James Cusick

So where is “the world’s greatest golf course”? Ask Donald Trump

The entrepreneur has failed to create thousands of jobs through a supposed billion-pound investment that were key to approval for his hugely controversial golf resort

Share
Related Topics

Like the Buddha’s birthplace in Nepal, or the Hajj in Mecca for Muslims, any golfer’s pilgrimage to Scotland has to include certain shrines:  St Andrews, Turnberry, Carnoustie, Royal Troon, and the Home of the Honourable Company at Muirfield. The game's history and legends are to be found in these places, and the key to their historical importance is their association with the greatest prize in golf – The Open Championship.

While Donald Trump and property ethics go together like Glengarry Glen Ross and The Nun’s Story, the billionaire salesman knew enough to touch base with the Royal and Ancient (R&A)  in St Andrews seven years ago when he flew to Scotland to discuss plans for his $1 billion dollar Aberdeenshire resort. He arrogantly told the secretary of golf’s ruling body, Peter Dawson, that  he was  going to build “the greatest golf course in the world” on the 2,000 acre Menie Estate.

Legend has it that Dawson, not a man easily conned, described the meeting as “interesting”. He asked Trump what architect he had in mind? When Trump said he’d  brought his own American designer, who had no experience of links land in Scotland, the R&A quietly suggested their choice, the Open specialist, Martin Hawtree. Trump duly obeyed.

If you intend to spend the GDP of a small country on two golf courses, a  luxury hotel, and million-dollar villas, you need regular plane loads of American and international golf pilgrims on their once-in-a-lifetime visit to the home of golf, to come to you and open their wallets. And to do that Trump needed his course on the Open rota.

Alex Salmond, himself a golfer, should have known that. Instead Scotland’s First Minister, seems to have lacked Dawson’s instinct to spot a fantasy sales pitch, and went out of his way to assist the by-passing, twisting and mangling of every planning regulation and environmental  interest in the tartan rule book in order to give Trump what he wanted.

Seven years down the line, Dawson and the R&A’s credibility, as expected, remains intact. Trump on the other has failed to muscle his way on to The Open list, and is said to have been furious when Dawson recently played down the chances of the PR-styled “Great Dunes of Scotland” ever hosting the great championship.

“Let’s see how it matures. I would say it has a long way to go,” said Dawson last year. In Florida or Chicago, say that to property developer and all hell will break lose.

So no Open, no real need for the £280m hotel, or the multi-million pound villas over-looking fairways not walked by Tiger Woods and not seen on US or Far East TV screens. Scotland’s First Minister, promised 6,000 jobs by ‘The Donald’ has been hung out to dry. In the words of Glengarry Glenn Ross, Trump arrived with bum leads and Salmond bought in, and has been left with only a wind-farm excuse for nothing happening.

So where is “The world’s greatest golf course”? That depends on where you ask. In Georgia, USA, it’s Augusta National. In Northern Ireland it’s Royal County Down; in New Jersey it’s certainly Pine Valley. And in Scotland ? Ask inside R&A in Scotland – and it sure as hell isn’t owned by Donald Trump.

React Now

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SAP Data Migration Consultant

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a FTSE 100 organisation are u...

Programme Support, Coms, Bristol, £300-350p/d

£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

Linux Systems Administrator

£33000 per annum + pension, 25 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A highly successfu...

(Junior) IT Systems Administrator / Infrastructure Analyst

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension, 25 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A highly ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Israeli army soldiers take their positions  

Errors and Omissions: Some news reports don’t quite hit the right target

Guy Keleny
A wedding cake with statuettes of two men is seen during the demonstration  

Cakegate leaves a funny taste. Is this really the way for gay campaigners to fight for tolerance?

Janet Street-Porter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice