Turnberry Resort - Ailsa golf course - hole 10
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Turnberry Resort - Ailsa golf course - hole 10
The championship tee on the 10th hole of the Ailsa Course at Turnberry Resort sits in the shadow of the iconic lighthouse. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Turnberry Resort - Ailsa golf course - hole 12
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Turnberry Resort - Ailsa golf course - hole 12
A monument above the 12th green on the Ailsa golf course honors the airmen stationed at Turnberry who died during the World Wars. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Turnberry Resort - Ailsa golf course - hole 15
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Turnberry Resort - Ailsa golf course - hole 15
The Turnberry Resort hotel frames the backdrop to the 15th green on the Ailsa golf course. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Turnberry Resort - Ailsa golf course - hole 16
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Turnberry Resort - Ailsa golf course - hole 16
Wilson's Burn guards the 16th green on the Ailsa golf course at Turnberry Resort in South Ayrshire, Scotland. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Turnberry Resort - Ailsa golf course - hole 7
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Turnberry Resort - Ailsa golf course - hole 7
The par-4 seventh hole on the Ailsa golf course at Turnberry Resort heads toward the lighthouse. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Turnberry Resort - Ailsa golf course - lighthouse
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Turnberry Resort - Ailsa golf course - lighthouse
The two iconic landmarks of the Ailsa golf course at Turnberry Resort -- the lighthouse and Ailsa Craig -- are visible throughout most of the round. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Turnberry Resort - Ailsa golf course - hole 10 tee
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Turnberry Resort - Ailsa golf course - hole 10 tee
The 10th hole on the Ailsa golf course at Turnberry Resort plays along the shore. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Turnberry Resort - Ailsa golf course - hole 8
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Turnberry Resort - Ailsa golf course - hole 8
The Firth of Clyde is visible looking back from the eighth green of the Ailsa golf course at Turnberry Resort in South Ayrshire, Scotland. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Turnberry Resort - Ailsa golf course - hole 5
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Turnberry Resort - Ailsa golf course - hole 5
Dunes surround the fifth green of the Ailsa golf course at Turnberry Resort in South Ayrshire, Scotland. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Turnberry Resort - Ailsa golf course - hole 3
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Turnberry Resort - Ailsa golf course - hole 3
Golfers putt on the third green on the Ailsa Course at Turnberry Resort as Ailsa Craig looms off the coast. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Turnberry Resort - Ailsa golf course - holes 10 and 12
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Turnberry Resort - Ailsa golf course - holes 10 and 12
Turnberry Resort's revered Ailsa Course is a popular stop for golfers on a Scotland golf vacation. Courtesy photo
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Bask in beauty on the Ailsa golf course at Turnberry Resort in South Ayrshire, Scotland

TURNBERRY, South Ayrshire, Scotland -- Golfers encounter one iconic landmark after another playing the Ailsa golf course at Turnberry Resort.

The first real glimpse of Ailsa Craig, the giant rock island 10 miles offshore in the Firth of Clyde, comes near the first green. The Turnberry Lighthouse, built in 1873 along the rocky coast, remains visible throughout the day. Epic holes Nos. 9 through 11 get up close and personal. A war memorial in the shape of a cross stands tall above the 12th green, honoring those who died during the resort's stints as a military airbase during the two World Wars.

The par-70 course has hosted four Open Championships. The "Duel in the Sun" saw Tom Watson prevail over Jack Nicklaus in 1977. Greg Norman's 1986 title and Nick Price's 1994 victory were good but not as dramatic as Stewart Cink's playoff victory over an ageless Watson in 2009.

If you polled the lucky few who have played all nine Open venues, it's likely that Ailsa would end up as the links favored by the group. Few courses can match wits with Ailsa's magical combination of scenery and tournament lore.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed and photographed more than 1,000 courses and written about golf destinations in 20 countries for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfpass and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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Bask in beauty on the Ailsa golf course at Turnberry Resort in South Ayrshire, Scotland