DONALD Trump plans to “tweak” his newly purchased Turnberry golf resort and could move three holes on a signature stretch of the famous Ayrshire course.
Visiting his other Scottish golf course in Aberdeenshire, the US tycoon said alterations could include changes to the ninth, tenth and 11th holes.
But he said he would not carry out any work “without the absolute blessing of the R&A”.
“There are things at Turnberry that the R&A have said for almost 30 years that they would love to do, and that is moving the ninth, tenth and 11th holes right on to the rocks,” Mr Trump said. “They have thought about that concept for maybe 35 years, but nobody has got round to doing it.”
The businessman flew into Aberdeen on his private jet yesterday, following his first visit to Turnberry since he announced its purchase.
It brings the number of golf resorts owned by the property magnate to 17. Speaking on board his Boeing 757 jet, Mr Trump said he would spend about £120 million to make the Turnberry hotel “the finest in Europe”.
“It’s going to be spectacular,” he said. “It’s rated the No 1 course in the world and we’re going to be working with the Royal & Ancient on certain things that are going to be even more spectacular.
“We’re going to spend a tremendous amount of money – probably about $200 million – on bringing the hotel to the highest standards of luxury. I think it’ll be the finest hotel in Europe when it’s finished.”
Asked about his plans for the course, he said: “Turnberry has been a great course for many years. With Turnberry, you don’t talk about a redesign, you talk about tweaking. You can’t do a redesign.”
He was speaking while sitting on one of his jet’s cream leather sofas, decked with velvet cushions bearing the Trump logo. The plane boasts a kitchen, a double bedroom and a bathroom with golden taps and sink.
Yesterday was his first visit this year to the Trump International Golf Links at Balmedie, which opened in July 2012.
Plans for a second course, clubhouse and hotel are on hold because of a proposed offshore wind farm close to the resort.
Mr Trump said he was ready to expand the Aberdeenshire resort as soon as the wind-farm plans were dropped. He said: “This is my baby, I’m very proud of it. I think we might have built the best course in the world. We’ve been rated so well.
“As soon as they give up this charade of these terrible, destructive windmills, which are destroying Scotland, we will continue onwards.
“As soon as they stop the craziness, which nobody wants, we will get going.”
Asked if he would consider pulling out of the resort if the wind turbines were built, he said: “I would say that I would be extremely unhappy and so would the people of Aberdeen. I would be so disappointed.”
Mr Trump was met at the airport by Sandy Jones, chief executive of the Professional Golf Association.
Mr Jones said: “He’s never gone into a golf course and made it worse, he always makes it better.”
Before arriving in Scotland, Mr Trump visited another new golfing property acquisition, the Doonbeg links in the west of Ireland. The billionaire New Yorker said he planned to invest up to €45 million (£36m) in the County Clare club. The idea is to create a Trump golf circuit, taking in Doonbeg, Turnberry and the Menie Estate – dubbed the Trump Triangle, even though the three courses sit in a straight line.