Trump’s Menie links eyed up as Scottish Open venue

DONALD Trump’s course near Aberdeen could be a future host venue for the Scottish Open if the American billionaire and First Minister Alex Salmond get over their much-publicised spat.

Donald Trump poses for the press on the thirteenth tee of his golf course on the Menie Estate, Balmedie, Aberdeenshire in 2011. Picture: Dan Phillips
Donald Trump poses for the press on the thirteenth tee of his golf course on the Menie Estate, Balmedie, Aberdeenshire in 2011. Picture: Dan Phillips

The Menie course appears to be on the wishlist of title sponsors Aberdeen Asset Management as talks take place to extend its sponsorship of the event until 2020.

“We would love to see it there some day at Trump’s course,” said AAM chief executive Martin Gilbert. “Okay, people have different opinions on Trump, but I have to say I’ve never seen anything like the Trump course at Menie.”

Trump and Salmond fell out over windfarms, with the American accusing the First Minister of being “hell-bent on destroying Scotland’s coastline and therefore Scotland itself”.

However, Gilbert is confident the pair’s differences can be resolved to allow the highly-acclaimed Martin Hawtree-designed course to join the likes of Castle Stuart, Royal Aberdeen, Gullane and, probably, Dundonald Links in staging one of the European Tour’s top events.

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“I’d be surprised if they don’t patch up,” added Gilbert. “Donald is a businessman and he’s aware that it would be better and much easier for everyone if we could take it there. It’s such a fabulous course.”

In a wide-ranging interview, Gilbert revealed the Scottish Open’s coveted slot the week before the Open Championship would have been lost to Sweden if it hadn’t been for Salmond’s intervention three years ago.

It led to a new partnership for the event being formed between the Scottish Government, AAM and the European Tour and now its future looks set to be secured until at least 2020.

Gilbert added that Kingsbarns had been considered as a venue for the 2015 Scottish Open but the idea was discouraged by the R&A due to St Andrews staging next year’s Open Championship.