Turbines won’t put golfers off, says Jack Nicklaus

GOLFING legend Jack Nicklaus has poured scorn on Donald Trump’s claims that an off-shore wind farm will scare golfers away from his new course in Aberdeenshire.

GOLFING legend Jack Nicklaus has poured scorn on Donald Trump’s claims that an off-shore wind farm will scare golfers away from his new course in Aberdeenshire.

• Jack Nicklaus feels Donald Trump is ‘crazy’ to suggest that turbines would put people off coming to Scotland for golf

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• Wind turbines can be seen from a number of golf courses in the United States

• Legendary golfer feels the benefits far outweigh the negatives

The iconic sportsman said it was “crazy” to suggest that wind turbines would put anyone off coming to Scotland to play golf and said the benefits of them should outweigh any concerns.

He told The Scotsman he had been unaware of the tycoon’s concerns, but said he was surprised the Scottish Government was being criticised when wind turbines could regularly be seen from golf courses in the United States.

Nicklaus was in Edinburgh yesterday morning for an intimate “in person” event at the National Museum of Scotland, where he offered an insight into his long career.

He revealed how he is still playing tennis to stay trim at the age of 72, fainted at the birth of four of his five children and is asked to sign autographs on the Scottish banknotes bearing his image up to 50 times a week.

Mr Trump has been quick to display his Scottish roots, with his mother hailing from Lewis, but Nicklaus told the crowd “I have always associated myself as one of you. I have a great relationship with Scotland.”

During the event, which is to be broadbast on BBC Radio in the run-up to this year’s Open, he was asked for his views on the controversy which has overshadowed the long-awaited opening of Mr Trump’s course at Menie.

The billionaire has declared war on the Scottish Government amid claims that Alex Salmond reneged on a pledge that a huge offshire wind farm would not be built near his planned resort. However, the First Minister’s spokesman has insisted Mr Trump’s claims are “complete nonsense” and that he has never been given any such assurances.

In April, Mr Trump told The Scotsman he had been “betrayed and lied to”, adding: “I just want what’s good for Scotland. I built the greatest course in the world and I don’t want it tarnished by this industrial junk.”

However Nicklaus, who won three Open Championships in Scotland, said: “People will be coming to play golf. I can’t see wind turbines putting people off from playing golf. That suggestion is just crazy.

“I’m sure the course designer, Martin Hawtree, will do a really nice job. What Trump will do is another question.”

Mr Trump’s right-hand man, George Sorial said: “While we respect the opinions of Mr Nicklaus, we strongly disagree with him on this issue. We suggest he visit Royal Aberdeen to experience the tremendous damage caused by one turbine located near the 14th fairway. The club’s members, the North-east of Scotland and the global golf community are horrified.”