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.

Jul 03, 2013

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Jason Scott Deegan

Senior Staff Writer

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 700 courses and golf destinations 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 Twitter at @WorldGolfer.