by Jeff Skinner
After three years of arguments, debate, politicking, protests and I’m sure plenty of backroom dealing, Donald Trump begins work today on his controversial golf course on the picturesque sand dunes north of Aberdeen, Scotland. Trump, in his usual outrageous style has said he is determined to build “the greatest golf course in the world.”
Trump has been trying for three years to get the approvals needed to begin building Trump International Golf Links, “a world class golf destination” but was met with protests and the plan was originally rejected by the local community. After Trump pulled out all the stops and dealt with the Scottish National government he miraculously won approval for the plan. It’s amazing what a little cash and maybe a few promises of a vacation home or two will get you. If you think Trump isn’t a powerful force, think again. He got the Scottish Government to approve this plan when others thought it was dead.
The resort itself appears to be huge: 1500 total housing units, consisting of 950 vacation homes, 36 villas and a 450 room hotel and two championship golf courses. Trump now owns eight courses and always promotes each as “the greatest.” He is never shy about promoting himself or his projects. He has taken a different tact in dealing with the Scots to some extent. Trump Sr. has been using his son, Donald Trump Jr. as the front man for this project. Maybe The Donald thought Junior would generate less anti-Trump sentiment than he would. Whatever the reason, it has worked and Trump has started planting grasses and taking measures to stabilize the dunes before the major work can begin.
For all of Trump’s bravado and flash, he has a chance to do something few developers have. He is able to build a true links golf course on a beautiful piece of traditional Scottish links land. There aren’t many people that have that opportunity. It will be interesting to see if Trump and his designers can keep to the true spirit of links golf. Forget the million dollar waterfalls and the over maintained parkland style of your other courses Mr. Trump. Keep the bulldozer work to a minimum and bring in a herd of sheep or two, flatten out a few spots, plant a few holes and stand back and let the land dictate the course. Please, let there be no imported marble walkways or thirty foot waterfall feature, and keep the golf carts in New Jersey.