A LEADING figure in the golf world, who edits one of the sport’s top magazines with a readership around 500,000, is calling for a boycott of Donald Trump’s Scottish course.
Bill Elliott – editor-at-large of Golf Monthly – has vowed never to set foot on the course after watching the documentary You’ve Been Trumped, broadcast by the BBC in October.
And the influential chairman of the Association of Golf Writers urges the publication’s readers to do the same, saying: “I suggest you join me.”
The move was criticised last night by the Trump Organisation, which accused Mr Elliott of a “lack of editorial integrity” and claimed his position was “based upon a second-hand source that is a gross distortion of the truth”.
Mr Elliott said the Trump Organisation’s “nastiness” over a row with neighbouring residents on the Menie Estate had shocked him.
He wrote: “By all accounts, this is a seriously brilliant links. Opened in the summer, the plaudits for it have been almost overwhelmingly in their positivity. Despite this, I’ll never play it. Why? Because I watched, along with almost a million others, the documentary You’ve Been Trumped on television.
“Even allowing for the fact that it was a one-sided film, it was impossible not to be shocked by the tactics used to try to intimidate a few local residents who refused to sell their homes. This intimidation apparently goes on.”
George Sorial, executive vice-president for the Trump Organisation, said: “Bill Elliot does not know what he is talking about and his comments demonstrate a complete lack of editorial integrity because he never visited our course or inquired about the issues.
“His entire position is based upon a second-hand source that is a gross distortion of the truth. The global golf community has embraced our course and bookings continue to soar.
“If Mr Elliot took the time to investigate the facts the way a professional writer should, he would be very embarrassed.”
You’ve Been Trumped, was broadcast by the BBC on 21 October. About 300 complaints were received by Grampian Police over the arrests of two film-makers working on the documentary about Mr Trump’s golf development.
The piece showed film-makers Anthony Baxter and Richard Phinney being arrested by officers on the Menie estate in Aberdeenshire.
The force has acknowledged that the arrests could have been better handled. The arrests were part of an investigation into an alleged breach of the peace.
Mr Baxter said that he and Mr Phinney had been doing their jobs as journalists.
Aberdeenshire farmer Michael Forbes, who featured in the documentary and rose to prominence as a result of his battle against Mr Trump’s project, recently scooped the Top Scot prize at the Glenfiddich Spirt of Scotland ceremony.
Mr Trump once described Mr Forbes’s property, which borders the tycoon’s land, as a “slum”.
The award prompted Mr Trump to launch a furious tirade against the whisky distillery, claiming its Top Scot award was a “publicity stunt” and an “embarrassment” to Scotland.
He subsequently announced a ban on William Grant & Son whiskies at Trump properties.
Design work for a second golf course close to the Trump International Links is now under way. In October, Mr Trump said that plans for an adjoining luxury hotel would go ahead.