays fast and firm, which allows for creativity as well as course knowledge.  Aiming points differ in comparison to American styled golf courses which are tree lined or feature extensive water hazards as reference points. 

Ailsa provides a scenic view of the Irish Sea, yet rarely does the shore come into play.  The Championship tees accentuate the closeness to the Irish Sea and force tee shots to be aimed towards the fescue or well placed bunkers.  Photo opportunities were plentiful but birdie chances were seldom, Ailsa only allowed a handful of birdies to the two dozen Siena trip members which played.
The 9th and 10th holes at the Ailsa course provided dramatic views of the Turnberry lighthouse.  The lighthouse stands 24 meters high and was designed and built by brothers David and Thomas Stevenson in 1873.  The lighthouse was built on the ruins of the Turnberry Castle, once home of the Countess of Carrick, mother of King Robert the Bruce.

In the evening, Men's golf team members walked across the property to witness the beautiful Scottish sunset over the Irish Sea accompanying the lighthouse.  A couple of the family members and players went back into the town of Ayre for round 2, while other team members stayed and enjoyed the amenities of the Spa at Turnberry (sauna, massages, steam room, etc.). Turnberry resort has exceeded its reviews and reputation as a world class resort with top of the line staff and facilities.  We have been treated like prince and princesses here in the land of royalty. 

Today was the start of the Siena Cup which follows a Ryder Cup format the following results include pairings and point totals:

John Van Vranken III(Gold)   v. Mike Sutton(Green)         AS (1/2)
John Van Vranken IV               Ryan Simpson

Katie Nelson(Gold)  v. Jim Sullivan(Green)              JS BQ (1)
Bill Nelson                  Brendan Quintana

Kylie Strijek(Gold)    v.   Victoria Nguyen(Green)    KS MF (1)
Mary Fletcher                Ashley Nguyen 

Riley McGraw(Gold)  v.  Mickey Sutton(Green)    RM JE (1)
Jess Esposito               Jay Sutton

Lou Walsh(Gold)  v. Vincent Nguyen(Green)    LW (1)

Team Gold 3 1/2 --------- Team Green 1 1/2 

Tomorrow morning we leave for a day in Edinburgh and a night in St. Andrews.  Courses still on the slate to play include: Kingsbarns (home of a European Tour Event), Carnoustie (host of several British Opens), and the Torrance Club (designed by Ryder Cup Captain Sam Torrance).  Can't wait!

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