A jewel in the, er, sun
There's an old saying in these parts: "If ye can see Ailsa Craig, it's gaun tae rain. If ye canny see it, it's already raining."
The first part is definitely true. It was lovely when we went out and the granite isle was shining in the Firth of Clyde.
The second, I couldn't tell you. Head bowed, eyes screwed up against the deluge, I was too busy scuttling back off the course to check as it fair belted it down.
"Turnberry is a magnificent setting," Peter Allis told me last week. "When the weather's nice it's one of the great venues of the world."
His commentary cohort Ken Brown added: "Without any question it's the most picturesque and elegant-looking of the Open courses. It really is a stunning-looking golf course with some high quality holes. The cream of the holes are the pars threes - they are as good a four par threes as you will find anywhere."
Having now set foot on the Ailsa course - first sighted as a youngster on Mr Alliss's Pro-Celebrity Golf TV shows, featuring Kojak himself, - I can concur that it is, indeed, spectacular. When the weather's nice.
With a backdrop of hills and views out across the water to Ailsa Craig, Arran and the Kintyre peninsula beyond, Turnberry sits like a jewel on an already lavish cloth.
Each hole is almost self-contained in its own little valley, with humps and mounds providing a natural arena for the gallery. The fairways are a rich green, velvet-smooth, and fast running - Ian Poulter belted an iron about 295 yards off the 2nd.
Beyond that, though, the rough screams danger. Thick and lush on the ground, long and wispy higher up, great swathes of swaying brown marram fronds issue a siren call to wayward golf balls.
A fairly stiff southerly breeze was blowing as I headed out for a quick look with colleague Mark Orlovac on Monday evening, but a cheerful local policeman guarding the 5th tee - everyone we've met so far has been super-keen to chat - told us this was nothing.
The policeman was a fount of knowledge - the wind will come in on a rising tide, he said. I wonder how many players have cross-checked the tide tables with their tee times and yardage charts?
For the record, the first four holes are alternately into and against the prevailing wind, with the breeze coming off the left from the 5th to the 8th. Holes nine to 14 are crosswind to varying degrees before a tough finishing stretch into the teeth of it.
At least judging the direction, if not the strength, is fairly easy. Word on the fairways is that it remains pretty constantly from the south. Unlike other courses where the old saying goes: "The prevailing wind is out of the west, but it doesn't usually come from there."
For fans heading to Turnberry, a little tip. If the weather looks ominous, the 9th tee, out on the far western extremity of the course by the famous lighthouse, might...might offer the brolly-less a last-chance refuge from the rain. We smugly dodged a deluge here as a fierce-looking squall passed across the course inside us.
Apparently, when Alliss and David Thomas did some work on the course ahead of the 1977 Open, they had wanted to resite the 9th green under the lighthouse to form a stunning par three across the water and then have a 600-odd yard par-five 10th sweeping down past the light.
"So the green hung over a little cove rather like the last green at Pebble Beach," Alliss told me.
I can imagine it would have looked great, but they only had £25,000 to play with and had to shelve their plans.
But the Ailsa course is still a stunner and has been tweaked again since the Open was last here in 1994. It is playing 247 yards longer at 7,204 yards, with some tighter bunkering and nips and tucks here and there.
The 10th, for example, has a new tee sited on a rocky outcrop near the lighthouse. The drive is blind, over the corner of the bay.
According to one of the local marshals guarding the hole, most players so far have been opting for two five irons. Placement, rather than pile-driving, is going to be the order of the day.
Poulter has said he is only playing three sets of nine holes, which means he'll cover one nine only once - a bold move on a chessboard like this.
Our man on the 10th told us he didn't much like Turnberry. Too windy, he said, like Royal Troon just down the road. "On one hole I hit a driver, five iron into the wind, and on the next, same distance but with the wind, an easy seven iron over the back."
Our chat was cut short as the heavens opened, proving that two optical illusions in one day is asking too much.
The first was experiencing the famous Electric Brae on the scenic coastal road from Ayr to Turnberry, where the road appears to go downhill when it is actually going up.
The second illusion, that we were going to escape the next black cloud towering overhead, proved to be more of a delusion and we pegged it.
To be fair, Peter Dawson, boss of the R&A, said last week that Turnberry had escaped much of the recent rain in the region, hence the firm, running fairways.
And convinced by our landlord Ian in nearby Girvan ("Gateway to Ailsa Craig") that the weather had been beautiful for months, we laughed at the umbrella in the boot of the car. My advice for this week - don't.
Mainly because with a brolly up you won't be able to see Ailsa Craig. And then you won't know if it's raining or not.
PS The weather forecast is for light breeze, sunshine and showers most of the week, possibly heaviest Friday morning, suggesting that everyone's going to cop it at some point.
PPS The road signs out of Turnberry read "Haste ye Back". Try and stop us.
PPS You might have heard of Ailsa Craig somewhere before - and I don't mean from Tarby and Brucie's days on Pro-Celebrity golf. The granite from here is used to make curling stones. Remember Rhona Martin?