IT is a breezy day at Turnberry, with a stiff wind from the Firth of Clyde sending golfers' shots awry and ruffling the rough on the world-famous Ailsa Championship course.

The sun dances in and out of banks of cloud which scud across the sky, at intervals plunging the scene into gloom and showers.

But across the road, it is snug inside one of the newly-refurbished Cottage Suites, nine two-bedroom lodges which mark the latest phase of the Trump family's redevelopment of the iconic property.

Eric Trump, whose task it is to oversee the revitalisation of what he calls a Scottish national treasure, has come to cut the ribbon to declare the cottages open for business and ready to accept guests.


The Trump Organization bought Turnberry for £35.7 million from Dubai-based Leisurecorp in 2014, and has embarked on a mammoth redevelopment which has touched every aspect of the iconic location, from laying out a second golf course to stripping back the clubhouse and famous hotel to their bare walls and rebuilding them again.

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And Trump junior - the US President's third son - insists that his family's commitment to the project will not be blown off course, and their brand will be associated with Turnberry for a long time to come.

He said: "We're not going anywhere. This is really a trophy. Our company have spent our entire lives buying trophies. It's kind of what we do. They have to be the best."

Comparing the South Ayrshire course other acquisitions by the Trump Organisation such as the Old Post Office building in Washington DC (now the The Trump International Hotel) and his family's hotel and tower in Chicago - "The eighth tallest building in the world" -

He added: "I could go on down the list, but they are exceptional assets and they are all iconic, and if they are not iconic we are not really interested.

"It's 'go big or go home'. It's what we love, it's what we enjoy, it's what excites us. Small projects don't really excite us.

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"You see so many people come into and buy property and they put three dollars into it, they paint two walls and clean it two days later they are looking to flip it for a profit.

"It's not who we are. We want to be somewhere for generations and have employees be with us [for the same time]."


Donald Trump bought Turnberry in 2014

Since taking over five years ago, the 35-year-old Mr Trump says that "140-150 million bucks" (around £110) have been spent on refurbishments, and this year the hotel is in profit for the first time in its more than 100-year history.

Turnberry was also crowned Hotel Of The Year 2018 at the Scottish Hotel Awards, and both the redeveloped Ailsa and the new King Robert The Bruce course, have won dozens of international prizes and accolades.

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It took seven months to rebuild the hotel, much of the work taking place during winter, and the young Mr Trump immersed himself in the details.

Now the resort employs around 400 people and sits gleaming with newness in the coastal sunshine as guests and golfers come and go across its manicured greens and fairways.

Despite declaring himself "incredibly happy" with the result, Trump junior has set tough benchmarks to ensure standards remain high during his family's custodianship of the century-old resort, and insists they will not slip.


Able to wax lyrical, and at length, about each hole on the Ailsa course, it's clear the project is close to Trump junior's heart.

He said: "Not many people in the world know more about this project than I did", adding: "We took a property that was struggling  - and I use that word nicely - and turned it around into something that is thriving.

"And I think if you talked to the locals here, universally they would say we have done an unbelievable job here."

"This a national treasure for Scotland. We didn't buy it to flip. We didn't buy it because we wanted the name - we bought it to be the best and honestly the people on this side of the country recognise that.

"They saw us come in there and saw we did more than we said we were going to do. We saved a lot of jobs and we had huge capital investment and I think people are really appreciative of that."


A view from the clubhouse

But one thing remains out of the Trump family's grasp. It has been a decade since the Open Championship was held at Turnberry, and so far the R & A has sidestepped the issue of when it may return.

Mr Trump remains confident that it will, however, saying: "We rebuilt it with that purpose and I think we'll get the rota back. There's no question about it."