Has Donald come up Trumps?

Added on January 15th, 2012 by
Posted in Greenkeeping, New courses reviewed
Trump International links scotland, menie,


Most people have heard about Donald Trump’s attempt to build a golf complex at Menie, north of Aberdeen and the problems he has had securing planning permission, particularly involving one stubborn individual who did not want to re-locate and Trump’s own objection to the ‘eyesore’ of an enormous windfarm that is proposed to be built offshore from his course.

An entrepreneur of his ability and passion for golf (he plays off a four handicap) has been undeterred and has continued to find £60m to put into the course, through these harsh, recessionary years, while

trump international links scotland, menie


the announced £750m investment into a wider golf complex with hotels etc has been reportedly put on hold.

In earlier, better, economic times, three important golf courses have been built by Americans recently in Scotland which are vying for top status and acceptance within the ranks of the finest courses. Castle Stuart and The Renaissance have both been fully reviewed by FineGolf and I can report that, at the second of these, four new holes close to the Firth of Forth are under construction and plans lodged for a £5.5m clubhouse, located beside Muirfield. Kingsbarns has also been welcomed into the 200 finest courses with its beautiful visual aspects and exquisite links bunkering being particularly outstanding.

trump international links scotland, menie

A classic links hole at Menie

Each of these three courses are on non-links coastal land that with high investment has given a fine running course but the terrain at The Menie Estate is proper classic linksland which potentially gives Donald Trump the opportunity of building a course that perhaps really could be as fine as our finest Open Championship venues.

I understand no expense is being spared in design and agronomy and we can expect a very special treat when it is finally opened for play this summer.

Martin Hawtree (the third generation of the Hawtree design partnership) is in charge and says “The golf course will lack for nothing. The landscape framework of the site comes close to an ideal. There is nothing missing and the layout as conceived would contain no weak holes. It will produce simply the most dramatic, stimulating, invigorating stretch of golf anywhere I have seen in my career.”

trump international links scotland, menie

hidden tees

All the tees (these have an interesting design feature in being hidden, among the high dunes) and the fairways are composed of pure fescue while the greens and approaches are a bent/fescue mixture.  5.6 million marram grass sprigs have been planted, entirely by hand, to control sand erosion and stabilise the dunes.

John Bambury, the links superintendent (the American version of our expression ‘head greenkeeper’) says “the fairways have to be better than the best tee-boxes, the tee-boxes have to be better than the best greens and the greens have to be better than anywhere else in the world.”

The Menie website describes Donald Trump as “ bold and brash “ and the ambition here is infectious.

trump international links scotland, menie

Rugged duneland at Menie

Bambury continues “the design marries the contrasting elements of a rugged, beautiful landscape and pristine grass surfaces and makes them totally complimentary, while maintaining the essential links experience. Mr Trump came up with the extended greens concept – he wanted a perfect frame of turf around each one. So we’ve used exactly the same cultural treatments, the only difference being the height of cut.”

Menie, so I believe, will have a membership component as well as pay-and-play at about £150 per round. No buggies or mobiles will be permitted and walking encouraged. Play will be teed off at fifteen minute intervals and is expected to result in a four and a half-, to five-hour, round. The clubhouse is to be built of local granite.

Donald Trump has promised the world’s greatest golf course and perhaps those involved are about to participate in a piece of history.

It is likely to be called ‘Trump International Links’ rather than Menie. But hey! doesn’t the guy deserve some pay-back from all that investment of time and money?

Reader Comments

On January 18th, 2012 Vi Robertson said:

Great improvement & wonderful for the North East of Scotland in general.
Well done & roll on a good summer for your course.
I shall be gifting my husband a tee time.

On February 27th, 2012 Adam Pounds said:

I have been to the course and inspected the 80000m2 Greens, Fairways and Pathway Turf. It is truely fantastic. I personally would pay to walk the course let alone play on it, it is breath taking . My hat comes off to John Banbury and his Team and all at Sol Golf who built the course.

On August 10th, 2012 andy hart said:

I am sure that the club that Trump has imposed on the people of the Aberdeen area will be one which draws oh’s and ah’s of delight from the R and A and most golf pundts ,
I am at a loss as to who will benefit from its creation ,except Trump, THE VERY WEALTHY, and the corporate people who like to take customers to the latest ‘in place ‘.
The vast majority of golfers can not afford to play this course ,which most of the locals did not want, and it seems that its usefulness for the locals will be negligable.
At a time when most clubs in the country ,the exceptions being the rich ones who charge extortionate green fees, are finding it tough to keep going the last thing we need is a course which only serves to satisfy the enormous ego of Trump.
It is a sad fact that greed has taken over at the top of the game from the R and A downwards . It is a sad fact that the vast majority of golfers are being milked both by the rich clubs :the television people for sports packages and by no means least the golf equipment manufacturers with their unjustifiable prices.
As far as I am concerned I will not even consider adding to the riches of D Trump by visiting his course.
Dear Andy,
Much as I appreciate your wider concerns about greed taking over, it is likely that when The Trump course has bedded-in it will be an attraction to tourists and good for the local economy.
Let me add that of the 200 finest courses over 60% have green fees between £20 and £70.
yours sincerely
Lorne (ed)

On August 20th, 2012 Philip Morrison said:

Played Trump International last week and found the course to be outstanding. We played Trumps Int. after a night of torrential rain, that had closed my nearby home course for the day, but found the fairways and greens to be firm. This is a must play and I would recommend anybody interested in playing Fine golf that this should be on the top of your list to play. Lorne you will love it!

Leave us a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

FREE, every 2 months
The FineGolf Newsletter

It will keep you up to date with what new course reviews and articles have been published