TURNBERRY and Doonbeg, his two recent purchases, may have helped create the “Trump Triangle” but the other course in that threesome still holds a special place in their owner’s heart.
“This is my baby,” declared Donald Trump as he gazed out on to his Martin Hawtree-designed course sitting in the giant dunes at Balmedie to the north of Aberdeen.
While open for just under two years and still bedding in, Trump believes it is destined to host something significant on the golfing calendar in the years to come. A World Golf Championship, for instance, and he knows what’s required for one of those events, having seen his Doral resort in Miami stage the Cadillac Championship earlier this year.
“I think we are closer to realising that ambition due to the fact we’ve had such high ratings for this course,” he said after arriving for his first visit to the Menie Estate venue in six months.
“Some people say it is the greatest course that’s ever been built.”
A Ryder Cup is also on Trump’s radar, though that may be some time away given that Scotland is staging the biennial event at Gleneagles in September and, after France in 2018, other Continental countries are expected to get their turn.
“For me, staging The Open or the Ryder Cup on one of my courses would be incredible,” he confessed. “Having a Ryder Cup here would be a great honour, both from my standpoint and also for Martin Hawtree.”
Once official word comes through that a plan for a windfarm out in the North Sea has been scrapped, Trump will plough on with plans for a new clubhouse as well as a second course to the south of the existing one. Before heading out for a game himself with Sandy Jones, the PGA chief executive, he noted that surrounding clubs had benefitted from his presence in the Granite City.
“Aberdeen is booming because what we did here, and so are the other courses,” said Trump.
“Cruden Bay is up 58 per cent [in terms of visitor income]. People are playing here and going round the other places.
We have great neighbours and they have supported us. We are very proud of this.”