Tuesday 21 July 2009

Turnberry - Ayrshire the Winner

In retrospect, the only thing it lacked was the Happy Ending.
Of course The "it" was The Open Championship at Turnberry in Ayrshire last week. If only the eight iron had landed more softly, if only Tom Watson had chipped or, to put his finish in perspective, if only Cink hadn't played the last two holes in three under par!
Anyway there are lots of what ifs at any Open Championship - Watson was indeed not the only golfer to lose out with five at the last; Chris Wood and Lee Westwood bogeying the final hole to miss out by one. And if Tiger had picked up a single stroke on Friday to finish four over instead of five would he really have been unable to finish on less than one under? (Well actually yes is probably the answer!)
But in the long term the winner must be Turnberry. A whole host of questions about whether the course was up to it; whether the hotel would be ready or the roads handle the traffic or potentially disastrous attendance figures were put about in the industry and the press.
In the end however Turnberry once again proved that golf is much more than one single element; it is eclectic and Turnberry drew together all of the elements to showcase a region and a country better than any tourist board or marketing campaign ever could.
The views of the coast line looking towards Ailsa Craig and The Isle of Arran were simply magnificent and as good as anything emanating from any other coastline in the world.
Even the mildly annoying Boss Yacht played its part in showing how much fun the sailing waters of the Ayrshire Coast were and we'd be delighted if they want to send us a photograph to use it widely!
It was a shame however that the notion that Turnberry was somehow difficult to reach kept on being uttered by commentators and journalists and even in the winner's speech. But then again is it a shame? Yes perhaps it is more difficult to reach than some courses or resorts but therein perhaps lies its unique selling point. Maybe we should be promoting Ayrshire as a hideaway? Truth is Turnberry was and is only thirty minutes from Prestwick Airport which with Ryanair means less than three hours from Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden; two hours from Stansted and the south of England and an hour and a half from the centre of Dublin.
Hardly John o Groats!
So with the recently announced closure of the Johnnie Walker bottling plant in Ayrshire with the loss of seven hundred jobs the TV coverage gave Ayrshire folk something to be very very proud of, it was indeed a good news few days for the area hopefully bringing with it an Open Bounce - an increase in visitors, spends and incomes.
More than anyone playing in The Open, Ayrshire needed this victory the most.

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